Fear and Writing

At the age of seven I knew I wanted to be an author, a weaver of words and stories and tales that would enchant readers. At eight I was brave enough to read my stories to my classmates, who often bullied me, but treated me well while listening to my imaginative tales. But by the age of nine I discovered that sharing my writings could be dangerous. My grandmother told me to write about ‘nicer things’ when I read her my ghost stories, and instructed me to major in English, which did not interest me, and improve my spelling. Which was impossible. So I wrote in secret, and was continually asked why I would not share my wild chronicles again.

Time passed and college courses required strict codes of writing that I often struggled with, but learned to follow. And my stories were put away in a corner, covered in the dust of ‘not-enough-time’ and fear. How could I share the wanderings with academics who judged the exactness of the words rather than the emotion they evoked? So I turned to journaling with hints of the stories I would someday write until those became victims of invasive eyes.

I was in the middle of a lawsuit against a major oil company based on their sexual harassment and discrimination in the days when women geologists were barely tolerated, and insulting, vulgar language was the norm. The oil company lawyers insisted that I needed to talk with a psychiatrist, since obviously I was sexually, emotionally and psychologically irrational. And the psychiatrist asked, and was granted, access to my journal. My private thoughts were read and shared in legal documents, used against me and I, once again, stopped writing.

Eventually I prevailed and survived, and the words inside me would not stay silent. Over the years I dreamed full novels, wove wild stories for my friends, and wrote academic articles, but froze every time I tried to write my stories. Then, finally, I started to write and share my blogs and books, cringing each time someone read my work, especially if they said NOTHING afterwards. Which is the most common response. Nothing.

Writing for me is an odd dance of passion and terror, and sometimes regret. And it is this dance that seduces me to write, and perhaps keeps stories romancing me.

2 thoughts on “Fear and Writing

  1. I am so glad that you went back to writing. It is a gift for you and for us. I understand the fear of putting oneself out there. You are a courageous warrior!

  2. Love this. It takes such courage to send our words out into the world.

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