I’m trying to finish an essay about not writing. (And by trying, I mean printing out a draft and then leaving it untouched for nearly three weeks now. )
The essay started as an assignment for an online writing class I took earlier this year. I uploaded the work for class discussion, believing I was writing about family relationships.
The instructor pointed out how the essay was about something I hadn’t considered – about not writing, and the unconscious blocks we put up to keep us not writing, and, ultimately, the importance of taking down those blocks – one by one.
Here’s a quick excerpt that will probably end up on the proverbial cutting room floor:
This is the part of the story I don’t know how to tell. I want to control how you feel about it. I want to soften the blow of what I’m trying to explain. I want to tell what happened to me without sharing any details.
Anne Lamotte says memoirist get to own what happened to them. That if people wanted you to only write nice things about them, they should have treated you better. My therapist would say I can’t control my family’s reactions. Or yours.
The quote that keeps coming up for me is from David Sedaris: “If you read someone else’s diary, you get what you deserve.”
Writing is scary.
In these 225 words, I tip-toe around delicate family themes. I mention my therapist.
I admit I want to tell you what happened, clearly breaking the cardinal rule of most every family – telling the stories our loved ones preferred stayed sealed in plastic and hidden under the old blankets and extra linens in the back of the closet.
It occurs to me all the layers here – me writing a blog post about not finishing an essay about not writing. It’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery…hidden in the back of a closet. But so goes writing.