I want to talk to you about why I write. A lot of people ask me on a fairly regular basis how my memoir is coming. They want to know when they’ll be able to read it. They want to know how I hope to publish it.
Truth is, I don’t know. There’s a chance I’ll never publish it. There’s a chance it will sit and languish on my desk and never be read by anyone until after I’m dead. Who knows. Who cares?
I care, I guess. I confess that I am in a bit of a funk right now. Perhaps it’s because of these expectations, or perhaps it’s because I constantly lose sight of why I’m writing.
I’m not writing to see my book at a bookstore. Because if I were doing that, the work would suffer. Truly, it would. It would end up forced and trite. I think that the only way to get your work into a bookstore is to imagine that it will never see the light of day and just let it all hang out.
So I’m not writing to be seen. I’m writing because it releases me a little, each day, out of the confines of this body and mind. Every time I write, it’s like little butterflies start twirling around me, inside and out, and that’s worth it, isn’t it? That’s worth doing no matter who sees it, right?
I like writing real. I like writing the things that aren’t so pretty because that’s what’s true. So many books (and forms of entertainment) seek to leave us feeling all pretty and tied up in a bow, all good and warm and fuzzy inside. But then you close the book and go about your day and you don’t feel all warm and good and fuzzy inside. And you think, “What’s my problem?”
Darling, you have no problem. You are just living and doing a damn fine job of it if I do say so myself. All of you. You don’t need to hide the bad stuff or be ashamed of your body or put a pretty bow on a turd to make it look better. You’re doing just fine.
So writing helps me remember this. It helps me peel off all of the layers of armor and makeup and fashion that we feel the need to put upon ourselves to make it out there in the world. Writing is my delicate, fragile place, where tiny little butterflies float around me and kittens nap in the crook of my arm. Will I make a book of it someday? Maybe. Until then, it’s just my daily medicine. It’s creation. It’s my gift to my daughters after I’m gone, and that’s enough.