I thought since Studio City Patch just celebrated a year anniversary it would be fitting to tell you what this column has meant to me. What it has done for me. And why I won't give it up even when I have horrible writer's block, my kid is sick, work is intense and our pet lizard needs to go to the vet.
Last year when the editor of Studio City Patch, asked me if I would be interested in writing a column once a week for some new website called, Patch, I thought, "Well, I've never written a column, I don't read blogs, I'm not sure what I have to say, and even if I did have something to say not sure anyone would give a crap so.... what the hell, I'm in."
I had no idea how much that one decision would change my life.
was about why I thought the guys who worked at should teach the art of dating.
I was convinced no one would read it (other than my mom), but I wrote it anyway.
I write what I know, what's real, what might be funny or sad or both. As long as it's honest. And if it means something to someone—anyone —then I feel good.
That column was not just a big hit but it circulated around all the markets in California. I even got a letter from the woman who wrote the Trader Joe's Cookbook to tell me she shared it with all her cooking students.
I was blown away. I guess you could say I had NO IDEA how powerful the Internet was. Up until that point I only used it to send emails, find friends on facebook and occasionally look up movies playing at the Arclight.
But when the next time I went into Trader Joe's and discovered the employees recognized me as "Studio City Mom"... well, it was clear my mom wasn't the only one reading my column.
In fact, as a side note, my mom hasn't been reading my column at all becausestill can't figure out how to go on the Internet. So, if I want her to read my column I have to print the damn thing out and take it to her house.
Anyway, every Monday I had a new piece to share. Stories about my , my my , even a who was killed.
I didn't hold anything back. But, as I soon learned, neither did my critics.
I wasn't prepared to be personally attacked by readers who left some really awful comments. Comments that had little to do with criticizing my column and more to do with just being straight out mean. Ugly.
Yes, the Internet is powerful, all right.
I didn't care if someone told me I sucked at grammar and spelling or thought I was a slut for dating my daughter's teacher, but it was the attacks against me as a mother that were hard to take.
I remember one person thought my daughter should be taken away from me because I took $6 bucks out of her to put gas in the car.
Taken away??! Seriously??!
It's hard to be so honest because you make yourself a target. And, it's easy for people to sit at home on their computer and anonymously strike out against another person.
But, for every one mean-spirited person there were dozens of others telling me they were experiencing the same thing I was, or shared some other personal secret that said, "Thank you for letting me know I wasn't alone."
So, I trudged on and never looked back. There will always be haters out there. But, there will also always be love.
I've shared my personal story of growing up with an alcoholic parent, my painful, frightening struggle with unemployment, my rejections, my challenges, losing my virginity, divorce, birth, and on and on.
I have held nothing back (except the occasional four letter word only because of the Patch censors).
And, in return I have gotten far more than I could ever express. Letters from strangers telling me about their . Mothers who have taken money from their children's savings account to pay rent. Marriages ending, children growing, careers changing, and on and on.
YOU have shared honestly with me and for that I am so grateful.
I never had a plan for my column. Never knew from week to week what I would write about. Even this morning as I sat to write I had no idea what I would say.
"Just be honest, Susan. It will come."
Life is funny. It circles in such strange ways. Last week an old friend who I went to NYU with contacted me on Facebook. We have not seen each other since college. She was telling me that she was starting a writer's workshop in New York and they were about to have their first event.
"Would you like to contribute something? A play, a scene an essay?" she asked.
I was so honored. And, in the same way I said, "yes" to my editor when asked if I wanted to write a column I said, "yes" to my old friend.
"What would you like to send?"
In the past I would've sent a one-act play or a scene from a movie I working on. Instead, the first thing that came to me, the only thing that came to me was,
"Can I send a column?"
So, last Friday night while I was here in Studio City with my daughter eating ice-cream, in New York City, at an event to launch a new theatre program, a brave, talented actress started the evening off by reading, "" by Susan McMartin.
And, apparently, it was a huge hit. Now, that is cool. That is life coming full circle.
So, this morning as I sit here with my coffee I suppose I simply want to say, "h."
You have given me an opportunity to write when no one else would. You have given my stories a place to live. You have given me a voice when at times I thought I had none.
I'll see you next week, my friend.