August 2017

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In the hubbub of B2MeM, I forgot to wish the SWG a happy seventh (whoa) begetting day. (I've talked about why--just like an Elf!--the SWG has a begetting and a birthday before.) I remember when I founded the SWG, HASA was turning four, I think. That seemed incredible to me, to have a website with such longevity. Now the SWG has been in existence for seven years, which seems at once too long and too short: Too long because I cannot believe so much time has passed and too short because I also cannot remember a time when the SWG wasn't a huge part of my life.

Its begetting day normally passes with minimal or no fanfare because it falls during B2MeM and--like a kid born on Christmas--those festivities overshadow my best intentions to actually honor its begetting day as perhaps it deserves. If we keep the begetting day analogy going, the SWG was definitely an accidental pregnancy. I never intended to become a group owner; it's certainly not something I aspired to. I never looked at websites like HASA and thought, "I could do that!" In fact, I was fairly sure I couldn't do that, lacking the know-how for the technical stuff, for one, and the diplomatic skill for the people stuff, for another. Both came with time and necessity. When I started the SWG, I figured it would be an intimate little group for like-minded people who wanted to talk and write about The Silmarillion. I never dreamed it would become half of what it is today.

As the post linked above will attest, I have been somewhat uneasy in the past about where my road has taken me as a website owner. Something I never considered when I started the SWG seven years ago is that running a group is extremely time-consuming, and that time has to come from somewhere, and when you have a busy real life besides, that "somewhere" is your creative time. I have mourned the loss of writing time that has come with keeping the SWG up and running. I have never unwished my creation of the group--it has been a hugely positive force in my life--but I have felt, at times, like it would have been better had it (and the responsibility for it) belonged to someone else, not even because I dislike the work (I so don't!) but because I felt like I was squandering my talents as a writer.

I've come to peace, though, in time for its lucky seventh begetting day. I always looked at my skill with language and thought it meant that I was supposed to be a writer. Then I was a writer for my living, for a whole year, last year. I didn't dislike my work but it was lonely work. I missed the human dimension a lot. I was also studying to become an English teacher, which I am now. That was and is work I love, that I can imagine doing for many more years.

I started to rethink. My mom has always told me my brain is in sideways. I am good at English and science. I am an outgoing introvert. I am an artist--a solitary pursuit by conventional wisdom--but also an organizer, one who sees something that needs doing and feels she could be the one to make it happen. These aspects of my personality sometimes conflict with each other because pop psychology tends to tell us that humans are dualist beings who must be one or the other. It becomes almost a matter of deciding--which am I?--when the question should be what it means for both aspects to coexist.

I've realized in recent months that my road in life isn't anything so tidy as "a writer" or "a teacher." I want to help others to find their voices; I want others to be able to access their imaginations as a way to describe their experiences and express their views. When someone tells me that they started writing first on the SWG, or when I look at friendships that probably never would have been forged if not for this group; when I see people exploring new ideas and perspectives, then I realize that--far from being a whim that's grown out of control--the SWG is a part of my road. It is something that I hope will encourage and help people to find words to express themselves and, through that, touch the minds of others.

I do miss being able to write constantly, as I once did, and that part will always pull at me. It is a drive deeper than the rational choices I've made of what to do with my life. But I now doubt that I could be content just letting that part of me dominate either; I was miserable at the WAU, when all I did was write what I wanted all day. I am much happier now, and I feel like I have a purpose at last.

So happy seventh begetting day, SWG! :)
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