Reverb11: The Finale. Looking Back.
Take a moment to think back on your Reverb11 responses. Have you learned anything? What surprised you about this experience? Which of your responses was your favorite?
So I now reach the end of Reverb11. What started off as a way to kill some time in the first few days this month as I was housesitting for my sister, something I assumed I would only take part in occasionally, but ended up committing to in whole concludes with this final post. I guess the fact that I posted each day from the 3rd on is one of the surprises of this experiences. I will get to the other surprises in a bit. First, let’s break down the final prompt.
Have you learned anything?
I have indeed. I learned, or in the very least was reminded just how prolific a writer I can be, given deadlines and structure. One doesn’t always have such things, and I would not want everything I ever write to be confined in the way the Reverb posts were. Yet I can’t deny how well I tend to cook with just a little bit more fire under me, as it were. (At least when the writing doesn’t involve interviewing other people.)
I learned that I am both on top of some things more than I thought I was, and in need of work in some more things than I thought I was. I am a little darker in places than I realized, and I have the means to examine that. I learned to pay more attention to things happening to me every single day than I tend to do now. I thought I was good at being present, but I learned I can be lacking at that sometimes.
Also learned was a small degree of detachment from my difficulties. Like anyone I have had and will have ups and downs in regards to how bothered I am about the darker aspects of my life and thoughts. I will find myself bothered more by such again in the future, I have no doubt. Yet it will fade again because by writing about my troubles, fears, and obstacles with the intention of explaining them to others, free of the maudlin language I wanted to make sure I avoided this month, I learned that most of my issues have a looser grip on my throat than I feel sometimes when I am in the heat of the moment. That whether through my own means or the eventual hired help of various types of professionals, the things with which I struggle can in most cases appear much more surmountable when shared in an open, yet modest and efficient nature.
I learned that I am a bit fearful of the future, but I also learned I have the means to make a plan because I am able to look at aspects of the whole from a distance, and react accordingly. I guess I already knew this, but I learned I can be better at it than I thought.
What surprised you about this experience?
My own candor.
Now being who I am I have never had much of a problem speaking my mind. I tell it like it is, or like it should be, and to hell if the gurus, thought leaders, or Blog Royalty agrees. Nor have I been shy about sharing my bad luck, or my tribulations. (Regardless of many people figuring I had little of either.) I was committed from the inception of this blog to be honest about what I was up to, and feeling. I have maintained that agreement with myself and with readers.
Yet with these Reverb posts, and the previously mentioned detachment some of them brought about, I was able to open up with my readers in a way I am not always so famous for doing. The less obvious, under the surface, emotional motivation for some of how I think and act were revealed with more frequency, and yet more subtlety than I would have expected before this began. I assure you I have retained my privacy when I needed to, yet Reverb provoked in me a frankness that comes from someone unconcerned about personal judgement. Which, biggest surprise of all, I was. Some of the sharing muscles may be a little stiff from lack of use, but despite the fact I have not bared my whole soul, I have bared more than before, and not felt that worried about it. I still feel some guilt and some shame about where I am in life, but for the first time in a while, not so much that I can’t mention it to others.
Also I was pleasantly surprised at how appreciative people were of my posts, as well as how many new friends I made in the process of Reverb. I welcome them, and hope they stick around for my future online content.
Which of your responses was your favorite?
I guess it depends on the metric, as is so often the case. There are several posts where I quite enjoyed the prose I came up with. I think some of my best formed lines of non-fiction in years have come about as part of these posts. Sometimes they just flowed and sometimes they took some thought, but in either case I am pleased with the results. Some of my favorite prose among my own writing this month was in Traveling, I think. I am quite satisfied with the metaphors I used there.
Then there are the posts that were my favorites to write. Loathing was great fun to pound out. I also got a kick out of writing the inside jacket blurb for my own, as of yet, not realized book in Author, Author.
The most socially important piece, when viewed with as objective a view as I can muster for my own work was probably Let’s Do Lunch, and I almost chose that as my favorite.
Yet in the end, I think Self-Forgiveness is my favorite post from among my own Reverb11 work. It has a little bit of everything in it, from prose I am proud to call my own, personal satisfaction in the composing, a frankness that is the hallmark of Reverb11 as I understand it, and a call to take the most important step we can take in loving other people. Yes. I maintain that if we can begin to truly forgive ourselves, there is little we cannot do for ourselves and for others.
And that, as they say, is that. The temptation is to sum up with some long, sentimental, complex and poetic analysis of the entire experience. Yet I think I will fight with my own inclinations and refrain from doing so. I would hope you could see what each individual post meant to me, and what I was trying to convey in same on the day. Consider it all carefully, and what each prompt as well as the whole Reverb experience meant to me should become clear to you.
In the end, I suppose it was not about each individual stop, but more about the entire month. The journey, as is so often the case, was perhaps the main point of Reverb. And I can think of no better way to end my experience with same then to mention that it was an enlightening and worthwhile journey to me, and I thank each of you for taking it with me.
Happy New Year.
[Author’s Note: This post was originally followed on Too XYZ by a month of reposting my greatest hits in January, and then by the official announcement that I was discontinuing the Too XYZ blog in February, along with an explanation of what to expect in the future. As mentioned before, I have refrained from including those posts here in the new space, opting instead to make this recap of the Reverb11 experience the final entry from Too XYZ that I would include here.—Ty]