Sunday, April 27, 2014

Survival Writing

Poetry got me through high school. High school was a mostly bad experience for me... considering I was intelligent, not athletic, and not one to follow the crowd. I had friends, but there were very few I could absolutely count on. Plus I changed schools in the middle of my second last year. A tragedy I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Especially for a shy, teenage girl. So, I wrote poetry when I was sad or madly infatuated with the latest crush as a way to get the feelings out without having to actually say them out loud. I poured my heart and soul into poems and songs.

If I wrote poetry when I was sad, I wrote stories when I was happy. From the time I could hold a pencil, I was writing something. My self-discovery of today is that my past experiences have shaped me, adding dimension and depth to my writing. So, I hope my latest works are an improvement to my childish scribbles. If they aren't, maybe I should stop trying. If I can. As sure as I live and breathe, I need to write. And it gives me great pleasure to do so for you.

Writing is a highly personal process. How painful to bear your heart, your deepest secrets for all to see only to face harsh ridicule and judgement from peers/readers. Seems crazy, doesn't it? Maybe it is, but it's what we're driven to do. It's like a disease, yet it soothes the dis-ease within me.

I am a deeply private person, but you'll see me - glimpses of who I really am - through my work. Besides my family, writing is my greatest joy. I fear the darkness inside me. I struggle to keep it at bay. Is it madness? Truly? You would have to be a little crazy to aspire to write. A profession where you open yourself to criticism at every corner. Yet most writers aspire to become published.

I am both excited and frightened at the thought of becoming a published author. Then it gets real. My friends and family will want to read my work... and I'm not ready for that. I'd rather remain anonymous and write for strangers. My online writing group (whom I've never met in person) knows more about me than my closest friends. Sharing a story is like walking nude into a room. Gastly scary, highly irrational, and, under normal circumstances, I would not be caught dead doing it.

So I agonize over the pending publication of my first book. Am I ready to walk into that room and show the people I know who I really am? Or will I remain in the shadows, hiding behind the strength of my pen name? The anonymity comforts me, reassures me. That is the answer. After all, that's how I survived high school. No one ever knew the real me.

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