It feels a bit counter-intuitive to be writing a blog post when I should be busily working my tail off on my Kickstarter project for this summer’s writing journey. I’ve made considerable headway on it, with the gracious assistance of a few friends who have offered feedback (thank you thank you, Carolyn R, Joshua N, Kelly S, Liag Z, Loma H, Norm K, Sam D, Susan A, Vincent R, and a few others who will provide feedback when they have time- sweet, beloved angels of generosity).
I can see the threshold clearly. The Kickstarter project will most likely be live in a week or maybe less. I still need to film a video of myself, which will most likely happen today, and continue editing and polishing, but the bones of the project are all there.
My mind has spontaneously decided, independent of my will, to start putting flesh on the bones. No, no! Cut it out! I hear myself snap. Let me finish this Kickstarter thing! Goddamnit, let me do things in an orderly, rational way for once! But it’s too late. My mind has already taken off down the road of remembrance, the freeways of future dreams, marveling and bleeding and laughing at the intersections of memoirs written and unwritten.
The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say,
but what we are unable to say.
This is where my mind travels. Not to getting the word out on social media (although I will certainly have to do that) nor to trip logistics (which also needs to happen) but to What is it that I need to say? How can I say it? What can’t I say? I will never be able to read anyone’s life story without wondering What was left out? How much did it hurt to leave it out? And I wonder to myself, What will I leave out? How much will it hurt me? What will I say that others are unable to say, and will it hurt anyone else, or perhaps save someone a little bit?
My commitment to myself is that I will write without fetters; I will diligently knock down the walls of self-censorship, maze-like and persistent and heavily conditioned into me. It doesn’t mean I can share absolutely everything I write or think or experience. I can’t. What I can do, though, is gauge my obligations carefully, tenderly, my safety, others’ safety, and still take considered risks in writing and in living.
Without taking the risks of disclosure, exploration, and vulnerability, there is a greater risk to run: the risk of a life lived numbly, fearfully, with growth stunted and the potential for connection severed. I have looked that greater risk in the eyes and seen the proliferation of ice and metal boxes and an oozing toxicity. It’s not a risk I’m willing to take anymore.
There are other words to live by.
Henry David Thoreau
Loves, I want us to live.