The Wild Ride Called Writing
So, what about writing? I try to conjure the words that could make it clear what it is that writing does for me, is for me. It's a lifeline. A lifesaver. But from what? I don't take it lightly, never have. I believe one must not only be called, but chosen, but who does the choosing? To have the audacity to consider oneself a writer just because it may sound romantic or important seems anathema to me, even though I have no choice but to write in spite of the fact I've never received such a clear-cut summons. I must write if I want to make my way back to the home in my soul, from which I tend to wander on a regular basis. Simply writing a blog, with no "real" purpose in mind other than I hope it is a place where I could possibly let go and breathe, and perhaps soar in the skies where I feel at peace, seems almost sacrilegious to me.
It's not simply fear of failure or even ridicule, although I feel that as well. It's the fear of being proclaimed an imposter, as if there is some authority, like the Writing Police, who will bang on my door in the middle of the night and cart me off to a special prison where I will languish in regret for the arrogance that led me to even consider putting words to paper, as if I were "somebody." Yet, I can't stop writing.
I am a writer afraid of writing, wary of plumbing the depths of my soul as honestly and courageously as possible. I can do it in short bursts, quickly before the fear tackles me. It is this fear I seek to face as I type these words into a browser. I write in fear, out of fear, as an appeasement to fear, so I'm finally offering my hand in an erratic partnership that fear has deigned to accept. Maybe I simply need to acknowledge it is okay to be afraid. My heart pounds as I write this, simply because I'm writing it for a blog, for a semi-public view. Am I alone in this?
I once went to a poetry workshop where we were offered a word to inspire a poem. The word was "oracle." Of course, I felt crippled by doubt so I wrote what I hoped was a clever missive about being a "wannabe poet" which predictably fell flat as it rolled off my shaky tongue. But I'd also brought other poems, just in case, and in a rare move I read one. The reading elicited a collective gasp from the group which was more than satisfying, it was electric. For it was from such a gasp that the poem arose. I had to be doing something right. Right?
I both need confirmation and distrust it. Is it simply my make-up, am I destined by circumstance and temperament to be a suffering artist?
As a writer I believe in perfection. And as I've read multitudes of perfect lines contained in perfect works it is no wonder I remain intimidated.
I've worked for years at eradicating fear. Don Juan, the Yaqui sorcerer made famous by Carlos Castaneda, claimed fear could be conquered, once and for all, but since all my attempts have so far failed, I'm content to try to accept it and invite it as ally and informant in my work, in my heart, in my life. I watched my mother crippled by fear so maybe it's in the genes or maybe it's behavior I learned. Yet and even so I write and write and write. Sometimes the fear rides me but sometimes, I must admit, I ride the fear. And I must also admit... it's always a wild ride. Otherwise, why would I do it?