In the process of packing up to prepare for my upcoming move, I started feeling a bit nostalgic. It happened because I was packing up a lot of my books and came across some old yearbooks from my days at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. Not the best of times, mind you. But it's likely that it was much simpler.
I had to laugh when I looked at the signatures of my middle school friends. Some seemed well meaning, if slightly empty. Others were kind of condescending. I know I was small, okay? But, as we would all discover before Christmas of our freshman year, I was kind of sick.
One note really caught my attention, though. It was written in the back of my 8th grade yearbook and was signed by the woman who taught English when I was in 7th grade. She was also the faculty adviser for the school newspaper, such as it was. I say that because the school paper wasn't exactly the New York Times. It wasn't even the Wake Weekly. It was several pages of photocopied articles written by kids who were no older than 13. I'm not saying the articles were bad. I can't say they were good either. And I can only be that vague because I have no recollection of any of those articles, nor do I have a surviving copy of any of the issues we put out.
Back to the note that our adviser wrote: "To a delightful young man who just may become a great writer." I looked at that and kind of laughed again. Because what have I done to even attempt to become a great writer?
I have all these ideas floating around in my head. But really, it just feels like those ideas add up to unused potential. And even that isn't a guarantee of anything. There are a lot of times I feel somewhat guilty not taking the time to do something about those ideas and that potential.
Then I think, at least I'm writing on this blog. People are able to see my thoughts. It may not be a traditional publication, but it's mine. But even that's not all that true anymore. Not the part about it being my own thoughts. The part about writing on this blog. I've really been slacking in that department lately. But does that matter either?
Looking back, I've received a total of two comments over the past month. That's it. I made a big deal about having 50 followers not too long ago, but should that really be considered a huge milestone? Sure, the follower thing is a nice way to gauge how many people are seeing a blog, but comments make a writer feel so much better. Having followers means that people are getting notifications whenever I post something new. Comments mean that people have actually read what I've written and felt moved to contribute their own thoughts.
Kind of feels like no one's actually reading this thing anymore.
I'm not trying to have a pity party. Yes, I would love to have hundreds of followers. I would absolutely love to average a dozen or more comments on each of my mind blowing blog posts. In real life, I'm content being a fly on the wall, unnoticed by the world around me. Here, I'm kind of an attention whore. But I'm realistic. I know that my sphere of influence isn't exactly global.
I'm left wondering, do I really have the potential to become a great writer, as my 7th grade English teacher claimed? Maybe I should take a break from keeping up with the blog for a while. Maybe, by doing that, I can spend some working on some of that unrealized potential that I had as a teenager.