Posted by : Claudia | October 9, 2015
I’m starting this blog because it scares me and because it’s time to get serious about doing the one thing I’ve always wanted to but never have.
Honestly, I’ve thought of every reason not to start Two Women Writing since the idea first plopped itself down on my psyche about a year ago, but the inner me who’s not afraid—or at least is brave enough to push on regardless—that inner me seems to have for the moment edged out the other me, the one who’s too busy, not good enough and full of other flimsy excuses. My rendezvous with breast cancer this year also helped kick this blog into reality, offering a well-timed reminder that I am running out of an already precious-few number of years, months, days and seconds. And that means I’m running out of room to keep running from the one thing I think I was meant to do.
English was not my first language, nor my second, but it is my instinctive and most natural tongue—the one I dream in—and it’s the only writing partner I’ve had since Mr. Victor told me in AP English that I had a knack for the craft. Thanks to him and Hemingway and Lewis and other greats and not-so-greats whose clever and skillful use of English* has informed my affection for writing, I love words and the architecture of language—putting words together, moving them around, finding just the right one. It’s a bit of a neurosis, really, but one that comes in handy, so it’s easy to find innocuous ways of indulging it—emails, proposals, lectures, letters of recommendation and editing work written by friends and colleagues. And so I go, temporarily soothing the unshakeable but regrettably compliant urge, confining it to a safe and tidy page in quite a boring chapter of the least impressive book on my self shelf.
Then I hear a clever lyric in Something Rotten, read a brilliantly orchestrated passage in Terry Pratchett’s The Nation, or connect with a uniquely articulated truth from Lecrae, and I remember just how much I love words and the smithing of them, and then I fantasize yet again about the day I’ll finally write For Real. It appears that day has come—perhaps fittingly as a gift from myself—on October 9, 2015, my 51st birthday.
But it’s not enough to craft clever linguistical constructs, of course. I must have something worth saying, something to add to the greater conversation, something real and relatable, something that matters and that might make a difference somehow—something that gives the act of writing purpose. With 50-plus years clocked in on this planet, I figure I must have learned and collected at least a few useful things to share. But that’s where the dream gets scary.
While writing affords an author totalitarian control of the message, it also cuts a very public path into her soul. And opening up like that, for all the digital world to see and tweet and post and link, scares me. I suppose I’m most afraid of what people will think of me, that they will be free to know me in a more intimate way than is safe and comfortable. But that is exactly why I must follow my fear. Vulnerability is scary, but it is also good and right. We humans love to hide behind carefully managed facades, afraid that who we really are is just not good enough. But the truth is we are all broken. We are all weak. We are all flawed. And only by sharing our true selves — not the bedazzled versions — can we truly be known and loved and make the kind of progress that matters. Vulnerability is the key to meaningful connection, and meaningful connection is the key to a life well-lived.
So here I am, my heart and soul at your mercy, writing because I’ve always wanted to, hoping to make a difference, and trying to make a little progress on my own delightfully serendipitous and generously circuitous journey that keeps swinging past the dream I first passed so long ago.
* Great writing is, of course, not limited to any one language, and I cannot ignore the tremendous genius of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy and French novelist Jules Verne and the effect their insightful and clever prose has had on my understanding of what writing ought to be, even if slightly lessened by their translation into English.