Friday, July 17, 2009


Last night I watched the J.K. Rowling special on ABC. That was interesting. We always hear her name looming out there in the great wide Hollywood expanse, but really, most of us know nothing about her personally except that she's the genius who dreamed up Harry Potter and his cohorts. Her last book sold at a pace of SEVEN THOUSAND books a minute the day it was released. That is INSANE. In the special, they took her back to her little one bedroom apartment in Scotland where she wrote the first book of the series just following 1) her mother's death 2) a nasty divorce 3) the birth of her first child. At this point I'm thinking, no wonder she resorted to fantasy!

But it was good for me to hear the words of a writer who presumably is "on the other side" of all those petty insecurities so many of us face when writing. Although, I don't think they ever totally go away for anyone. The interviewer asked her certain questions and asked her to answer with the first thing that came to mind. When he asked her the thing she most liked about herself, she said, "I'm a tryer." When he asked what she most wanted to be remembered for, she said, "As someone who did the best she could with the talent she had."

That hit home for me. I haven't been a tryer and I'm not doing the best I can with the talent I have. I really really want to do those things, but there is always one thing holding me back. And it is something that I internalized from an extremely young age: what will they think? They being you. My family. My friends. Acquaintances. It's funny-- I almost typed "people I don't even know." But that's not true. I really couldn't care less about the opinions of people I don't know. I never have to meet them. I never have to talk to them. Who cares! If you don't know me and you read something I've written and take offense to it, all the better! At least you've read something I've written and it obviously impacted you in some way! That's all I care about. :)

I feel like my religious upbringing, not just the church, not just my family, not just the private schools, but a conglomeration of the whole environment, has so ingrained in me that we always have to do the right thing as determined by whomever, God, the Bible, other people, our parents, our friends... This really does not allow for creative freedom for a writer. Trust me. I think I've struggled most of my life to reconcile this in my life and try to figure a way out of it or come to peace with it. So far it's a no go. And it is 100% for sure and certain keeping me from "doing the best I can with the talent I have" and being a "tryer".

Even writing that last paragraph feels like nails on a chalkboard for me because I'm afraid it will upset somebody. And it's just a vague description of emotion on a blog that only a handful of people will ever read!

I'm definitely square in the middle of a raging struggle right now and it feels more intense than it ever has. And I'm committing to moving through that struggle this year and doing the best I can to figure it out. I know that I have talent. It is not in me to let it go completely to waste. There is more out there for me. But I'm going to have to stare this thing down and destroy it before I can move forward.