Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Keep Going

I dreamed I was Anne Lamott the other night. When I woke up I began analyzing all the little layers of my dream – my ego said, you have that kind of talent and my brain said, keep writing and you will get to where she is and the student in me said, oh, she is the greatest, you have so much to learn. The thing about Anne Lamott (besides being a truly beautiful writer) is that she tells the truth – whether fiction, memoir, her guides for writers or essays – she shares the truth of her experience. It is her truth to be sure, not the kind of truth whose existence is argued in graduate schools the world over, but her experience – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I think the net-net of my dream is that I want to tell the truth, my truth. So I have been writing things I want to tell you. One, read Anne Lamott. Two, if you want to be a writer read Bird by Bird. Three, everything you need to know (or have!) will come to you. (Ok, this is the one I keep telling myself as I look for work writing! or editing! or acting?!) Four, keep writing. Five, see Four. Six through Nine, see Four and Five.

Because I have been doing Four through Nine, I recently decided to have a go at number Ten and I started looking around to where I could send certain pieces. Salon seemed an obvious place, so I took their advice on the submission page and started to familiarize myself with their content. Was my piece better suited to Love & Sex or to Life? The day I decided to explore the Life section a perfectly serviceable piece about catching the Bubonic Plague had been posted. It was written in “good writer’s voice” with touch of “wowwee!” because how many of us get the plague nowadays? And because I was not satisfied I decided to keep clicking and that’s when I came upon this. Emily Rapp’s piece is not “good writer’s voice” it’s “great writer’s voice.” It tells the truth, her truth and takes you on the full-circle emotional journey of grief and growth, understanding and our own delicate and aching humanness. I think a few years ago I would have tossed my piece in the trash and said, ‘Well, nice try.’ Now I am focusing on my truth and sharing it with you.

Does my piece fit the Life section? I think yes, it is on a different scale, but it does. Think sweet and breezy – and it also touches on grief and growth, understanding and our own delicate and aching humanness. So, ok, I’ll keep going. I’ll keep doing what I am doing, being and writing. I’ll write to the level of the raised bar as often as I can. I’ll keep finding things and sharing them with you. I have some dreams, they keep telling me things – and I’ll keep telling you.

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