I won’t lie. Writing a book is hard. It’s often a slog, a get up, type words, hate words, type more words, go to sleep kind of slog.
But sometimes… oh yes sometimes… it’s bone-deep, flesh-thick love.
And happy, surprisingly happy.
I’ve written elsewhere about the pain and loss that went into the writing of my debut novel THE WAY BACK FROM BROKEN. Long ago when I took the first chapters to my critique group, Viva Scriva, Nicole asked me if I was ready to dig into such personal and painful material.
I was ready but that didn’t make it easy.
There was much heartbreak along the way.
This week I spoke with my editor, Andrew Karre, about his editorial notes. Today, I dove into yet another revision. What I found was joy. I am reading back through this sad sad story and feeling elated that so much of it is right and real. (Yes, I am singing One Song Glory from RENT in my head right now.) As I dive deep into each sentence and every word, I have to opportunity to make this story even more true.
I have done one good thing.
That is enough.
Voice is connection.
Voice is speaking our own truth.
Voice is the driver of our narratives.
After being raped, Maya Angelou didn’t speak for years. In an interview with Terry Gross, she told how she found her voice so she could love poetry.
The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign blew up the internet because stories are the most profound way for us to connect across differences. We need to hear the voices of those who experience life outside of our own private bubbles.
My son overheard a friend making a comment, presumably in jest, about killing himself. He could have brushed off the throwaway comment, but instead he came to his parents. And we went to the boy’s parents. And the boy is still mad.
The recent attack in California and its anti-woman underpinnings have prompted many women to speak out about the sexism they face every day.
The imperative is to find it and use it.
Use it big and use it small.
Never go mute.
Yesterday, a writer friend and I were leaving a restaurant and our very young male server said, “Thanks, Girls.”
We paused at the door, looking at each other. “Did he just call us girls?”
We laughed and walked out. The easy thing. But I wish I’d turned around and gently, very gently, reminded him about respect. It would have been a small thing. A small response for a small ignorance.
But I would have used my voice.
And he might have faced the world differently from then on.