A Path to Publication, pt 13: How self-absorbed are you?!

To bring about a paradigm shift in the culture that will change assumptions and attitudes, a critical number of us have to tell the stories of our personal revelations and transformations.

Jean Shinoda Bolen, Crossing to Avalon

I haven’t posted about my path to publication in a while because, well, last fall the path suddenly became a rut. I didn’t have the time or emotional ability to navigate that bumpy road at that time. But, as these things do, it hasn’t stopped nagging at me. Lately that voice has once again become too loud to ignore.

The question for me right now is: Do I stop everything else I’m doing, including pursuing other work, to dedicate my time to this memoir? It is so close to being finished (pre-revision finished, that is) it probably wouldn’t take too much concentrated time to complete it. But, as always, money and time are in limited quantities and I wonder if even the consideration of taking precious resources to work on a book is foolish.

Yes, the old fearful, imposter-syndrome, “who am I?” question has come into play. Why on earth do I think my story is so special that I have a right to spend anything on it?? Isn’t that kind of self-absorbed? Isn’t it just navel-gazing?

Well, here’s what my journal had to say about that last night:

If you are a good singer, you share your voice with others. If you are a talented cook, you feed others. You are a gifted teacher, you inspire others to learn. You have a story, you tell it.

I am a writer. A good writer, with a story to tell.

People respond to my writing. I have been given a gift. It is my gift back to share it.

I need my words to be read. I need to be heard.

And I have something to say. If it only resonated with one person, that’s reason enough to say it. Writing my story helped me to heal. Maybe it can help someone else too.

Humans are story-livers and givers. We relate, we learn, we empathize, we resonate, we make decisions, we change the world through story. It is my obligation to share mine.

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Sing From the Womb, 8

This is the eighth in a series of snippets from my memoir, Sing From the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search of Voice (formerly titled Writing Me Back to Mat(t)er).

Please let me know what resonates with you.

~~~

(From a dream when I was five.)

I sit staring into my desk’s defunct inkwell; its extreme blackness reflecting my despair. Suddenly I feel a pressure gather around my body, embracing me cruelly. I open my mouth to cry out but my voice is restricted, either by the external force or by my own fear, I cannot tell. Just as I think my bones will shatter within me, a loud crack echoes overhead. The oppressive air is ripped away with violent force. Above, the ceiling is torn away, revealing a gray haunted sky. I know only moments will pass before I will be violently plucked from earth and cast into another realm…

There, God, like a cloaked and menacing Headmaster, looms at the entrance of the swirling abyss…

Sing from the Womb, 7

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the seventh in a series of snippets from my memoir, Sing From the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search of Voice (formerly titled Writing Me Back to Mat(t)er).

Please let me know what resonates with you.

***

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! She tugs the tri-corn hat over her mop of red hair. Usually comfortable on stage, she is suddenly self-conscious and suffering. They had quickly amended the script to give her a part in the Christmas pageant, and as always, due to her height, that of a man. In the past, she had played Pharaoh and Prince Yohan and “The Old Man.” Now she’s Town Crier: Hear Me!

After being away from church and England for so long, she feels different, like she doesn’t belong. She knows they see her as different. She’s not quite the same as them now…

…she’s back in this meeting hall, as familiar as her own home. The mint green walls and wooden flooring, the dark kitchen and the damp, always cold, concrete floor lavatory with its pull-chain flush. But now walking out onto the stage in front of her church family is uncomfortable. Embarrassed to be here acting as if she still has a right to be on this stage—in this place—after leaving it to be part of another world. She feels unprepared and unsure of herself in her small but conspicuous role. Dressed as a man, demanding all to listen, in the church where she is merely a girl, who is growing into a stranger who isn’t quite sure where she belongs.

Writing Me Back to Mat(t)er/Sing From the Womb, 6

This is the sixth in a series of snippets from my memoir, formerly known as Writing Me Back to Mat(t)er.*

The title is now: Sing From the Womb: Leaving Fundamentalism in Search of Voice.

Please let me know what resonates with you.

Sometimes when I had yelled myself to tears, I’d imagine running off to a cottage by the sea, just my pen and I. Because I long for Solitude, to sigh in bliss when it comes to wrap me in a blanket of silence and peaceful irresponsibility. And to be heard. Truly, quietly heard.

And I was faced with these questions: What lay underneath the anger? What wound had becoming a wife and mother uncovered? What darkness lay deep in my body?

And what light lay beyond it?

*The root word for Earth, Matter and Mother is mater.

Writing Me Back to Mat(t)er, 5

This is the fifth in a series of snippets from my memoir, Writing Me Back to Mat(t)er* (a working title). Please let me know what resonates with you.

She used her voice to gain minuscule moments of power only to be overthrown again and again. She was a child in a woman’s body who just wanted to be loved and to love – obsessively. But her need, her fear of abandonment and rejection became toxic, and she pushed away the very people she loved the most. Her words were ones of anguish, weakness and fear. Unconsciously, I knew I would not love like that; I would never need so desperately or show such vulnerability. I would be strong or I would be silent.

*The root word for Earth, Matter and Mother is mater.

Writing Me Back to Mat(t)er, 4

This is the fourth in a series of snippets from my memoir, Writing Me Back to Mat(t)er* (a working title). Please let me know what resonates with you.

Across the years small whispers from this place of wisdom have sung to my own searching soul. When I came home from Bible camp in tears one year because I could not believe our church was the only one who had The Truth, she calmed my anger and fear by admitting she had never thought so either. Years later, she was the first I had heard compare God to an energy into which we plug. And to my concern that I could no longer pray, she replied with the words that changed the course of my life, “You pray every day – your journal is a form of prayer.”

Writing me Back to Mat(t)er, 3

This is the third in a series of snippets from my memoir, Writing Me Back to Mat(t)er* (a working title). Please let me know what resonates with you.

Screenshots-little-house-on-the-prairie-5343861-576-432According to Nana, I was to “act like a lady,” always wear a hat and gloves to church, stop coloring and stand during the prayers, always wear panties to bed, use only one square of toilet paper at a time, not to play too loudly or climb the lattice, and to keep my hair off my face, preferably in two tight braids, Laura Ingalls style. Although I watched Little House on the Prairie devotedly and adored Laura Ingalls, imagining I was her when I ran through the grass in my maxi-length party dress, to this restriction and just to drive Nana crazy, I responded by going through a phrase where I refused to wear my wavy hair any other way than down, hippie-style, and frizzing all over the place.

*The root word for Earth, Matter and Mother is mater.