“Get your short story published: it’s good.”
As a writer (welp!), this kind of recognition hits me in the guts. As cliché as it sounds, I missed a breath and a couple heartbeats when this was first said to me. Showing someone your writing means going against any and all survival instinct. It is one of the most counter-intuitive things I’ve ever done. It is the kind of trust that gives me anxiety in a flurry of a thousand questions, like furious wasps released and attacking all at once.
“What if she doesn’t get it?”
“What if she doesn’t like it?”
“What if it actually makes no sense?”
“What if she laughs at it?”
“What if it’s so bad she can’t bring herself to tell me?”
How can anyone reasonably lay out their heart like that? How is it not madness to cut open your chest and let someone else rummage in it? How can you let a stranger into your home, how can you allow them to touch your things, to play your memories when they have no idea how precious they are?
How can you trust someone else to understand who you are?
“If all goes well,” I comfort my trembling inner self, “She’ll tell me it needs a whole lot of rewriting, but.”
But it holds a glimmer of promise.
But it could be good, one day.
But, it has something.
And then, this.
My inner child is SQUEALING. She’s dancing about, going breathless, twisting muscles and not caring. Actually, that’s just present-day me.
I am always in doubt of my ability as a writer. Most days, I feel I haven’t even grasped the basics. English is not even my first language; my French is not always elegant, either. I feel a bit like a fraud. Like I’m making myself out to be more than I really am. I’m calling myself a writer now. What next, introducing myself as an artist, a “creative”?
But this, it’s like a push in the right direction. It’s like someone telling me: “Why are you walking down this path when you should be running along? Give it a try. Don’t hold yourself back. You have what it takes.”
I really want to do that. To try. And I want to believe I can reach somewhere with it. I’m not looking to create an empire or to become famous. But as J.K. Rowling so truthfully put it:
“I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.”
And could I ever ask for more? That is all there is to it: to try the best I can with what I have. Everything else is secondary.