Along with the sorry state of the world, heavy matters of life and death have left me without a soft place to land and write. I spent several weeks just thinking, trying to pin down a faceable subject. But I kept returning to an exhaustive rehash of other people’s criticisms of my work. What a fugue; but it provided an effective escape from the recent tragedies and losses. Enough already, it’s time to let it go. So please bear with me as I do.
Beginning this litany with the comments of a well-published essayist, he suggested that each subject of these latest shorts is packed enough for a whole book. My close friend who’s a copy writer and poet has respect for the discipline of the epic-on-a-single-page. And his preference is an original voice that includes consciousness and politics over obvious spiritual or political writing. However, some do favor my inspirational columns, and others are most interested when my pieces hit upon today’s issues.
While the above mentioned essayist has no objection to Self as a subject, a few are of the opinion that personal writing is indulgent, possibly ugly, although no one has used that word to me. My siblings don’t object to pieces from our collective past, but they remember events differently than the way I tell them. And at a reading in Kansas City, one family member said: “You know, Steph, if I didn’t have to work so hard, I’d like to write a book too. ”
As much as writing is a privilege, it’s not an evening in front of the TV with a box of chocolates and a G’n’T. The process (not complaining, just stating facts) often requires drilling through a mountain of resistance. Yet, because life doesn’t make sense without writing, when I’m struggling in the dark to come up with a decent sentence, or trying to figure out what the piece is really about, I have no desire to escape.
Much of what I’ve learned about myself is from the commitment to this work and reading other authors brave enough to expose the foibles of humanity. Even though it is an interior practice and I stay true to the subjects that interest me, others’ criticisms are invaluable. But this rehashing exercise has eaten up enough time. So I’ve cleared my slate and shall begin again.