From a writer’s perspective, sending our thoughts and stories out to be read can be a life changer. At the very least it represents a turning point, dramatic or not. Readers may or may not be altered by what the writer has shared.
But the writer will be, for what we share becomes more alive, more real and tangible. We have committed ourselves to some idea, some knowing or experience. We have claimed it as our own.
Once out, we can’t take it back.
We might send out a group email, or publish a book that shares our experiences and stories with the world. This email or book may be read by only a few, or thousands may read our words. But we are now out in the larger world in another form—in print.
Even if what we write is only a letter to a friend, or a brief blog post, we are still exposing ourselves. We have acknowledged something publically that perhaps for years (or lifetimes), was tucked away in some part of our inner landscape. For me, it is this self–acknowledgement that makes what we share a life changer.
If you are the writer, you may find yourself reading what you have shared over and over for a further clue to what in this piece is so meaningful to you. What did motivate you to send it? (Likely there are clues in there somewhere.)
What we send out sometimes challenges the narratives we have been relying on in our day-to-day life. We may be living one part of our life vicariously through our writing. In fact, many an author of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction can find themselves “living” more than one life. In some cases this makes for a divided life (as Parker J. Palmer writes about in A Hidden Wholeness). For others, it makes for a multiple-storied life.
And sometimes it is our secret soul who pushes the send button.
After that, we live our life having sent out a piece of ourselves—probably our truest self. At least for me this is so.
And we risk either way. By keeping silent or hidden we risk living a lie and possibly destroying ourselves from within. On the other hand, sending our truth out there risks embarrassment and unintended consequences.
Now I have reached the end of this blog. I read it over. Should I hit the “Publish” button or not?
“Twenty years ago, during a summer teaching stint in England, I picked up a small volume of poetry in a Cambridge bookstore. In it was a haunting little poem by D.M. Thomas called ‘Stone,’ which I copied and put into my briefcase, where it can be found to this day. Thomas muses on the titles of a series of books that ‘the poet’ will write over his or her lifetime and ends with these lines:
There is also the seventh book, perhaps, the seventh,
And called The Seventh Book because it is not published,
The one that a child thinks he could have written,
Made of the firmest stone and clearest leave,
That a people keep alive by, keep alive.”
—Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness
For more on living life in the open you may want to check out my book: The Zero Point Agreement: How to Be Who You Already Are. (I’m still reading it for clues.)
The final 2016 writers’ retreat is Friday October 7th. We end with a sharing circle (optional of course).
And a wonderful offering by another teacher, Santikaro: Taking the Teachings Home. Starts Thursday September 8th at Healing Services on the River.