Sunday, May 2, 2010

On Courage and Writing

You need courage if you want to be a writer.

Then again, you need courage if you want to be a human being.

It only seems easier to cave in, lie low, go along with the crowd.

But remember back in junior high when you tried that?

They still didn't like you, did they? Even when you twisted yourself into The Human Pretzel to try and fit in. Real friendships only came about when you took off the salt-speckled mask and showed yourself.

So that's the life lesson of grade 8 - you can't hide. Not for long, any way. Otherwise the boogeyman comes to get you. As self-doubt, self-loathing, and self-delusion.

Or maybe you'll just get beaten up behind the school parking lot.

Given the choices, you might as well step up. Figure out who the heck you are, what you like and dislike, what you stand for. Then own up to it.

You might still get beaten up at the back of the schoolyard, but at least it won't be for being a phony pretender wuss.

Being yourself saves a ton of energy. You can then use that energy to bolster your courage when you need it. Like when you decide to become a writer.

Because putting yourself out there, totally naked on the page, is not for the faint-hearted.

And looking for a publisher is not for the thin-skinned.

You need mental toughness. Resilience. Utter disdain for the laws of probability. And disdain for the disdain of others.

That takes courage.

Courage, however, is completely "uncool."

It presupposes commitment and engagement, then tosses in a headlong, screaming dive into catastrophe.

Courage will undoubtedly leave you looking foolish. So very, very uncool, that.

Courage will undoubtedly make you enemies. Bullies, after all, hate people that push back.

But if you become a writer with courage, your words will sear the page with truth.

With courage, you will say what needs to be said, and the intensity of your voice will force people to listen.

Through courage, you may discover the gift of difference-making. You will just, maybe, become the one to repair your small, broken corner of the world.

And you will truly be a writer.

1 comment:

Because: Science!