That is my tagline on a writers' forum. I deliberated at some length about the choice. The forum is riddled with famous and not-so-famous authors, each of them uniquely talented, witty and creative. I did not want to look like the shabby cousin come to town. I wanted to fit in, look the part. The tagline seemed an incredibly important step toward that end.
I began with one of my favourite. "I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference." After all, Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken, had been a favourite of mine since childhood. But had I really taken the less travelled road? Sometimes. But, my longest journey has been along a well-trodden road, one of ambition and hard work, a clear path toward stability and respectability. It felt fraudulent.
As a long time performer I looked to the theatre for a better quote. Why not something grand from Shakespeare? It would offer a glimpse into one of the facets of my personality. Besides, I have always loved how his words felt in my mouth, rolled over my tongue. I thought to play on my name with Romeo and Juliet. "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other word would smell as sweet." Too cute and cliché. One of the first pieces of Shakespeare I learned was for an audition for theatre school. It was a monologue from The Taming of the Shrew. "A woman moved is like a fountain troubled, Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty." Yikes! I wasn't convinced it would make the good impression I sought.
How about modern theatre? My husband and I met in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas...the stage musical folks, the stage musical! Surely there was something from that tremendously joyous time in my life that I could use? I remember Jewel's line: Honey, we see everything in this profession, but one thing I ain't never seen - man or woman - is a grown-up. Ha! That could be considered clever. Or would it be insulting? Scratch that. I had a one way ticket to go where, Anything was possible for me. Sounds optimistic, right? But Mona's Bus from Amarillo remains, for me, one of the most heartbreaking musical moments on stage. She gets off the bus and doesn't chase her dreams. Ever. No, no, no. I couldn't use that. Something funny then. Ed Earl: Boys, I got myself a pretty good bullshit detector, and I can tell when somebody's peeing on my boots and telling me it's a rainstorm. Too much. I'm still not sure my sense of humour translates well into writing.
As the fates seem to do, they conspired to assist me in my search. Across my computer, from a colleague, came the quote by John A. Shedd. I rolled my shoulders and smiled. That was it. That said it all. I was so worried about joining the forum and discovering my want of skill through the eyes of others. I was so concerned that I might look the fool when I submitted a post, that I might be somehow lacking, somehow unworthy of doing more than lurking in the background that I was using the absence of a tagline to delay my venture into that grand new world. And it is grand. It has been seven or eight years in that little corner of writer's paradise and each and every day I am nurtured, challenged and, incredibly, accepted—flaws and all.
As I say goodbye to the career that I found down the road taken, I raise my sails and catch the wind. In beginning this blog I feel nervous, vulnerable, and exhilarated. I am also one hundred percent certain that it is time for me to fully leave the harbour. I may get tossed about, nicked and tarnished, but I am ready to face the open waters and my new adventures.