I have been thinking about writing lately. Why do I do it? Can anyone do it? Do I do it as well or better than most? And if I do, is it an inborn talent that is natural or can anyone be a writer? I will write here as I think because my blog is not like the book I literally sweated blood to edit and finish. These are my thoughts coming straight out of my heart. I never thought I had any talent for anything. I had no self-worth. I was told I was a singer, then told I wasn’t good enough, a dancer, also not quite good enough. I tried to be an actress, easily not pretty enough. I was hideous in my mind, because my past was hideous. I tried to please because I thought that was the only way I could have any worth. I became a pleaser who attracted the abusers of the world and I lived for other people; my children, my husbands, my friends but I was so scared. Which brings me back to writing.
I know now I have always had a talent for writing but so many do. Why are some people successful and others aren’t. Is it pure luck, connections, “platform” or talent. Surely, many people can write well. I see it here on the blogs. But I will put in my two cents partly because I am curious and I want to know if my choice to be writer is a wise one.
“Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn’t, it is of no use.”Carlos Castaneda
I started writing a diary, then my mother opened it and found out my secrets which she called dirty. I was a virgin slut. So I got married to save myself but leaving didn’t save me. Writing saved me. I wrote poetry but didn’t call it poetry. I wasn’t good enough to be a poet. I wrote lists, I read and I wrote. I read my words now and they sound fake. I wasn’t myself. Myself wasn’t good enough so I made everything sound wonderful We used to write letters then. My letters were breezy happy and funny but I was dying inside. My path didn’t have a heart. My writing didn’t have a heart.
I fell into food addiction to soothe myself. I had panic attacks because the food was not working. It only make me 60 pounds too heavy. But the weight protected me from the world. Finally the weight was not enough to protect me so I stayed home because bad things happened when I went out. I might have a panic attack and land in the hospital. Somebody might make fun of me. It all had happened and most of all, I felt too hideous to face the world. But through all my torment I wrote. I wrote to get better, I wrote when I felt that I couldn’t go on. I wrote when I couldn’t read. I wrote because my path had a heart.
One day I decided to heal by any and all means. I had a chapter of my memoir which would be later called, “From agoraphobia to zen” It was the chapter where I was almost killed on my 19th birthday. I had tried to forget it but inside it festered like an uncared for wound, so I wrote it down. I also tried alternative means of healing body, mind and spirit. But then a miracle happened. I found a diary of a woman who had also suffered, a woman who had not written because she thought she hated to write but she was forced to in a mental hospital. That woman was my mother. I read and my life of confusion ended. I knew I had to write my story. I didn’t yet know it would turn into a book, a book someone would think was readable, even wonderful.
This brings me back to my original musings. I think everyone can write but only if it is your path, if it has heart, should you continue and yes, I believe writing can be cultivated but style, voice and truth can’t. You either have it or you don’t and you will know it if this is your path. As for success, that is another matter. If you are famous or have famous friends or relatives you might be able to sell books. If you were in the news because of fame, infamy, disaster, you can write a book or find someone to write if for you but it might not have heart. I have read books like this and they leave me cold. I would rather write my truth and be known by a few than compromise my values. These values have helped me heal so I won’t sell myself for fame, not that I could or know how to. I still make mistakes that compromise my mental health. I make them sometimes because it is a familiar automatic soother. I do it because I am stubborn and want to prove I can do whatever I want and not pay a price but I always pay in the end and I don’t let the bad decisions turn into worse ones. I stop, I think. I stay in the present moment. Is this my path. Yes, it is my path. It has a heart; sometimes a broken heart but I will go on writing. What else can I do? It is my zen.