Right down to sitting here, now, I can’t seem to flow when I try to plan what I am going to write. Someone recently suggested to me that it is a comment made by my Grade 11 English teacher that has had me hanging on to this approach rather than it is the only way I can create. Catcher In The Rye was the subject. And, I wrote the paper in the wee hours of the morning before it was due. I cannot recall if the comment was in writing (I very likely have the paper still in a box somewhere… keep meaning to look. LOL) or in the conversation we had when he returned the assignment. But, he actually told me I do my “best work at the last minute. The more I think about things, the more I screw them up.”
The truth is, Mr. Harris was correct. First, I do seem to have an internal editor or something that makes what falls from my lips or my fingers emerge in a form that (especially by the copy editing standards of today) is, at the very least, suitable for public presentation. Yesterday, one of my podcast instructors told me that I should just record my thoughts and post. That I am eloquent. And, I will admit, that is part of what has triggered this exposition.
I can’t exactly argue. I have read my work. I have listened to my recordings. Yet, I am held back. The best description I can muster is a combination of a fear of exploitation and one of arrogance. I will be honest, my earliest rationalization for not pursuing publication was, primarily, that it felt like prostitution. My creativity was nurtured by trauma. Writing was how my soul spoke. Without my words, I would not have survived. To sell them would be to sell myself. Yet, it was never as simple as that. And, I still find myself with this barrier. See, I have a difficult time taking ownership of these things. I am, often, as unaware of how the thoughts came into being as any audient may be. I have never had to apply much discipline (Mr. Harris also said I “have a natural writing ability”). My creativity is not generated by me. It is a gift that is given to and through me. I struggle with taking ownership of the ideas.
Which brings me back to fear. Much of what I am compelled to share is uncomfortable and, therefore, unpopular observation. It is , however, of a value that our society seriously needs to once again recognize if we have any interest in humanity as a “going concern”. And, I am a coward.
I have spent decades vacillating between trying to keep my mouth shut and trying to find ways to speak the truths (perspectives) I am shown in a palatable manner to a society with such particular and fickle tastes. I was seventeen when I first mused about feeling like I was standing in the Garden of Gethsemane. I have cowered from using that reference, blanketed with a false sens of humility. Not wanting to claim divinity or prophesy. Honestly, more because of history than humility. Look how Jesus lived and died? Would you take that cup? What would you do if, even as a small child, you knew you were supposed to? Especially in the Western world today.
Beyond all of that, my greatest fear is the latter half of Mr. Harris’ observation. What if I actually start to try? Every “strategy” I have implemented to “not shake the boat” has ended in a shipwreck. What will happen if I try to actually try to thoughtfully articulate the “messages” I feel compelled to share? What if it comes out all wrong and I lead people further astray?
Am I asking the wrong question? What if I let myself float out rudderless and see what happens? Finally step out of the garden and onto the sea.