Friday, September 3, 2010

Truly, Madly, Deeply

“Sometimes, in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in reverie.”  ~Henry David Thoreau
I’ve always been this way. I’ve tried not being myself, by way of medication or force or both, but it never takes. I suppose it’s my soul’s way of adjusting for all the anxiety and fear I feel at moments like this one: I’m up at 4:27 am feeling excited and scared and everything in-between.
I’ve waited for this moment since I was 8 years old. When asked by a panel of judges for The Young Georgia Writers' Association, what I wanted to be when I grew up, I stated that “I don’t want to be anything. I'm a writer.” As if it were a state of being and not a profession and for the record, I recall being quite offended that they would even ask such a ridiculous question. 
Perhaps it is
Maybe I understood better then, in my childhood innocence, to providently place that niggling feeling in my gut somewhere nice and secure—say, the identity portion of my psyche. That way, it is a fixed, immovable thing. I think it explains an awful lot about me.
As authors, we have to know what it’s like to be in other people’s shoes. This means that we are always, at any given moment, apt to consider the very worst possibility in all scenarios. Not only is this the case, we are also forced to contemplate how it would feel to be in those circumstances, nevermind that most of what we imagine will never come to pass. This can naturally leave some of us feeling positively out of our minds at times. Or is it that unlike the vast majority of anxious individuals, we’re actually more in our right minds at that moment than we’ve ever been? This reminds me of something a dear writing friend said in response to a statement made by me with regard to fearing failure more now that I’ve been given a book deal, than before: “What if what feels like fear of failure is really a cover for the fear of success, for the fear of manifesting who you truly, deeply, madly know you are?” ~Ien Nivens.
And aren’t all good authors a little mad at the end of the day? He’s right really, perhaps more than even he realizes. It all centers around exposure and being found unworthy or led to feel less than. There is always the average fear of receiving bad reviews and so forth, but this goes a little deeper than that. It isn’t so much a pride issue as it is a personal one.
I fear being found out...
I need to access that inner 8 year old, that brave little soul that marched into a room full of adults and told them exactly how the world would run once I’d taken over.
So today, when the sun finally rises, I’m going to make it a point to do what I’ve done all along, what has always given birth to my stories and characters—I’m going to sit in a doorway with the sun on my face from daybreak till noon, rapt in reverie, getting to know who I must truly, madly, deeply be


  1. You always write essays that see directly into the heart of the matter. Writing is so intensely personal, that success, and the exposure it brings, is as fearful as failure.

  2. This is the essence of who we are as writers. Truly, madly and, of course, deeply.

    Julie Achterhoff
    Quantum Earth
    Deadly Lucidity

  3. Oh, how this post zinged right into me. Yes. Exactly.

  4. I'd like to think that I have come far enough as a writer that I'm not fearful of failure, but as I said, I'd like to think that.

  5. Doug, I fear everything...all the time. :(

    Just my nature. There isn't enough valium on the planet to give me peace of mind. This constant tension strengthens my storytelling, but makes for a sort of quasi-existence. Another double-edged sword...

  6. Oh, this piece touched me like I can't even explain. If your book contains 1% of this depth, it will be a hit and zoom to the top of my most-awesome list. As I've told you before, I know what it is to feel deeply, and I am in a constant state of fear about almost everything in my life, especially lately with Cinders being out.


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