Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Writing In The Raw

I'll bet you think that this is about me writing in my birthday suit because of the never-ending heat wave in So. Cal.

Fooled ya!

Nope, this is me writing about me and about some thoughts I had recently when I was really down.

Writing in the raw in this instance means writing about the rawness inside. The red bloody core of our inner selves. Something we writers all strive to do in our fiction, but seldom do as people.

I'm going through a difficult patch right now. Patch might even be an understatement.  It feels like I'm in the middle of a perfect storm of bullshit, some of it with serious potential consequences. Some of it is personal. Some physical. Some of it has to do with my writing. Some of it is at the office and out of my control.  It's all thundering down on me like a tidal wave while I dog paddle as fast as my stumpy arms and legs will go.

I'm not writing this to garner pity or sadness or to get attention, but to remind you, the readers, that behind every book you read (mine and others) is a person with a life, a family, likes, dislikes, ups and downs, frailties, and tragedies. We lose loved ones. We get sick or injured. We do incredibly stupid things. We suffer lost and despair. We have a past. Just like our thousands of readers.

This morning while brushing my teeth, I had the thought that my life would be much easier had I married when I had the chance.

But would it be? There are no guarantees.

In my life so far, I've been proposed to three times. I accepted one and the bastard broke my heart with no sense of guilt or regret. I left him three months before the wedding and never looked back. I know, without a doubt, that had I gone through with that marriage I might be better off financially, but not emotionally. He would have destroyed me.

The other two came when I was younger. I didn't love them, so turned them down. Had I accepted either of those proposals, I would have had a nice traditional life, but probably would never have become a writer. My dream was always to be a writer. Maybe I would have still pursued it, but I doubt it. I've never regretted turning them down either.

I do date on occasion, though those occasions and opportunities are more rare with each passing year. But I can say honestly that while I am alone, I am seldom lonely. Nor am I a crazy old cat lady who talks to herself. Really. I'm not.  (here, kitty, kitty)

But this post isn't about marriage or being single. Not at all. This post is about being honest with ourselves and with others about who we are. We live the life dictated by our heart and desires, but also by our choices, both good and bad. Our lives are an accumulation and canvas of our experiences.

Throughout my life I've heard:

You're too fat.
You're too loud.
You're too abrasive.
You're not pretty enough.
You don't dress nice.
You swear too much.
You don't believe enough.
You're too old. (recent addition to the list)

And sometimes the negative voice comes from within:

I'm not talented.
I'm fat.
I'm lazy.
I'm old.

I've spent decades trying to fit in, hoping to be more accepted and loved. I've wasted years doing what was expected of me instead of what I wanted to do. I always thought if I was normal, my life would be better. Then several years ago I decided, fuck it. This isn't working for me. Instead of being a square peg trying to fit into a round hole, I need to find my own personal square hole.

Now I say,


And I own it.

Straight or gay, we all need to come out of the closet, whatever that closet might be.

Of course, that doesn't mean we can throw social responsibility out the window. If you're an asshole, own your assholeness, but don't hurt others in the process. If you're not happy being an asshole, then change. Just know that being who you are doesn't mean walking through life taking verbal and physical swings at your fellow citizens just because you feel like it or you're in a bad mood.  That's acting out like a spoiled brat and the world does not need any more spoiled brats.

With regard to that tidal wave I mentioned above, I have no doubt that I'll weather it eventually. I may be dog paddling, but my head is still above water and my friends and family have my back.

As for my writing, I hope that even though I'm in my 60s, I can infuse my characters, current and future, with rawness and truth.


Alisa said...

Well said! Yes you will weather this storm. Do what you need to do to take care of you, mentally, emotionally and physically, that's the most important thing.

Rudi said...

Wow! So much of this could have been written by me. You will weather this and come out a stronger person. You have so much to offer the world, in writing, in personality, in caring. You are smart,and brave, and whatever this is will eventually work itself out. In the meantime, don't change, don't give up. It's so good that you have family and friends who are there for you. Close your eyes, grit your teeth, and push your way through. And know that there are a lot of women out here who can relate. We got your back.

Nancy Raven Smith said...

Hang in there. This too shall pass - maybe just not as quickly as we can hope for. Take care of yourself.