Does anyone remember the [briefly] acclaimed book, A Million Little Pieces? The publication, glorification and subsequent persecution of the author, James Frey, is the stuff my nightmares are made of. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending this author. I don’t know enough about the facts and I try not to base my opinions solely on the details the media shows us, so I have no right to have an opinion on him either way. However, what I did see was someone’s life systematically ridiculed and destroyed. Perhaps he should have labeled his book as ‘creative non fiction’ to leave room for the absences in his memory: the memory of a confessed alcoholic. Nonetheless, that entire ordeal shook my writer’s soul.
I’ve mentioned a few times now that I am a reluctant blogger. I do have a tremendous fear of sharing my truths and being scorned for them; or worse yet, misspell a word or use one incorrectly, leaving everyone who views my blog with the opinion that I’m an idiot. I understand these feelings are [in part] the aftermath of living with domestic violence, which leaves you feeling like less than nothing. But still, it took me a full seven days to change my setting from private to public after I wrote my first post.
If I didn’t have my son (web designer) pushing me, helping me, and encouraging me daily, I’m not sure I would be here now. At one point, I wrote him a crazy-person text saying that this whole endeavor made me feel like the stupidest person in the world. He wrote back and said, “I totally get that. That’s how I feel when I try to work on my car. Don’t give up, mom. You can do this. ”
For some reason, that statement was a turning point for me. I took a [much needed] break, went for a long (fast and furious) walk to destress, and had a good cry (over what, I cannot tell you–I think it was just a release of tension).
When I came back to my writing room, a fourth floor loft that overlooks some beautiful fall foliage on a golf course, I felt more level headed. My son is an extremely intelligent man. If he really worked at it, he could fix his car. But, there is no good reason for him to learn that trade–it has nothing to do with his profession, and it is certainly best left to people who are schooled and skilled in mechanics. I, on the other hand, had a very good reason to create this blogsite and write my first blog.
You see, I am a writer. I’ve spent years writing, editing and polishing two 80,000+ word novels; yet still, even as I write those words, I feel the need to qualify with the word aspiring— as if the fact that I’m not published negates their worth. Even though this part of me burned and yearned for all the years I was devoting my attention to raising my family, the fear of opening myself up to the possibility of rejection, criticism or scorn is almost crippling.
However, the truth is, I have a huge debt to repay. That debt is not monetary–it is a debt of the soul. Books have always given me a place to go to, a world of safety, especially when my world was unbearable. My belief, that my characters and their stories can provide a safe haven for someone else, is absolute. Even if there is only one woman out there who reads my words and feels that she has a friend, I owe it to that one woman to do everything I can to publish my words.
So, here I am. I took a blogging class last month to just get this far. This week I began another class at the Writers Center in Bethesda, which is over an hour away from my home. My new class, When Your Soul Speaks (Facebook page by the same name), is taught by an amazing woman, author, and natural healer named Laura Probert. I am hoping this class can teach me to believe in myself and my words a little bit more. Baby steps…
As is always the case with classes taught in the DC area, the pedigrees, degrees, and employment backgrounds of my fellow classmates instantly made me feel (again) like the dumbest person in the room. But, then I remembered my son’s words. Just because someone holds a doctorate and works for Congress doesn’t mean they fear less than me. It just means they are better educated in that particular field than I am, nothing more.
We are all just simple humans with great dreams, hidden under the dressings of our external lives. Ultimately, we all want our lives to have value that goes beyond the recesses of our daily responsibilites.
I thank every one of you who has accepted the invitation to follow my blog–to help me pursue and (hopefully) achieve my dream. You are making a difference in my life.