A Writer’s Vulnerable Heart (Part One)

     “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”  –Brene Brown
    “I can’t write to please everyone, but someone, somewhere will be touched if I put my heart into it.”-Sara Winters
    “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”-William Wordsworth
crying eye
My mind is full of rich and varied images.  Layers of story lines twist and turn with one another; sometimes overlapping, other times becoming as one.  Faces of characters float before my eyes with expressions of pain, joy, and anger.  They’re all there.  In my head.
    Yet, when I write them down on paper (or through the keyboard), the emotions are well, flat.  Stale.  Lifeless.
    I even had a few editors, two especially, who’d read different short stories and both came to the same conclusion:  my characters lacked emotions.
    Really? 
    Funny, when I “act” out various scenes in my head, the strong emotions would rush to the surface, and occasionally, I’d find myself crying, or laughing.   But, why can’t I make these same emotions flow through my characters?
    What’s wrong with my characters?
    What’s wrong with me?
    All my life I have suppressed my emotions.  Especially the tears.  For me, they were signs of weakness.   Heck, I even have difficulties with intimacy in my marriage because it requires me to be vulnerable.
    Vulnerability=weakness.
    I crave connection with people; yet I shy away from them.
    Fear.  Of. What???
    One of my biggest fears is ending up alone.  And that’s exactly where my current path is leading me.
    Sad, huh?
    No, its pathetic!
    Bottom line, I know if I don’t resolve these issues on a personal level, as a writer I will never truly reach people.  Touch them.   Because in order to do that, I need to expose my inner soul, my wounded heart; I need to show my vulnerabilities through the characters, reveal them all to the world; only then, will I be able to touch readers with words.
    If only…
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“Writers are a courageous lot”

I came across a passage written by Anthony J.W. Benson  that I like to share with my fellow readers.  It talks about writers and their struggles.

“Writers are a courageous lot. Often embattled by confusion, distraction and persistent dissatisfaction, they fight through pain, sweat and tears, as well as the unforgiving blinding glare of the blank page, to bring their thoughts forth.  As the internal war rages, they are capable of great victories, and great defeats. Yet, in the face of creative adversity those who choose to break free and follow the beacon of truth, emotion and passion have the indefensible power to emancipate themselves, and thus the reader, with their bravery and well-chosen words—a  singular, yet shared, freedom of being truly beholden to no one, and nothing, except their soul that calls to them.”

Did his words speak to you, move you as a writer?

 

Redefining Success

When you think of the word “success,”  what words or images come to your mind?

I envisioned a successful person as one who has climbed the corporate ladder and landed an executive position; or a writer who has her work published in a well-known literary journal.

Is this the kind of success I want for myself?  This is what the world wants me to believe, and by accepting this stance, I’m a complete failure.

Why?

Because I had recently dropped out of the working world to be a full-time parent (as well as for health reasons).  And, because I’ve only been able to have my writings published in anything by literary journals.

So, do these all mean that I am a total reject as a person and as a writer?

No, I don’t believe so.  And I refuse to believe that!

I’m currently participating in a writing retreat called Retreat for the Writer’s Soul

Retreat for the Writer's Soul

Yesterday we worked on redefining the word success by writing a poem after Ralph Emerson’s version of success.  Here’s Emerson’s:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Here was my response and poem:

Wow…this task was an eye-opening experience for me. I adopted some of Emerson’s views of success as they spoke true for me.

To laugh often and much

To discover new kindred spirits and establish deep connection with fellow peers

To continuously adapt to changes no matter how difficult and accept my disabilities as strengths rather than weaknesses

To appreciate the simplicity of life; to find the best in others;

To accept people for who they are no matter how different they may be or what kind of a past they had

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived (love this one!)

This is to have succeeded
In the past, I’ve always considered being successful as to having a career where you’ve been promoted to high positions, or earned higher income each year. Or, in the writing world, having published in high profiled magazines/ezines/journals (namely the literary kinds). When I recently left the work force to stay home full time as a mom because I could no longer hold a full time job due to my failing eyesight, I felt like a complete failure. But, by doing this task, this feeling has changed. Thank you! I don’t feel quite so terrible now! 🙂

Now, it is your turn!