We B Late? Huh?
I struggled for a long time trying to come up with a name for my blog. Coming rather late to the party as I am (more about that later), it seemed all the clever play-on-words names were long since taken.
One great suggestion came from my daughter Sammi’s beloved, Sean. He said I should name it “Laurie’s Sexually Transmitted Blog.” When I gave him the appropriately bewildered look one would expect, he responded, “Well, you want it to go viral, don’t you?” And my brother, Steve, noted that my tag line could be, “It’s Catching!”
As hilarious as that option was, it nonetheless didn’t seem right. So I kept trying to come up with something, and kept coming up blank. A few months ago I was sitting and bemoaning my continuing quandary again with Sammi and Sean, and Sammi suggested We B Late.
Now, if you know me, you know at least why that phrase would come to mind. For the last 15+ years, that has been my license plate. We got it on our minivan many years ago, when I could blame being late on our children, and while the van is long gone, the plate remains.
At first I almost rejected the idea. It would be funny and understandable to my family and friends, but make no sense to anybody else.
Then I realized – it described my blog perfectly. I’m 57 years old. Who starts something new at that age? Nobody – unless it’s exactly the right time. We B Late (But Right on Schedule). The title describes my efforts, and (hopefully) my efforts will prove it right.
I always have lots of ideas and (if I lay off the Candy Crush) plenty of time to write, but, like all card-carrying procrastinators, I lack discipline and motivation… which is called a deadline in the writing biz. I knew if I just decided to write, my efforts would end up like every journal I’ve ever started – two or three good entries, and then bupkis. But, if I make a public proclamation to post on a set schedule, I will be duty-bound to do it.
What am I going to write? I’ll talk about that in my next blog post, which will also include my official promise of when/how often I’ll be posting. C’mon – you didn’t really think I could quit that whole procrastination thing cold turkey, did you?
That Explains Why… But Why Start Today?
It’s not unusual in the literary world to remember great writers on their birthdays, and today is no exception. My mom, Peggy O’Connor, would have been 85 today, and I can’t think of a better way to honor her memory than to make a commitment to writing.
Any intrinsic ability I have came from her genes, but she gave me more than that. She instilled in me a love of not just reading, but of words. She made sure all of us kids spoke properly, and corrected us when we didn’t. And not a belittling correction to make us feel stupid… a correction to reinforce that we were smart, too smart to use the wrong word.
(My dad, Vince, is no slouch, either. At 85 he can still do the Sun Times diagramless crossword puzzle – in ink. But he’d agree that Peggy gets most of the credit.)
So my mom was a fantastic writer. But here’s the thing. She never really “did anything” with it, as they are fond of saying in the career world. Sure, she did some kick-ass hysterical poems for people’s birthdays, and nuns throughout northern Illinois probably still talk about the notes she sent to school. But she was too busy being a great mom to be a great writer. And I think she was OK with that. Because she got to see her gifts and examples shine on in her children.
In February of last year, shortly before the second anniversary of my mom’s death, we were all at my parents’ house, sorting through items in my mom’s craft room/office. The first meeting for the cast of Project Publish (check the link above if you don’t know what that is) was that night, so we were wrapping up our cleaning and sorting. I opened a drawer, and there was my mom’s old library card. Everyone was fine with me taking it, so I did, and I made sure it was in my pocket for every working session and taping of the show. It was something tangible to underscore that she was right there with me.
So Happy Birthday, Mom. Your library card is sitting next to my computer, as I’m sure you are as we go on this journey together. All that’s missing is you being here to call your friends and brag about it, which I am confident you would do even if I’d decided to call it “Laurie’s Sexually Transmitted Blog.”