The Unfolding

Forest path The Unfolding

It is easy to give up on dreams that have not fashioned themselves into clear images. The vagueness of my dreams was a deterrent and I walked around that foggy patch in my pathway for years though I could sense that a part of me lived within that fog. I kept coming upon it as I traveled. I knew that within the fog was writing, so I wrote. I wrote personal essays, fiction, and completed a novel. Some of it was publishable and was published. My novel still sits within a drawer and though with a lot more work I believe it could be made publishable, I have lost my desire to see it published. Or I should say, I have lost the desire to do the work to make it publishable and then to do the work to get it published. The time I put toward writing was consumed by other interest and I felt myself begin to leave the relationship I had developed with my writing.

About that time, two men came into my life, on the surface in a inconsequential fashion. Both men had mentioned to me, after they heard about my writing, that they too had once written. Both men had given up entirely on their writing and I knew without a word of confirmation from them that they had given up on a dream. Deep within our short interaction, a haunting fear embedded itself into my relationship to my writing.

I shuddered as they spoke because I knew I was about to abandon my writing. It had all become too painful. There were so many books out there. The publishing world had changed drastically with the publishing houses promoting a few of their golden children and leaving the rest to market themselves. If a writer could sell five thousand copies on her own, then maybe the house would get behind the book. Writers have to be willing to write the book, promote the book and hope that their second or third books make enough money to live on.

I was born into a culture that views the arts solely as a way to make money. If you sing, write, or paint, the question or statement quickly turns to what will be DONE with that talent as there is money to be HAD. Go to Nashville, get published, have a money-making art show as this is the true path of an artist. It took me years to untangle my culture’s view of writing and publishing in order to examine my relationship to my writing. But this examination was par with all my other hard-looks at what truths I had unquestionably accepted from my culture without my authentic self having an opinion on the matter. I was frightened by what I might find. I was peering into the fog of my dream and I was not certain I would discover a need to write or a need to be validated as a person.

Motives are tricky and I did not want to pursue a dream if that dream was about finding something outside myself to fill up the inside of me. I had already been down that road for a great portion of my life and had learned that those outside gains are short-lived and a heavy price is to be paid in their attainment. If I was going to go after a dream, then at least let it be real. So I discovered, much to my relief that getting published is nice, I love seeing my name in print as a validation of my talents, but it is not why I write. So some of the fog cleared with this self-realization and I was closer then to claiming a me that had a dream to be a writer no matter the outcome of my writing. In this scary peering into my intentions another step was taken back into the authentic path of myself. As it turns out, my dream to write is a real desire and a part of my dream and not a way to placate a damaged self or offer sacrifices to ego-god.

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