I don’t believe in kismet (aka fate or destiny). Nor do I think that the universe sends me messages about what I should do.
Earlier this week, Andi Cumbo-Floyd wrote in her newsletter about her motivations as a writer. A lot of what she said smacked me between the eyes.
Like Andi, I write to figure out what I think. I write because I think I’m good at it. And because it helps me stay (relatively) sane. I write because I’ve tried to stop writing, and it makes me twitchy and anxious.
I also write because I like to have control of something in my life. (And let’s face it, the world is mostly beyond our control.) I write because I’ve always been a weird, unpopular person and writing gives me space in which to allow all my weirdness out.
I don’t really let all the crazy-ass shit that my brain thinks up flow onto the page. Too often, I censor myself because…
Well, I’m not really sure why. Because I don’t want my spouse to run for the hills? Because I don’t want my nieces and nephew to see just how batshit crazy Aunt Ruth was decades from now as they sift through my journals? Because I worry that somehow an employer will see it and fire me? Because I don’t think any editor or agent will be interested in my wackier ideas?
An article in the NY Times outlined research that shows there’s a right way and a wrong way to follow your passion. To sum it up, following a passion for external rewards or acknowledgment can lead to destructive behaviors. But following a passion because it makes you feel good is healthier.
Yesterday was the vernal equinox, and for some reason, I remembered that the coming warmer weather will re-ignite a battle over bared breasts in NYC. Each year, a group of women walk around topless, ready to sue if their right to do so is infringed (a 1992 court case is at issue).
I’ve never joined their ranks, but I admire their courage. Given the prevalence of sexual harassment in our society, I think their activism takes courage.
Approaching my writing with the devil-may-care attitude of the desnudas might spark something new. Especially if I can forget about agents, editors, and readers.
(Photo by Daniel Weiss on Unsplash)