The day that started the questions.

The first mundane fact about me (and there will be hundreds, if not thousands, to follow) is that I work in an office, and sit in a cubicle. I used to have an office back when I first started 2 and a half years ago… four walls of my very own, with a copy of Van Gough’s ‘Starry Night’ on the wall, which everyone thought was depressing but I rather liked. Having an office was an advantage of being hired after a recession… lots of empty offices around. True story.

But, fortunately, my company has grown rapidly since then, and I have had to give up my (much-loved) office in favour of a cubicle that has a lot less space, but a lot more visitors. I’d much rather have a cubicle in a period of growth than an office in a recession, and I’d much rather have a tiny cubicle filled with visitors than a large office (with free painting) with no-one in it by me. Truthfully, I did rather rattle around in there on my lonesome.

Another (or two) mundane facts about me is that I like my job, and I like the people I work with. They keep me occupied. (Another mundane fact about me: I grew up in England next to a “pill-box” bomb shelter. I can’t use the word ‘occupied’ without thinking about the second world war, even if I don’t mean it in THAT way).

Anyway, as my A-Level Classics teacher, Mr Chappell, would say: “I digress”. It was on a rather usual day, when I was sitting in my cube with my work friends when someone sent me a link. I think the exact article was something along the lines of “50 things you need to stop doing”. The website was www.marcandangel.com .

I fell in love with this website on the spot. I love reading current things by current people, and this website spoke to me. I loved the truthfulness behind the articles, and found myself agreeing with almost every article I read. The points were simple, well constructed, and hard to ignore. After a good forty minutes of browsing (in between working, of course), I came across the following article: “365 Questions to ask yourself this year“. I read all 365 questions, even though I was at work, answering each one in my head. Some were easy, some were hard, some were cheesy, and some were genuinely insightful.

Suddenly a little voice (I think it might even have been “Me”) spoke up inside my head. I should do this, I should answer these questions, one a day for a year… and I was Inspired. Capital “I”. It’s been so many years since I truly felt inspired and motivated to write than I hardly recognized what was happening.

Inspiration was always easy for me in college, I only needed to open a blank document on my computer and a short story would come tripping off my keyboard, often a thinly disguised reflection of my own life. I could, and often did, write several poems a day, the themes were very collegiate: Love, Sex, Heartbreak, Despair. Moving into the real world came with the cost of a cold, hard truth. Writing a poem about paying a mortgage, or watching my friends lose their jobs was neither easy, productive, or touching. I found the only words trapped in my keyboards were short, unintentionally terse email home: Everything fine, sorry for not writing, hope to write more soon. My mother would reminisce: “you used to write such lovely, long letters, everyone used to look forward to them”. The elephant in the room was that I no longer wrote, and people no longer expected me to. Me, the family writer, suddenly without definition. I was the family wordsmith, I had become somebody else’s Employee, and somebody else’s Wife.

So this glimmer of inspiration, this tiny re-entrance into my mind, is something huge and wonderful in the scheme of my grand Midwestern adventure. I hope to discover who I’ve become, if I’ve really changed in the five years since I put down the pen. My intention is not to impress my opinion upon anyone, and I sincerely hope nothing I write is offensive, it is not intended to be. I will answer my first question on January 1st, working from the list in the original article. If I omit, edit or amend any questions, this is only to better suit the purposes of the blog. I will try to keep aligned as closely to the questions I first read on that strange, nondescript December day.