By Dyana Herron
The way that I deal with things that happen is that I write about them. I have an M.F.A. and I write things and try to find homes for the things I write, and I think this makes people think that I like writing a lot. But when I’m just thinking about writing, I don’t feel like I like it very much. Sometimes, in fact, I feel like I hate it. Here’s why:
It’s hard to do well, it takes a long time, few people will read it, of the few people who read it not everyone will like it, it will not earn me money, I’m shy, I’m self-critical, I often do not like the sound of my own voice, I feel that no matter how well I write I can never do justice to what I experience, I know I’ll never be as good as the people I admire, and my extended family finds the practice confusing at best and vaguely shameful at worst.
There are many other reasons. Here’s a big one: most of the time, I don’t know what to say.
So what happens? What finally convinces me to take on the extravagant challenge of finding the words, and putting them down?
I’ve thought about this hard, and here’s what I think is closest to the truth. It’s fear. Fear of dying. Fear of not being. When I create something, I am also substantiating myself. Writing is my way of fighting against powerlessness and chaos. It is my way of celebrating and paying homage to love and joy and the miraculous. It is not just a way of saying “This is,” or “This happens,” or “Here’s something,” but a way of saying “I am here.”
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