How do I know this? Because I’m reading a book about how to write, several actually, amongst many others.
What qualifies me to be a writer? I don’t exactly know yet, other than knowing, and feeling really, that I have something I want to say. There’s a longing, an inner pull. Like the strong tide of an ocean, a current, an undertow, that’s nudging me in a particular direction. But the scary thing is I can’t see the shore once I’m out in the deep dark waters and I also can’t see exactly where the tide is pulling me to. There’s no visible island, or safety boat, or raft, but there’s a feeling that just beyond the horizon, something is there. Some unknown destination is waiting, just for me, to arrive, and take up residence.
So, I’m drifting a bit, and trusting that the energy of the current won’t drag me down into its depth, suffocating me with a thick, dark, murky weight. I first dip my toes in, hesitant and fearful. What awaits me? What if I drown? What if there’s a shark? What if I’m attacked? What if I forget how to swim and sink into the abyss? Or worse - the unknown, the unthinkable, the unpredictable. What lurks in the darkest shadows of my subconscious awaiting to be discovered?
And what will others think or say when reading the inner bile that I’ve regurgitated onto the page? Will it frighten them the way I fear it terrifies me? Or, will it delight them with glee, joy, and laughter? Or perhaps, they’ll be shredded. Torn to bits, and wracked with tears at the sorrow, at the audacity of the truth of my words.
What will come of all this? What will it mean? Is it important for it to have meaning? Or, is it more important just to experience the process? Am I a cog in a machine meant to create some packaged product? Is something willing its way out of me like the alien creature in a sci-fi pic plunging through my stomach and out into the free world never to be bottled up inside again?
It could be a monster inside, this feeling. It could terrify and frighten all who witness or come near it. It could cause harm to myself or to others. But is it less damaging once released and free in the world versus being trapped inside? What’s lurking amongst the dark reaches of my insides?
It could be ugly, and right now our society is fearful of that. We don’t want to look at the things that make us feel lesser than, or afraid, or ashamed. We want to feel good. We want to feel better. We want to be greater than our true selves, so we look away, and avoid the things that make us truly uncomfortable.
So, what if my writing does that?
Makes us all feel even more uncomfortable than we already are. What then?
Do I lose my voice? Do I lose my audience? Do I care? Does it matter?
If a bear shits in the woods, does his crap make a sound?
Peculiar this writing thing is.