Because I apparently talk about it more than I actually do.
I don’t read my writing and think: This is brilliant. I write so pretty. People will like this. I will get many ‘likes’ on this one. Must post.
When I read my writing, I try very much to extract myself and my life experiences from my brain so I can experience the sentences as new, as though I was not just intimately involved in creating them.
If it still makes sense when I’m done reading, then I’ll post it.
When people reply, good or bad, my first thought is always the same: I can’t believe they read it!
The words that I exchange with people are my most intimate offering.
Here, take my thoughts, I put them into letters for you.
Here is the energy my brain produced, right here in black and white, for you.
When people say they like what I write it makes me think maybe I should get better. Maybe I should consider having something better worth saying. Maybe more people will read then. I don’t know why ‘more’ is necessarily important. It isn’t. The emails and comments from strangers reaching out are more meaningful than sheer exposure… or anything else, really.
Now, this fear.
The fear that wakes me up at night, when I’m not dreaming of Conan O’Brien or of Coppola running away (not from Conan, just in general) is this: What if I convince everyone to read what I write only to find I don’t have anything worth saying?
What if I have this pretty packaging with flowery words and insinuated depth but… inside it’s just empty.
What if when you’re done reading this book that I’ve labored over (but will never tell you how much) nothing has changed? I haven’t changed. You haven’t changed. Nothing was changed but the color of the page.
In the last few weeks, I’ve had a series of moments when my words didn’t get me what I wanted. What I want is always the same: to be understood.
I was helping someone with their step work, we were dripping in fears. My tooth ached, my dogs bony butt was digging painfully into my lap as he sporadically yelped, my hair wasn’t brushed, and my writing fears came to life. She was flooded with images she didn’t have to put into words for me to feel the impact of. The fear machines were alive and well in us both.
And so it began…
If my writing isn’t read, it isn’t read. I don’t exist.
If my writing is read, and considered ‘good’ then maybe someone understands me now. I can exist.
If my writing is read, someone expects to read something good, but they walk away not knowing why they just spent five minutes reading empty words, that would be tragic. I’d rather not exist.
But words, they are only always just words.
And really, who wants to be understood?