Halfway House for Writers
I have been overwhelmed and grateful and surprised but also surprisingly neurotic about the intro/birth/launch of my baby/project, Life in 10 Minutes. I have to keep reminding myself (with a little help from my super intelligent friends) that this is about the process, not the finished product, or approval or likes or comments or little exploding heart icons at the bottom of a post. The quality of submissions I've already received has been so amazingly high that I've had moments of deep shame about posting my own writing which suddenly seems like a runny nosed kindergartner bursting into a room full of grad students holding their degrees. Here I am! I yell. Look at me! But there’s paint and snot and mud and grammatical errors all over my face and I still don’t know my ABCs. I want to turn tail and run from the room but I can’t because I just finished building the walls-- with a lot of help from my outrageously talented friends. So, I say to myself what I say to my students every day. Stop comparing. You can’t judge your own writing. You don’t know what you’ve done or where you'll end up, only that you must keep going. And so I’m trying to stay still in the practice of not knowing. Of writing scared, but writing. I already know well the practice of editing a single sentence down past its bone. Of keeping quiet and being nice and holding the worst of it in. Of seeing what I lack and the sum total of my deficits. What I'm learning is to trust the voice that comes, in my writing and my life. What I'm learning is to put it out there true, as it is, in my writing and my life. One man, a lawyer, called my class a Halfway House for Writers. One in which we’re all neurotic and damaged and halfway insane but getting better, healing, recovering.