First of all, let me confess that I quit writing for over 20 years because I allowed someone’s feelings to carry more weight than my own. I looked into their judgement bearing eyes and tossed my writing in the bottom drawer where it stayed, gathering dust.
By doing so, I suffocated the part of me that was real, the truth of me, the softest part of my heart. I dimmed the light, shelved the dreams, let the fire go cold. No poetry flowed from within onto waiting paper, no stories of Warrior Queens, or howling Wolves, or love overcoming, or the victory of freedom were told, in epic fashion, by the clicks of my keyboard.
After years of that, my soul became one long silent scream of fury.
I will not tell you whose words cracked my heart like an egg finely fractured without breaking open. He would not appreciate the attention. But the words I read hurt me, lit me up, made me feel the something irrevocable that I held inside me. Wonder stirred within me, and as it rushed through my blood, the pain of a thousand needles stabbed me as my heart began to wake up. It was a terrifying ecstasy to feel something.
So I sat down, and I began to write.
I wrote over 100 poems and sent them out into the world, I began writing stories and submitting them, flinging my work out there with a frenzy that defied my fear. Because, goddammit, I was alive again. I was up, and breathing fire, and I refused to lie back down and shut up.
Then came judgment day.
“What’s wrong with you? Why are you so angry?”
“Are you getting divorced?”
“Are you talking about me when you wrote that?”
“It’s embarrassing to have to explain what you’re writing”
“What will people think?”
The part of me that will not be silent was immediate in response to these interrogations. I knew what had to happen. I knew I couldn’t buckle in, or show any sign of weakness if I was going to survive. I knew if I had a single prayer of ever leading a life woven through with joy, I would have to draw my sword, and cut the head off of the snake.
So I began un-friending anyone who questioned what or why I wrote my words.
Family? Gone. Mutual friends? Gone.Even, (especially) my husband is no longer on my friends list. Nobody who questions what I write remains on my page. Because I will write what I want. I will say what I’m led to say. If I’m writing about you, then trust me, you will have already heard every single word face to face, and you chose to ignore it. Your bad, not mine.
The other side of that coin is artistic license.
Does Stephen King really have an alien space ship in his basement, or lose weight via gypsy curse, or been held prisoner by a nurse willing to crush his bones? God, I hope not. Does Dean Koontz really time travel, save himself from multiple killers, and witness the world being changed by golden retrievers? Okay, that last one is possible, but let’s stick to the topic.
All of what I write is the truth as I see it.
Some of it is my truth. Some is someone else’s truth. Sometimes it’s everybody’s truth. Sometimes it’s fiction based on truth. Sometimes it’s make-believe with a moral to the story for crying out loud. The point is, I will write what I want, and no one will stop me. Not kidding, it’s a deal-breaker.
My soul no longer screams in fury, it sings the truth of me with the purity of an operatic aria, my words, the air to my heart.
So let me be clear. Write your words. No matter what. Sing it loud. Bear witness. No excuses, come what may…
Take no prisoners.