Why are writers so afraid? Well maybe I should just speak for myself, even though I know I’m not the only one. My journey as a writer began in Lancaster, Texas in seventh grade. A few of us were talking to our home room teacher before the bell rang for the period to begin and he asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I don’t remember what the others said. I didn’t really know what I wanted to be, but I thought, well I really like to read, so I said, writer. I actually said (thinking I was funny), “Well it requires a pen.” The teacher looked at me and he said, “What does that mean?” So then I said, “I want to be a writer.” His response was, “Wouldn’t that require a typewriter?” So then I just felt stupid…as usual.
I really answered writer because I thought it was my only option. At the time, I was convinced that I had no talent for science or math. My original dream was to be a jockey because I wanted a job that involved being around horses. I grew too tall, though. For a brief amount of time, I thought I could be a horse trainer, but there were no horses to train in the apartment complex where we lived. All my knowledge of horse related jobs came from Walter Farley’s, Black Stallion series of books. So…writing seemed like a reasonable alternative to the jockey/horse trainer dream.
In spite of being embarrassed regarding the pen vs. typewriter debate, I let the idea of becoming a writer gestate inside my brain. I had written a couple of stories in elementary school. One was about fishes (although my mother said that it’s incorrect to write fishes since fish is both singular and plural. I later found out that I was correct because there were different species of fish in the story.), the other was in the Greek mythology genre. I don’t remember what either story was about.
So, a few days, a week or maybe a month later, I say to my mother that I want to be a writer. She responds, “You can’t be a writer. You don’t know anything.”
Well, as you can imagine, I didn’t write stories for many years. Why would I? I didn’t know typewriters were necessary for writing and in fact, I didn’t know anything at all. So, I spent the next several years reading a lot of books, watching a lot of TV, and not writing at all.
So, fast forward to now. All that happened fortyish years ago, but it still sticks with me. I’ve had a couple of horror stories published; one with Kandisha Press and the other in the Sirens Call eZine. So you would thing that would make me believe I am actually a writer. It did for a minute, but then the fear sets in again. A lot of writers say the voices in their head stop them from creating. But for me, it’s not imaginary. My own mother said, “You can’t be a writer. You don’t know anything.” That kind of thing sticks with a person. Your mother is supposed to be the person who loves you most and believes in you more than anyone else in the universe.
A lot of shitty stuff happened in my childhood and I’ve been told by many people that I should write about that. But, I don’t want to. I want to be creative and original, not rehash old garbage. I’m just touching on it in this post, because I’m trying to shake off my chains. I haven’t written in months. I am drowning in depression. I think that when creative people don’t create, that lack of release turns inward and poisons our bodies and souls.
Maybe I don’t know anything, but I’m going to write anyway.