I have a cold. I’m using it as an excuse not to write. The logic behind this is that whatever I write will read like the virus that pins me to the couch. I’m worried that when I don’t feel good, my sentences sound weak. Low-down. Sniffly.
I’ve been working with a line written by Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakenings. When I say working, what I mean is that I’m thinking about it, trying to let it help me get some real writing and real living done. The line is “If I experienced it differently, I would have different things to say.” Nepo addresses a common problem that I share with many of my writerly friends. He says that in writing his version of the truth, he feels like a bad person for telling things the way they happened. I am also afraid to hurt someone’s feelings or damage a relationship because of my writing. Therefore, my pencil balks at the hearty stories I could be growing through and healing from during the process of articulation. And that is a problem for me, because I want to write about my life. I want the written version to be more of a complete picture than just the good memories where no one was struggling.
It’s important to write the tough feelings because through those, we get stronger. For me, not writing is just another way of hiding. Another way to deny the pain.