I started reading the link ups as soon as we returned from Boston today. Waited until the kids were fed. Then fed chocolate, watching television with daddy, dancing around the living room and demanding band aids be placed on them, everywhere.
I could finally comment on some great posts. Finally, I could start writing my own.
And there is the blank page. Surely, something fuels me. I had just written a post about inspiration, the women and moms that amaze and humble me. Hmm. Is that all I got?
I imagine that feeling–that burning, tingling impulse to create, to tell a story, to make sense of emotion and madness, to get a laugh. Where does that come from? What makes me run past my kids to get the laptop, furiously type notes into my phone in line at Starbucks, scrawl random words into a notebook in the middle of the night? Why do I sit at the computer late into the early morning knowing I will up with the kids in a few hours? Insanity? More than that. All the beautiful, heartbreaking, hilarious, poetic, human stories I read every day? The blogs, the poems, short fiction, essays–all that suddenly and thoroughly take my breath away? Yes. And the writers behind them? Indeed.
And it occurs to me that something else, something darker, primitive, ignoble is there as well. Something I don’t want to share. (So I will.) Something drives us to succeed as writers, to bare our souls to as many people as will see them; to face rejection and worse–to be ignored–so many times. I recognize that fuel as fear. Ugly, darling, familiar, pointy fear.
I have some experience in this area. I know fear of what other people think of me. I know fear of not being noticed, of not being good enough, of being alone. I know fear of not having my say, of my story staying silent. I don’t think I have ever read something fabulous and not thought, “Oh my God, I have to write something that good or better. Right now!”
I told you I didn’t want to share that. But you should know this about me. I envy and I wish I could be every writer I admire. I fear the world of beautiful phrases will be plucked bare like the prettiest flowers.
I love the shadows on a sunny day; I am quick to notice them. If you read my posts, you know I gravitate toward the broken parts. I am fueled to write by my fascination with that which, on this divinely created earth, is raw and bruised. Certainly, I will never work for Hallmark. But this quiet terror also moves me. I write to face the ugliest of what I know about myself and my world.
I cannot separate from or deny the fear that drives me. It fuels my imagination, my admiration for writing, my need to be better. I was once (always) afraid of writing; I didn’t want my truths to face me on a page. Surely no one would like me knowing that. Now my fear keeps me going back to the words, to the dim corners, and to my green affection for the writers whose glorious stories I know and love.
What fuels you?