Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dear Hilary, Love, Hilary: Life Unmasked

This is a year for advice (Dear Sugars, especially), and for finding the voice that sounds inside me, for the letters I have to write to find the truth. In trying to sort out this blogging world, Preston suggested that I link up with Joy's life: unmasked. I thought today, I would give it a try, in the only way I know how to unmask - in letters. 

Dear Hilary, 

I believe in blogging. I believe in writing down what's inside me. I believe that there is worth and fullness there. But I don't know anything about layout and I don't know anything about growing readership and I don't know how to tweet my posts in a cool way or how to catch people's eye. I hear people say, feed who is at your table, and trust the rest. But what if I'm not cool enough to be a blogger? What if I don't belong in this world? 


Dear Blogger!,

I changed your punctuation to an exclamation point. Did you notice that? I changed it from the question mark (doubtful you) to the exclamation point (hopeful you). I changed it for you, because I have a feeling that you don't trust yourself enough to get rid of the question mark. 

I'd like you to name ten people on this planet who have never put a question mark next to their name. 

I would pause, and let you start trying to name them, dipping into your history of elementary school teachers or musicians whose concerts you went to or the woman grinding coffee beans at the Atomic on Thursday mornings... but I won't today, because there aren't ten people. There probably isn't even one person. The question mark is part and parcel of doing the thing you really love, the thing that you love so much your insides ache and you'd just die, die, die if you couldn't do it. For you, it's writing. For someone else, it's environmental engineering or art history or restoring 19th century model trains. And we all put the question mark after our names: Environmental Engineer? Me? Art Historian? Train Restorationist? Blogger? Me? 

I would tell you to stop doubting, to stop second-and-third-guessing every time you hit publish and try to tweet your post and try to figure out if you should be on Networked Blogs or not, or if anyone will comment today... but I think the best thing for you, love, is to unmask the confidence and whisper out loud that you tremble at the idea of being a blogger. 

You won't fall apart by admitting that all of this scares you a little bit. Whenever we do the things we're meant to do we're scared. Whenever we stumble into true life we shake. You, the environmental engineer, the art historian, and the train restorationist. And probably every blogger out there. 

So, Blogger?! Welcome. Hopeful you, meet doubtful you. Let the hope and the doubt collide. And above all, write.



  1. oh, hilary. in so many ways i think you're a younger version of me. i love you and your ways, and am so thankful you continue in this here space. your voice is unique and special and rings out its own unique tune. continue to believe. hold on. don't give up on what you love and dream about. don't give up on YOU.

  2. I love this way of writing unmasked -- the letter to yourself and from yourself is a great idea! And so true what you wrote -- everyone who has embarked on something is afraid.

    nice to meet you, Hilary.

  3. Hilary,
    Your words speak beauty and oh so often, it feels as if they were meant just for me. I don't know you but I can't imagine you not writing. And I know that if you stop, I will feel the loss of your words.

  4. Oh I love this. How often I have questioned what to call myself. Mom, wife, writer? I only write for my blog so does that make me a writer? A blogger? Yes, I understand your words here well.

  5. Proposal: let's talk more about this this winter/spring! About dignity and humility and exclamation points and question marks and not falling apart, though we are scared.
    Oh! Thankful for your words.

  6. You've unmasked every writer, every blogger, Hilary. We all put that question mark there. All the time.

    (And? I love this style, the letters to yourself! Love how it helps you find your voice.)


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