Picking up the pen again is easy. But believing that I have a story to tell, every day, is hard. Believing every day that I am still a writer is hard. Believing that I have a craft, and that I can do this, and that I will finish and put it out into the world, is hard.
My dear poet friend, Ryka Aoki, tells me that writing is my canary, a compass of sorts. If I am writing, I am well. If I am not, something is up. She reminds me that because I’m a poet, everything I do is a poem. When I’m at work, and a young person comes into my office and needs to talk, they’re asking me for a poem. I wouldn’t have survived my difficult work if I weren’t a poet, and so I need to remember and honor how that has helped me to survive. I am a poet, even when I don’t believe that I am.
I heard my narrator for the first time a couple days ago. I felt my story breathe a life of its own. For the first time, it wasn’t me that was telling a story, it was someone else, a spirit all its own. My memoir became a myth in that moment, and all the sudden I was free.
Free to write and let the words become what they need to be. Free to be the hand and the spirit that reveals the story, the story that is always, already there, waiting to be freed.
Thoughts aside, trusting the process. All of it will come. The structure, the character development, the themes, the pacing, the time, the landscape, the plot. All the threads are being woven together, not yet ready to be complete. But there will be a whole, soon, sooner than I think, and it will be beautiful.
Here’s to that beauty. Here’s to the process of revealing it.