Monday, March 10, 2014

The Words Behind The Writing

A glimpse behind the curtain...

The Words Behind The Writing

Jill Di Donato's article Publishing A Book Won't Change Your Life (At Least Not The Way You Think) inspired me to explore the reason why I write. Digging deeply I arrived at one answer...

Because learning didn’t come easy to me I internalized the sentence, ‘I am stupid.’ It was then and is now the music that plays in my head. 
Do I enjoy listening to it? 
No. It hurts. I want it to stop. I spent most of my life looking for some outside force to make it stop. I found it: writing.

My pen can express what my tongue trips over.

“Okay, you may find me odd. I am odd. But here read this.”

I study her face and gain validation. I know she’s impressed—I can see it. And it helps. Until, once again, inevitably that experience is drowned out by the steady drumbeat—I am stupid. I am stupid.

She can continue to tell me how good my writing is, how talented I am but I can no longer hear her. In this one thing—the written word—I am enough but in all these other ways I’m not. I relive each awkward footstep, each erroneously uttered consonant until I am mud on the floor.

If I could live in pen ink I would. I feel comfortable there. I’d curl up and rest continently forever in my computer keyboard—nestled inside the ‘U’ or the ‘C’.

And yet I have a husband who loves me, friends who support me. I know that doesn’t just happen. I tell others, if you are in a supportive, caring relationship it is due in part because of what you’ve done, who you are:  karma at work. Healthy relationships don’t just happen you have to build and maintain them.

‘I am stupid’ is a familiar phrase. It’s helped to keep me small, keep me contained. Belief in it means I don’t have to grow. It’s the reason I fail. It’s the reason I don’t have to try. Others may have trouble locating the ugly part of themselves. But I know where mine lies. I can pull it out and examine it whenever I want—poking it, twisting it. Pain is an emotion that can block out all others. Self-inflicted pain means I’m the one in control. And in this way ‘I’m stupid’ acts as my shield keeping me save from anything anyone else can do to me. And when you are in relationship with others there’s always a risk of pain.

And so I continue to write—short story becomes novella becomes novel. I gain validation. Through the eyes of others, I see a different me—talented, capable, intelligent. But it is only a flash—gone too quickly. I chase it like a drug. Writing. Writing. Writing. Becomes my life.

that's me--naked

I worried that by publishing this article I went too far, exposed too much. But then I read Bella Mahaya Captep's article (Body, Mind & Spirit) The Naked Writer In it, she wrote, You cannot heal what you cannot see... Your negative habits and behavior patterns have their way with you--until you become conscious of them. You must first see them. Once you realize what's going on, they dissolve....If you're a writer wanting to tell your truth, showing up [naked]is a valuable practice.
Sharing my author journey...

And so...
Start a project, finish a project, make revisions on a project, send the project to a publisher--repeat.
What's so difficult?
Well, sometimes life--as in there's this interesting literary event that I must attend--and sometimes my muse--as in there's this shiny, new project that I need to start right now--gets in the way. That my friends is what happened this week.
In my defense, (not sure why I feel the need to defend, but I do) I did enter two writing contests this passed week. Great defense. Except that entering contests was my minor goal. My major one was finishing revisions. Um, yeah... And I'm working on them.
Let's see where I am next week, shall we?
Next post:  Java Davis' response to my list of interview questions.


Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne - Ohhhhhh, what a wonderful look a what fuels you! Thank you for sharing a behind the curtain look.

Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you, Laurie. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this article. Now I'm on my way to discover what you have to share this Tuesday. : )