I struggled with that title. Was it right? Should I choose a different word? Did frank convey what I wanted it to convey, or was honest the way to go?
I struggled with that title much in the same way as I have recently been struggling with my writing. If you don’t write, you might think a writer comes up with a brilliant idea on his lunch break, runs home to jot down his words, and soon a beautiful butterfly of a story has erupted into the world via his typewriter cocoon.
Not true. Much more must happen for Reader to receive Writer’s prose. For one thing, Writer must tell his inner Editor to shut the heck up.
Inner Editor is scared. People won’t get this story, he argues. Sometimes, he has a point. But most times he’s just in his default setting. Freaked out. Inner Editor is used to rejection. Inner Editor expects rejection.
Inner Editor is kind of a bastard because of rejection. Let me put it this way. He’s the kind of guy who’d invite you to Outback Steakhouse and then let you pay the bill. Yeah, he’s that guy.
The obvious question is what could freak out an inner-editor? For me, the answer is simple: Not being understood. Inner Editor wants everything to be clear and relatable, for every word to have a place and a purpose.
I write fiction. And yet, I find I write best when I can attach some emotional honesty to the character, the setting of the story, or the piece in general. An element of truth. What am I trying to say here? I often ask myself mid-sentence. Mid-two-finger-type. (I type with two fingers, so…) This is when Inner Editor starts in on me.
I knew from an early age writing was my “thing”. We all have a “thing”. Our thing. For you accountants, maybe it’s number-crunching. For you athletes, maybe you’ve got an insane vertical leap. Maybe you haven’t discovered your “thing” yet, and that’s okay, too. But I knew writing was mine, and I also felt a deep responsibility. Not everyone who has palsy like I do is blessed with the ability to articulate their thoughts and feelings. As a kid, I was the well-spoken boy with palsy. Then I became the well-spoken writer with palsy. Who threw in his sarcasm as both a show of a sense of humor and a defense mechanism. Say what you want about the way I write. Say what you want about what I say in my writing, or my sentence-structure, or my poems. If you don’t like something, that won’t hurt me, because I’m quick-witted.
Tonight, I came to a realization.
I first acknowledged it when I acknowledged that my Inner Editor is kind of a bastard.
I am in a really good place in my life. One that I didn’t always think I’d get to. I have people around me who appreciate me. A novel that tells a story I need to tell.
And, most important. it’s okay for me to write for me.
I don’t need to write stories for people with palsy, or about people with palsy. Hopefully, I am now telling stories about people, some of whom have palsy.
Palsy is a part of who I am. It is not who I am.
Writing is what I do. It’s my “thing”. I’ve done it for years. I know how to do it.
So, oh dear Inner Editor of mine, take a hike until I need you. When it’s time for revisions, I’ll let you know. And the next time we go out to the Outback, it’s on you.
Are we clear?