b–Being brave

3/3/15  (clearly I can’t decide if this is a journal, blog or diary)
I asked Facebook friends if they would read what is here and give me some feedback. That was hard because it is putting myself out there and maybe no one cares. I did get 3 replies. I have one friend who had read this yesterday but feedback seems hard for most. One of my paddling friends said sweet things but she hadn’t had a chance to really read it. I kind of feel a need for hand holding. I hope it continues to be good. It would be so helpful if they could points to what works or doesn’t.

3/6/15 I’m listening to Anne Lamott and she talks about the way she developed her particular writer’s voice. The more I hear of her, the more similarities it seems there are in our histories. It is astounding. She said that when she was a girl in the 50s she felt that the world she lived in was “kind of heartbreaking” for people, kids and animals. She took things very seriously, she was bullied for being strange looking and grieved for the world. The grief, sadness, and distress were “unattractive” to her family and you weren’t supposed to have these feelings that weren’t “charming” so she got sent to her room a lot. She was “shamed” into becoming this more adorable person and ended up doing a lot of drinking and drugs early in her life to fit into the skinny jeans the world wanted her to model. In response to the pressure to fit in she developed this writing style in her teens of someone whom everyone loved and wanted her to be. As a writer her task has to been to break through to where her real voice is, who she really is beyond that person others want her to be. So all the anger, and hurt, hopelessness, and rage have returned right there to her sleeves. The outcome of our similarities seems so very, very different until I recall that we really are only about 2% different genetically anyway, what can I expect?

She talks about the necessity of writing because it is her gift and she has a debt of honor. I don’t relate to how she describes herself in  a lot of ways so her actual writing is what really moves me. Writing is something I like to do and am relatively good at. I probably feel more comfortable with my writing because I’ve never really been edited. No one seems to like the bones of my writing enough to put time into helping me make it better. That uncertainty is where the bravery comes in. Is it that I have written so much it is just too hard to pick an chose? Is it so weak that it would be better to just start over with the basic idea? I suppose a writing class might be a place to go but in looking for one they all seems to be about writing fiction. Is that where I should go to learn the writing  craft? How do you learn to write nonfiction, maybe it is fiction I need to learn to write. I will freely admit I can’t do dialogue, it is fake and stilted when I try it, even when writing down real conversations, it feels fake. So, do I give into my doubt about the fiction and not do it? Where can I take what is essentially a blogging/journaling style? Everyone seems to be trying it and what about an audience? Who would I want to give this to and why would I expect them to accept it?

For me to ask others to read what I write there has to be a point to each thing. What is the point? In talking with others I’m known for asking them to tell me what the point is they are trying to make. Sometimes I’m polite about it sometimes I just blurt it out so it is only fair I do that to myself if I’m asking someone to spend their time with me. I need to sit with this a while.

I know I want to tell the story of what happened in my life. I want to justify my failures and be celebrated for my successes against so many odds. I want to compare the today me with the last year me. I think I’ve grown and I want to see it. I’m afraid to see that maybe I’m not as great as I think I am or not as nice as I want to be seen as. I know my writing it to communicate myself to others and the very idea that someone would think I’m trivial or, oh my god, self-centered is kind of shattering but I’d still like to hear useful things even though the criticism is about those fearful bits.

She is right, writing is about yourself. It is self-indulgent, self-centered, and egoistic. If it isn’t, it isn’t true. The reason I want to write is to explore those parts in me. I don’t know any other way to do that. I want to affirm what I think is true, have it challenged, have it revealed and pealed away. I want to use the process to see the procession of grace in my life and how those unearned gifts move me through to a mindful place where I am more and more aware of how none of us is really in control but karma is in play. I want to tell the stories that remind me of how lovely and awful my life has been, how I’ve had angels on my shoulders who let me make awful messes and then cleaned up behind me. There is no way that some of the things that happened to me ended with such joy and satisfaction from anything I thought to do. I want to explore how that happened.

I’m trying to be brave out of hope and need.


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