When I started this blog two years ago I had a different idea of what I wanted it to be about. You see, ever since I’ve been young I’ve wanted to be a journalist. If you asked me why, I’m not sure I could say; maybe I just wanted to be like Clark Kent (I had glasses too) but I remember being interested in the news and knowing that was what I wanted to do with my life. It probably helped that I had an interest in writing, but even then my style was more suited to essays than fiction or poetry. In high school I wrote an article about life in the 60s which became my first publication and that just confirmed my feelings.
In the end it didn’t work out the way I had planned. My last few years of school were miserable; I was ill and and by the time I had finished, my dream of a journalistic career had faded away. For a while I was bitterly disappointed but after a couple of months I threw myself into the next best thing: my fiction and within a few months had several stories published and started studying philosophy on the side. Basically that has been my routine ever since but I never stopped wanting to be a journalist. In many ways it’s my biggest regret.
I had maintained a website for several years, a CV with links to my work, and in 2006 I decided it was time for a redesign… but then I had an idea. One of the problems I had was that my work was speculative fiction; I’d had feedback that publishers liked my writing but didn’t get what I was writing about. But what if I created a column on my site which explored the same themes? That way I’d have something else I could show to publishers as well, to show that my writing was about an examination of life and philosophy, not just science. And so I created an early version of A Writer’s Life, and moved it to WordPress in 2007.
A Writer’s Life was never meant to be a blog as such; it wasn’t meant to be updated frequently and I didn’t expect comments or care about stats. My early posts were like a newspaper column and the blog’s purpose was just to exist for my work. But then a funny thing happened. Some of my posts started getting picked up by other sites. Suddenly I was being cited as CJ Writer, not CJ Levinson. And then people started commenting. To be honest those first comments freaked me out and I didn’t know how to respond. I hadn’t written those posts to be read and suddenly people were asking me questions! Help!
But slowly I realised people were responding because they liked what I wrote and their comments made my posts much richer than if I had just turned the comments off. Over several months I started to look at blogging as an outlet and a means of communication rather than as a tool, and my writing style changed to reflect that. Blogging became part of my routine; I looked forward to it and A Writer’s Life started to take on a life of its own.
But several months ago that changed. It started with a comment I received on my blog about my name, that I used CJ rather than Christopher. It was just a troll and it shouldn’t have bothered me, but it did; and then a few months ago I was viciously abused in a comment I deleted – only for the commenter to come back, accuse me of censorship and make the first lot of abuse look eloquent. I deleted that too but I started to wonder if it was really worth the effort. Blogging had started to feel like a chore.
At the same time as all this I have been very ill; I’m only just starting to recover now and the result was that I decided to have a break for a couple of months, have a think about things and hopefully come back feeling refreshed. What I didn’t realise was that people would start to wonder if something was wrong and I’m sorry if I worried anyone. I appreciate all your comments and emails; they’ve helped me more than you can know.
But now I’m back! I’ve had time to think and I’m looking forward to writing some new posts. For a while I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to come back but in the end A Writer’s Life still represents, if only in a small way, the life I never had. I’m not ready to let go of that yet. But I will be making some changes to the blog over the next few weeks. I might not post as frequently and I’m looking at ways to stop these trolls – and splogs. I also plan to share some of my photography as well, which I’ve never done before. Scary. 😉
So that’s the story of how I came to blogging. I never really wanted to be a blogger but in the end blogging has given me the chance to fulfil a part of my childhood dream and that’s been a wonderful thing. The blog continues to evolve as I evolve as a person; it’s no longer a column as much as a reflection of my life and philosophy and there have been more positives than negatives. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that – but then, what dream ever turns out exactly the way we’d planned?
There are many childhood dreams I’d love to fulfil. I’ve always wanted to see more of the world; to own my own home; to have a novel published; to start a small bookshop; to meet someone to spend my life with. We’ll just have to see how those go. My dream of becoming a journalist won’t happen but in this blog I get to write about the topics I would have written about. I get to live a small part of my dream; not many people can say that.
Our dreams guide us and I think it’s the attempt that matters most, that we try to reach them even if we never do. They’re the reason I write; they’re why I started this blog after one of my dreams died. And they’ve helped me to meet people like you, who I’d never have met. Doesn’t seem like a bad trade-off now, does it?
A lone voice crying:
Tears of sorrow on the wind
A dream forgotten
A lone voice singing:
Music of laughter and joy
A future revealed
10 thoughts on “Childhood Dreams”
i’m so glad you’re back! the moment i saw your post in my blog surfer, i immediately click on the link to your post to comment, and i haven’t even read it yet, that’s how glad i am!
i’ve always enjoyed your writing. which means yes, i’m still waiting for my autographed book by you. 😆
CJ: Hi sulz! Thanks for popping across so quickly. But what are you doing commenting on my blog? You should be too busy having fun in Macau. 😉
Hope you enjoy the post when you read it; it’s a little more personal than normal. It might take me a week or so to get back into posting and commenting regularly again but I’m glad to be back. And as for the book, you might have a long wait. How about I autograph a postcard instead? 🙂
It IS good to have you back, CJ! I had been wondering where you got off to. (You are on my surfer) I always read your posts but rarely made comments. Sometimes I just don’t know what to say, though I enjoy your site.
I am usually very nosy but didn’t feel I “knew” you enough to say “What’s up and where have you gone?” 🙂
Now we know. I do hope you are feeling better. Never give up hope in becoming a journalist, you are certainly a good enough writer to be one. Credible people in the media are few and far between right now.
Take care and welcome back.
CJ: Hi BD, thanks for the welcome back! I’m starting to feel better now and it’s been frustrating more than anything else. I didn’t mean to be absent for quite as long as I was but it’s probably been a good thing in the end; I feel more refreshed and the break reminded me of everything I was missing.
I’m not sure if I could become a journalist now, mainly because I don’t have the training to pursue it. I haven’t lost hope of becoming a columnist, though; if I have a few novels published, it might generate some interest. And who knows, maybe I’ll become the next JK Rowling – then I can just buy a newspaper and do what I want with it! I like the sound of that. 🙂
We could use more credible journalists though, couldn’t we? A good journalist should report the news and there’s so much commentary now; there’s a place for that but it’s not the journalism I knew. The future of journalism is really online; it’ll be interesting to see which way it goes.
Take care, and thanks for keeping me in your thoughts. 😉
Alright cj, this time I refuse to tell you your post made me cry. It’s a good thing some of us have our favorite bloggers in our Readers, so that even if they haven’t posted for a while, we know right away when they do. OK. Taking a deep breath. First of all I like that picture of the old typewriter. Very noir. It’s hard to imagine humans used to type on those! One of the reasons the post might have made me cry, if I were willing to tell you that (which I’m not!) is that it’s so very personal, and heartfelt. It’s such a beautifully written history of how you got to where you are. It explains a lot; shares a lot; trusts a lot.
About Clark Kent? Did that include the Superman thing, too? 😉 I’m thrilled that you will be including photography; I so enjoyed your post a while back showing us furniture you designed as well as some of your most treasured possessions. We all got to be in the room with you; (did you notice it got a little crowded in there?) 🙂 it felt so immediate and present. So, if that represents the level of your photography, it can’t help but make a wonderful addition to your blog.
Yes, those first comments can be freaky! It’s funny, I’ll have a post up in a couple of hours where I reflect upon comments and blogging also. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, and the comments and how you respond to them are a large part of my enjoyment of it. As for your penultimate paragraph, I honestly don’t see why you could not have all these things at some point. The dream may have changed, but it needn’t be any less fulfilling therefore. And your poem! I’d just got through drying my eyes when I read that (I mean I would have done if I’d been at all weepy) and then those few lines spoke so eloquently of sadness and hope. It’s wonderful to have you back. I look forward to your continued evolution.
CJ: I’m so glad you liked the post, Muse. As you know I’m a private person and I don’t like revealing too much but knowing it’s touched people like that is wonderful. I was thinking about the way A Writer’s Life has evolved while I was offline and the blog really has come to reflect my own journey through life; it’s a little scary sharing so much but also very rewarding.
No, the Clark Kent thing didn’t include Superman; but I did have a serious crush on Teri Hatcher for a while. 🙂 I’ve actually been an amateur photographer for years and I love taking photos but I’ve rarely shared them, even on Flickr; I’ve just kept them to myself. But sometimes I see something which inspires a post or adds that extra bit of detail to it, like the furniture; that’s what I’m hoping to achieve. I wish I could claim the shot of the typewriter was mine, though; it’s such a beautiful shot!
It’s funny how bloggers often explore similar ideas, isn’t it? Your post was lovely and I agree, it’s the ongoing dialogue that makes a blog interesting; that’s why I enjoy responding to comments, following the conversation… as for my dreams, I’d love to see them come true but they’re not really a priority right now. They’ve always been for the future; so for now I think I’ll leave the rest of that up to fate. 🙂
And thank you for the kind words about my poem; it just felt like the right way to express what I was feeling, to capture that moment of joy and loss… thanks for keeping me in your thoughts. It feels great to be back. Almost like coming home. 😉
Well I will admit to crying but that is to be expected. Beautiful post son and I love the way you talk about dreams. To me its like one door closes another one opens….we just have to be prepared to open the door and see what is on the other side.
And I even got the poem and am not great with poetry….it was beautiful Christopher and had me smiling through my tears..now that is a scary thing!
CJ: Thanks, MQ. I’m really touched it moved you that much. It was a hard post to write but something I wanted to write; it reminded me a lot of what I’d missed. I like what you said about dreams too… we have to be prepared to trust our feelings, our instincts, and where they lead. If we never take a chance then we’ll never reach all that we can be.
And I’m glad you liked the poem. You’re much better with poetry than you admit, though. I mean, I had to get my writing skills from someone. 🙂
Never give up on your dreams. They may pop up in unexpected places and times.
CJ: Hi Betty, thanks for stopping by. You’re right, I’ll never give up on all my dreams; they might change with time but I’ll always keep trying to reach them. Who knows where the future might lead? 😉
Good to have you back. I’ve enjoyed your blog in the past and look forward to what you have for us in the future. And by the way, no pressure as far as post frequency is concerned. Relax, have fun, and write! Know that your thoughtful prose is much appreciated.
CJ: Hi TVB, thanks for the welcome; it feels great to be back! I didn’t realise I’d miss blogging as much as I did; the break’s helped, though, and I’m looking forward to getting back into it again.
I like to post regularly if I can as it helps with my writing but I don’t want to feel obligated either. I’ll probably aim for about 2-3 posts a week; seems like a good number. Hopefully there’ll be some fun posts in there as well. 😉
Welcome back, CJ. Hope you feel better now.
You must pity the trolls. Most of them are totally dim-witted. Its my theory that they mutated & lost the frontal cortex of the brain.
Looking FW to the next installment of books that made an impact on you.
CJ: Hi Priya, thanks; it’s great to be back! I am feeling better now; it’s taken a while to get over but I’m almost there now.
The trolls are more frustrating than anything else. I’ve attracted a fair few since I started but it’s been worse recently; these two got under my skin. WP.com has fewer options to control comments but I have some ideas which might help. And your theory sounds pretty solid to me; makes me wonder what Darwin would make of trolls. 😉
I’ll have the second post finished in a few days; it’s a little longer than the first one but it’s coming together well. Brings back a lot of memories. 🙂
Oh great. I’m gone for, like 3 days, and I miss the return of CJ?
Welcome back! 🙂
I’m sorry to hear you haven’t been well. Hope you feel better soon!
I liked hearing about how you began blogging; it reminded me of how I started out.
I look forward to reading your future posts.
CJ: Hi Bobby, thanks for the welcome! Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much; looks like quite a few people have taken a break recently. Hope you had a good break.
I am feeling better; it’s just taking a while, but it feels great to be back. I’ll have a couple of posts finished over the next few days and hopefully a new poem as well; I’ve been working on it for a while, so should be good! 😉
CJ, it is sadness and hope all together but like you said it so well when u responded to Muse …”Leave it up to fate”…Something will come out from your writings for sure I have no doubts about that whatsoever and it will certainly be more then u have hoped for….You are so talented and clever…Died dreams often are wake up calls to others more gratifying developments…By having fate you let go and then it opens doors to other opportunities that are better suitable for u and looking back u will have no regrets at all…If u believe it will happen…. What’s happening to me now it is really like a Dream!!
CJ: Thanks, CV! Your kind words mean a lot to me and I hope you’re right about my writing and dreams… I believe in fate but also in making my own destiny as well and I think I’ll get there in time. I mean, if I look at how far I’ve come already I would never have believed it; I’m sure I’ll be just as amazed in another ten years!
I love what you said about old dreams leading to other opportunities… that’s so true and I don’t think anyone ever becomes exactly what they imagined but that doesn’t mean they’re any less happy. There are always other directions, other paths in our lives and they can fulfil us in surprising ways… that’s what life’s all about really, isn’t it?
Here’s to the future, CV! I’m sure it’ll be even better than we imagine. 🙂