As I’ve discussed before in other diatribes, I suffer from a pretty robust case of writer doubt and I don’t really have any answers about where it came from. I mean, when I was a child, you could not have talked me out of the idea that I was the Next Big Thing. It’s sort of stunning how massive my ego was when I was, say, eleven. Especially when I consider that by the second semester of my freshman year at ASU, I was swearing I’d given up writing fiction because I had no talent for it.
But I’m not here to engage in another one of those moment of self-pity over my uncertainties. Quite the opposite, in fact. This is one of those moments when the universe noticed that I was lost inside the struggle to recognize the relevance of my work, and gave me not just a pat on the back but a full hug.
And really, I’ve been complimented on my writing before. For some reason, it never seems to stick. Probably some element of me being unable to fully accept a reality that doesn’t originate within myself, and so as long as I maintain these doubts, they’ll keep springing up from the garden of my imagination no matter how many times I whack them down. This, though. What I’ve experienced this week. This has been something entirely new for me. I shared a deeply personal piece of writing with strangers, expecting to meet with the usual wall of apathy my work seems to provoke, but instead I have met with an almost overwhelming surge of love, recognition, and solidarity. Messages offering profound thanks that I had expressed feelings they’d been struggling to name in themselves. Telling me how I had moved them.
This. This is all I’ve ever wanted as a writer. People felt what I was saying. That it took feelings inspired by someone else’s character to produce this response isn’t even relevant. The relevant thing here is that I’ve never had this before, and I can’t find the words to express how grateful I am for the sense of connectedness I’ve been experiencing this week with the people who shared my writing with me.
What I’m trying to say is thank you.
I needed that.