Two novels, completely fiction, on subjects I care deeply about and with make-believe characters that felt real to me.
I tried because it was just too soon to write about the road trip, about real people I met, about love and other highs and lows. In a place of peace now, I didn’t want to revisit either the joys or the hurts of recent years, because one thing wouldn’t exist without the other.
The most painful parts of Elephant Girl: A Human Story were decades behind me when I wrote about them and yet there was still a rawness to writing about them that left me feeling ripped open on some days, with nowhere to go for relief.
I fear delving into pain again, even though I’ve got a serene little cottage and wonderful friends now.
I fear causing anyone I know to feel slighted or hurt. I know that the only truth I can capture is my own and not theirs, but when it comes to a story everyone looks for their own self-reflection.
I fear disappointing people who have their own expectations of what my trip, my choices, my thoughts and my feelings should have been.
I fear that no matter how I write it, this book will be pigeon-holed as a “gay” story. I’ve never aspired to be a “gay writer”, just one who writes truthful stories that might also hold meaning for other people — all kinds of people, not just women who love women.
I fear I’ll write a story few people will ever read. I fear that I’ll write one that will be read by the wrong people for the wrong reasons.
I fear going through the process of submission again. I fear being rejected on platform, on length, or on the difficulty of selling a memoir. I fear getting my hopes up, getting my hopes dashed, and false hopes. I fear self-publishing again.
I fear that I won’t finish what I start. I fear that I will, only to find that it wasn’t worth the effort.
I fear that I’m not steady enough, objective enough, far away enough. I fear the strength of my own emotions and my ability to remain focused in times of emotional upheaval. I fear money, resources, and unexpected disasters.
I fear getting obsessed. Tunnel vision, alienation, 24 hour writing sessions, sleeplessness, headaches, toothaches, hunger, and running out of coffee. I fear that no one will be there for me on that night when I finally write, “The End”.
What I don’t fear is overcoming fear. I’ve done this before. I’ve pushed, kicked, self-talked, negotiated and meditated myself through this kind of block before. I know from experience that when holding onto fear becomes more uncomfortable than fighting it, changes occur and they’re never as hard in reality as they are in the consuming space of worry and anxiety.