Hitting “publish” on that last post was tough. Here’s why.
Hitting ‘publish’ on the previous post was tough because it speaks of an unhappiness and for years I couldn’t write publicly about an unhappiness, not without hastening to add a positive spin.
I could speak about an unhappiness. I could write about it, too, but only in a journal or in a private exchange with a friend. Nothing public.
And while I think a good deal of the world could benefit from a dose of reticence, for a writer, this self-muzzling can turn into a huge creative block, what with a fence running the length of one’s life, posted “No hunting allowed!” What if there’s something worthwhile over there? Because, as my friend Diana points out, the detours are often where the story lies.
But I digress.
My Mom, I discovered late in her life when I was paying more attention, shared this inability to write anything negative. Seeing it in her taught me much.
I had always thought, in that way grown children have of knowing exactly what’s wrong with their parents and how to fix it, that if only Ma, who loved to write, could offload some of the negative, she’d feel a lot better.
I’d say, ”Ma, it’s okay if you’re in pain to say ‘ouch’!” and she’d look at me like I’d been raised by wolves. Golly, I miss that look now.
She simply couldn’t do it. There was an inner prohibition.
Sobriety was elusive. For Ma, I mean. It took a lot of years for her to cobble together a good chunk of clean days, which turned to weeks, which turned to months, years, decades. When she finally started to share her story and saw others acknowledge it, she saw the power in it.
But I digress again. This post isn’t about the power of story. It’s about the inner prohibition.
Back to what I started to say, hitting “publish” on that last post was a milestone.
The need to offer a positive spin is also a creative straitjacket. What’s the big rush to offer a positive spin, a redemptive arc? Isn’t it enough to hold fast to faith there is one, even if the details are still unknown? And to walk before all the witnesses to one’s life, free from thinking your story has no value until you can tie it up in a ribbon?
Bit of a ramble there. I wanted to tell you that backstory.