I owe so much to Middle Passages. This thought surfaced on a Sunday morning, when I hadn’t posted in several days, during a month that has found me struggling to ensure something new shows up here three days a week.
Most times, this blog lurks at the edge of my consciousness, usually with anticipation. As a rule, I’m excited to create a new post. Sometimes though, when life is at its busiest, there’s an “Oh gosh it’s time to do my homework feeling” that surfaces, coupled with a hard to shake, slightly irrational idea that I have to keep writing here. Like knocking on wood three times or making sure not to step on a crack, crafting these online pieces has become some kind of talisman. It was the thing that first held me up when life dealt an unexpected blow—and it has carried me through many months since. Could I plummet to the core of the earth if Middle Passages wasn’t around to stop me? Would I keep writing without it?
The thought reminds me of Nomar Garciaparra, a powerhouse hitter and shortstop for the Boston Red Sox for ten years. Baseball is full of players with quirks. “Nomie’s” however, were a bit extreme. Each time he was up to bat, he performed an intricate ritual of pats and tugs to his gloves, lasting for perhaps a half a minute before he stepped into the batter’s box—always the same gestures in the same order. He simply could not swing without his little ceremony. Has Middle Passages become my compulsive good luck custom?
Every so often, when the responsibility of posting in this blog pulls me from other things—writing I should focus on and chase to its ultimate conclusion, the idea of letting Middle Passages go flits through like a butterfly circling a fading summer garden, but I shrug it away—not only fearful, but sad. The thing of it is that Middle Passages is not just a safety net; it has also become my friend.
This blog, as well as its readers, listens to me, regardless of how much I babble, offering handholding and support. As a result, I’ve stepped out, tested and challenge myself, and now, am stronger and more confident. At its most fundamental level, Middle Passages has forced me to demonstrate that I can write; that I’m not a “one shot wonder." I have the commitment and resourcefulness to create entertaining posts, and to stick to a regular writing schedule for long periods of time. I’m doing things that before starting this blog, I would have never thought possible.
Back then, I sighed and drummed my fingers as I slipped across the surface of life. Then, circumstances dictated that one day I click “Create a Blog,” fashion a post and push "Publish." The rest, as they say, is history. Holding myself accountable to post, listening to the comments of my readers, reading so many of you who have taught me so much--all this has produced a direct kind of “living in the minute” lifestyle that I’m not sure I would have accomplished without the prodding of Middle Passages—which come to think of it, is a funny thing to write.
Just as I wrote that sentence, I realized this. No matter how addicted he was to his rituals, in the end, when he stepped up to the plate, Nomar Garciaparra was the one who hit the ball.
Perhaps it’s time to recognize that no matter how much gratitude I feel toward Middle Passages, it is not a separate entity. Those fingers tapping my shoulder reminding me to get writing? Well, the arm that they are attached to, happens to belong to me.
What about you. How do you feel about your blog? Do you assign it any rituals or quirks?