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I've Found the Key to Something Here
You can tell me if it's just the fever talking.
Hi friends, I wanted to say ‘hello’ but I was hoping I could do it without hacking my brains out.
I guess not.
I’ve been sick with some sort of respiratory thing and it’s not going away—coughing, sneezing, blowing my nose, going through every form of sanitizer known to man in order to keep anyone else in the household from having to share my Kleenex.
I closed up the island home a couple of weeks ago and I’m in the dreaded city now, where germs appear in colossal swarms and nobody is safe. The NP who tested me for COVID the other day said my immune system was probably not prepared for the onslaught, given I live in the north woods where these germs apparently have to fight for survival.
So, no COVID. That’s good. I cling to that as my head pounds from another bout of wracking cough. The kind of cough that, in movies, signals the imminent death of the one the script writers have decided we must love with all our hearts.
I’ve managed to do Wordle every day, and I’ve had a few things to say on Twitter and Facebook, but otherwise I haven’t written much. My concentration is off the charts, on a level with a two-year-old—flitting, exploring, keeping, discarding, flitting, exploring…
But I’m here now because of this tweet by the writer, Laurell K. Hamilton:
"I called myself a writer before I’d sold anything. Now 40 published books & numerous short stories later I still call myself a writer. First you tell the universe what you are, then you go prove it." / Twitter
OMG. That last line! That STUCK! The heavens have opened!
I know! Tissue box in hand, I had to come and share this with you today. I can’t be the only one who had it all wrong and floundered for years because I thought I had to prove myself as a writer before I admitted it to myself, and long before I could ever announce it to the world.
What a shortcut! Of course. This must be what separates the successful writers from the rest of us. That unerring, unswerving confidence that they’ve found their calling and it’s full steam ahead, never looking backward or sideways, never caring what the world might think. Just doing it because it’s what they do.
We build so much mystery into writing because we grow up thinking reading is magic. It transports us, it transforms us, it builds exotic worlds for us, it keeps us whole and keeps us safe. Reading can do all of those things.
And so can writing.
As readers our only obligation is to comprehend. As writers our responsibility is to build. To create. To make something out of nothing, using only our brains, our imagination, our ability to seek out and examine and put into words something good enough for readers to want to read.
It’s like holding a brick in your hand and envisioning a building. Only a fool would look down at that brick and think “I can do this!” But with enough work, enough dedication, the odds are at least among the possible. More possible than if the brick stays just a brick.
So I’m awake now. Let’s talk about this. Have you known this all along, or is it a revelation for you, too? I mean, many of us say we knew we would be writers, or writing is a calling, or we write because we must. But how many of us told the universe first and then went and did it?
That’s not to say there are never any doubts or hesitations. No, that’s not it. Writers like Laurell Hamilton persevere because they never doubt themselves. Even when things get rough and they’re doubting the journey, the path, the story line, the execution, they never doubt themselves. They know they can get through it, and they do.
I have never been there. I don’t know what that feels like, and I doubt I ever will. But some of you are still pliable, still open to that wisdom, and if this reaches even one of you, I’ll get back into my sickbed a semi-happy woman.
It’s on you now.
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