Sunday, February 12, 2006

What Are You Afraid of?

Finally back to blogging after a work-induced hiatus. The heading of this post comes from an excellent new book of short stories by my good friend Michael Hyde. It occurred to me last night after reading a chapter on "Putting Fear to Work" from Ralph Keyes's The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear that this would make a great writing prompt. As Keyes points out, fear is a source of tension, energy, urgency that can bring you close to the heart of your writing.

So I tried it. There are so many things I am afraid of, many of them specifically related to writing. As I embark on this memoir project, putting my toes in the water, I am filled with fear. I am afraid I won't measure up in prose, having concentrated so much on poetry. I'm afraid I won't be able to do justice to my experience in the writing. I'm afraid I won't have enough time and energy to really make it work. I'm afraid of what people will think if I write how I really feel about Stella's disability, and all the issues it brings up. And I suppose I'm afraid it won't matter to enough readers, or matter enough to readers, or whatever.

Well, I suppose the only way to deal with all of this is to "Write it!" (like disaster, says Elizabeth Bishop).

What are you afraid of?


Emily Lloyd said...

Honey, this is just to say--I am really excited about your memoir project. Maybe having these questions and fears up front, not just barging in, will focus rather than paralyze you; I hope so. I am sure it will matter enough to people, and matter to enough people--and that many people will benefit from hearing how you feel about Stella's disability. I am sure of these things.

Amy said...

Thank you so much, Em, for your encouragement. (For some reason, I couldn't access the comment earlier today) Your sureness and telling me this helps me start to feel sure. It flickers on and off, you know? This is such a boost. Hope I can do the same for you, grlfrien' xo

UNSURE said...

Good to see blogs about writing. Interesting stuff