I woke up this morning to a wonderful post from my friend Pauline Campos (Aspiring Mama). Here is what she said: “It takes an indescribable talent to take horrific childhood memories and turn them into beautiful testaments of strength and character. That’s what Sarah does with her breath-taking essays. Sarah is an amazingly gifted writer who also dabbles in poetry and fiction. I’m honored to know her.”
Wow! What Pauline doesn’t know is that I have struggled with my writing for some time now. I started writing as a way to release the stories that have weighed me down, the stories that run through my veins and leave me paralyzed, the stories that play out again and again as nightmares when I’m brave enough to close my eyes. I found a way to make the ugly look pretty on the page. As I began to find relief through writing, I wanted to share what I had been through with others. I wanted to connect with those who have been through what I have and open the eyes of those who have not.
It all began that way, but somehow I lost my way. I got caught up in the idea of being published and trying to get people to like me. I was physically ill for days before my essays were critiqued in my MFA classes. I began to write my essays in a way I thought the other students or my professor would want them. I pulled all the essays I had posted on my blog, because if they were on my blog they could no longer be published in literary journals. Things I desperately wanted to share with the world sit untouched, unseen, in easily forgotten computer files. I finally did get an essay published and the excitement didn’t last very long. My essay, something I wanted to share with everyone, was published in a literary journal that most people will never read AND they spelled my name wrong. Then, I just quit writing altogether.
I had an AHA moment when I read Pauline’s post. She has read many of my essays, but I thought: how will anyone else read them? She has given me the highest of praise, something I can read and be so grateful for and inspired by, but how will anyone else know what she is talking about if my essays are tied up for months at a time waiting for an editor to finally say “yes, they are worthy?” I realized I don’t want to keep my writing hidden or in limbo anymore. I don’t care if it cannot be published in a literary journal if it’s posted on my blog. I want you to actually get to read what I write. I don’t want to talk about the writing process; I want you to be able to read the final product. I want my work to be easily accessible. I want to return back to where I started: sharing my nightmare with others so they know they are not alone; bringing awareness to those who have no idea what it’s like for someone like me to walk in this world so damaged and broken. I want to return to the place where the blank page was my friend, a canvas for me to create a new life and heal the past. I don’t want to be afraid of the page anymore. I want to love it again.
So, I’ve made the decision to start posting my essays on my blog again. I envision it as weekly postings, but categorized under memoir so that you can come back and read through them when you like. I don’t need to be a famous author. I only need to share my work in hopes that it will change someone’s life; that someone will read it and not feel so alone; that someone will read it and say AHA! I am returning to the me who loves to make art on the page; the me that doesn’t give a damn if my writing is perfect or publishable. The me that actually writes.
Thank you, Pauline, for the wake up call, for the push in the right direction, for your belief in me as a writer…