Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Monster at the Window

This cartoon has me thinking about our fears. How much those fears can hold us back. Fear can take the disguise of other emotions—it can come out as anger, or depression, or timidity, or it hides itself as other maladies that make us feel less than we are, or even physically ill as we seep into negativity or panic.

Sometimes the monster tapping on the window is our imagination, and sometimes it really is what it seems to be—a snarly monster. There’s no way in life to get around Monsters, unless you hide in bed, live in a glass bubble, never take chances, or lead a very charmed (and unnatural?) life.

I think about my fears, and how those fears have held me back from things in the past. How I let my writing languish for years and years—it wasn’t until my forties that I began writing seriously again; my first novel wasn’t published until I was 52. I’m less likely to hide from the monster tapping at my window now, and I don’t know if that’s come with my age, or things that have happened (or not happened) in my life, or all of those things.

That fear-monster can tap tap tap at my window, and I can cower under my bedcovers, or I can rise, open the window, and face it head on—sometimes in facing the monster it runs away, a big silly bully. Other times, the fear-monster roars at me, its sour breath rushing up against me, repelling me. And then there are the times I open that window and what seemed huge and scary was nothing more than a branch against the window after all.

As a writer, I struggle with putting myself out there for all of you to see. When you read my novel(s) or stories or essays, or even my blog posts, you are allowed a glimpse into something deep inside me, even in my fiction there are hidden truths that reveal who I am, my experiences, my guts on a plate. How vulnerable it is to be a writer and have your words out into the winds, scattered here there and yonder, to have people judge them and thus judge you. But despite all that, I do it again, and again, and again. I send out my words and hope for the best. I open the window and face the monster every time I write something and then send it out into the big wide old world. I can and I will be rejected--it's all a part of it and I have to accept that or else the altnative is to hide myself and my words away.

If we write (or do anything else) in a vacuum, we are not Living, we are only Being. We are not Experiencing life, but letting it pass us by as we watch, peeking out from beneath our covers. Sometimes taking risks or chances or facing our fears leads to bad things; well, I’m up for taking the chance anyway, because sometimes it does not, or the “bad thing” leads me on another “good thing.”

I know with each novel or story I write I set myself up for someone somewhere to dislike my words or hate who I am or scoff at my writing or think I could do better or wish I’d have written something else or it's not for them or fill in the negative blanks; however, I am who I am; I am who I write, I write who I am—and, in the midst of it all, there are the letters, emails, phone calls, comments that make me blink with surprise and delight—to touch another human being with your words is, simply said, one of the greatest feelings ever, a joy, a measure of success, a beautiful light of trust. I write for You, I write for Me, I write for no one and everyone, and every day I open the window and face the monster scratching at my window—I never know which monster will face me, or if it is only that little twig that sways in the wind, but I hold my breath, lift the window, lean forward, and wait for what will come.

Are you facing your fears? or letting them hold you back?



Ashley from Metairie, Louisiana won the Community Coffee Give Away . . . Congrats, Ashley! Community Coffee will speed your gift on to you.

Jay from Bite & Booze was so so very close, that I told him I'd send him something myself, so, Jay - I'll have you something (coffee and something from my mountain cove) soon.

Thank you everyone - this was fun!


Terri Tiffany said...

I really enjoyed this post as you let us peak in a little to who yo are. I didn't think you were a person who had those kind of writing fears. You seem very confident and strong:)
But me on the other hand have had a real battle with that monster at the window--but hopefully I am winning!

Waterfall said...

What a great post! My writing fears are having to deal with the public. I would seriously love to be a ghost writer who could write all the time, get paid for it, and not have to have my name out there. I wonder, do ghost writers fear monsters? Or are monsters scared of the ghosts? :)

T. Anne said...

What a powerful post! I def. have my monsters. By and large I ignore them but on occasion they attack and send me back ten paces. I hate that.

Jessica said...

Great post Kathryn! So, so true. Guts on a plate... I loved that line.

Janna Qualman said...

I'm trying to face them, more than ever before. I admit, I've had an easy time, but I want to seek the tougher stuff, because that's how I'll grow.

Loved the cartoon.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sheila Deeth said...

I saw that cartoon in the paper - set me thinking in the same direction.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Great post! It was surprising for me to see you talking about writing fears, especially today, as I just finished reading Tender Graces. *huge smile*

Having read your writing in your posts for a while now, I knew that I was going to like TG before I even picked it up. But I'm fair blown away by just how profoundly your characters and storytelling touched me.

You are one phenomenal writer Kat!

smiles4u said...

You never cease to amaze me dear Kat. I think I am going to have to print out this post so that I can keep reading it over and over again. I am trying to face my monsters. I don't let them win but sometimes they scare shit out of me and all I want to do is hide.

Kat, your really are amazing. You inspire me beyond words. Thank you. Thank you for blessing me with your goodness and your way with words. Blessings to you and yours. XXOO Lori

Sandra Leigh said...

Okay, Kat. This Thursday, I really am going to read one of my poems at WordStorm. That's Step 1 in my Face the Monsters challenge, right? No, it isn't! Actually, it's Step 2. Step 1 was NaNoWriMo, which I just finished. Ta-da!

Great post, as always. Thank you for your inspiring words.

Deb Shucka said...

Thank you for sharing this post. I think fear is part of the package - it's what we learn to do with it that makes the difference. And that starts with identifying it, naming it, and then not letting it stop us.