An article appears in my inbox from a woman I don’t know but who belongs to a group to which I am a member.
The article is titled: Brevity, Sharing the AWP Love: Accumulated Wisdom Posts. Content – Memoir.
Wisdom and Memoir. They had me with those two words.
The link to the article is listed below in case you want to read it straight from the author’s key strokes. https://brevity.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/sharing-the-awp-love-accumulated-wisdom-posts/
Janice Gary sounds like a good writer, and I am particularly interested in her list of ‘accumulated wisdom,’ in relation to ‘memoir, personal narrative, and poetry’. She lists 19 wisdoms. The point of such posts is for us to choose what resonates, and then work on making ourselves prolific. I feel inspired by some, but none border on turning me into a Hemingway. Shame. I am listing the five posts that speak most intimately to me:
“Be vulnerable on the page…” This affects both in the words I read and the life I lead, vulnerability being that blessing and curse paradox. I find the feeling confusing, although I clearly get its power on paper and in life.
“Say one bold thing.” Indeed. While what is bold may be subjective, what is bold for the writer is not. Which matters because at least one person will respond to that bold expression. We make a difference one bold expression and one individual at a time.
“My story matters more than what anyone thinks of it.” A powerful and courageous statement about the worth of one’s work (maybe oneself) without the trappings of outward approval we artists crave. Though success can be viewed by the sheer number of people who like something, talk about it, buy it, ultimately we know artists who are ahead of their time, or behind it, or whose genius does not jive with societal norms and is therefore undervalued and underpromoted, if not condemned. Perhaps it is these artists we have the most to learn from.
“Be your full self unapologetically. A bold, complicated, and eminently special concept. Be your full self unapologetically. I see this as a mantra for working on who we want to be and how we choose to present ourselves, never about hurting or changing others. We humans are a judgmental group, and if what I read in the newspaper about people who are different is any indication of our tolerance level, we are in need of improvement. I have been working on ‘being my full self unapologetically’ my whole life, and I’m getting better.
“It’s just that hard every time. You have to start over and over again.” A definite true-ism. It’s just that hard. Every time. Unbelievable that we keep taking a go at it. The other side of this coin is that the call to write is that powerful, and enticing, that us writers cannot not take heed.Sometimes our writing is a reality check between our sensibilities and what we observe, and sometimes it is the pure desire to express, to feel unthwarted and free, honest and real.
A smart person once said: “If it were easy, everyone could do it.”