Sunday, August 21, 2011

Life as a writer


I started writing young. Memories of writing comic-books as a fourth-grader my earliest. Always, though, insecurity drove me to destroy them. Fears of mockery, mostly. I knew, even then, how much better it should look. High standards choke productivity.

Junior high brought a new set of fears. God forbid I be found writing stories! Or worse, poetry! I delighted writing poems, but knew the doom of letting that go public. This idea brought shivers of terror. I couldn’t dream of a better way to put the junior-high-social-destroy-me-bulls-eye on. It saddens the forty-four-year-old me how much power I granted “them”.

As an adult, my fears still compell, though with a different face. Now I fear the inner critic, constantly rehashing every error, mistake, or lame word-use. But that’s only a piece. I, also, fear success. The demands of an audience! Wanting more of these characters. Wanting more of me. Success breeds an expectation of more success. What if I can’t?

At least my journals do not face destruction, even as I read them and cringe. I often expect genius in the first draft. Well, “expect” seems too soft a word. Better put: demand! These journals, though, serve as outlet for my need to write. Safety in these words, tucked upon my shelf, only occasionally shared. They served to contain the dream. Keeping me both safe from my dreams, and from the glaring pain of critique. This blog helps, too. Seeing the hundreds of people reading it each month gratifies.

Why do I let fear drive me? Deep down, perhaps, I face a troll lurking in the basement of my psyche. Bearing a monstrous, booming voice which terrifies. If I dare to venture down, seeking its face, I see a minuscule beast. The power in facing fears.

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