What I Want
What I want is to know about people. About the ways we are broken, wild, incomplete, imperfect.
The ways we interconnect with other people. The ways we need them. The ways we are needed by them. The ways we both chase after and resist that need. The ways we disguise it. The ways we fit together like puzzle pieces and yet we can’t see past our own missing parts to see that his part or her part fits with it.
I want to know more about the way our polarity changes when we come across that person who sees our broken, wild, incomplete, imperfect self and says Yes. Yes, I will have that. I will love those things in you, and I will not try to fix, tame, complete or perfect you, but I will be utterly charmed by these things in you. When you meet that person, what happens? Does the sky change color? Does the world widen? When your negatives are suddenly positive, what else changes for you? And then, if the broken, wild, incomplete, imperfectness of who you are gets to be too much for the person who said they would love all those things in you – what happens? Can you go back to the old color of the sky? Can you unsee what you have seen, unlived what you have experienced?
It’s the unknowable, unfathomable pieces of people that fascinate me. The motivation behind the mask, the hurt behind the eyes that try to smile, the scars and blemishes we cover up are what I seek. The bad boys we dated, the cracks in our souls, the dips and valleys in our hearts that can never quite be brought up to level are the things I want to explore. In myself, in you.
I want to lead people to do as I have done – copy pages out of books and highlight paragraphs and write YES! THIS! in the margins. I want people to email passages to their friends, to tweet perfect sentences, to tell their most cherished soul mate YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BECAUSE IT IS SO US.
And I tried to tell myself I’m not a writer, that I can’t tell stories.
But I know there must be a story that does these things. There has to be a way to express these unknowable truths, to capture people so they read, open-mouthed and astonished, at seeing their own story within this story. Because every story is this story, and this story is every story.
Now to find it, to grow it, to let the words surface and the story form. To get it down, to love it from regular imperfection into perfect imperfection. To find my voice, a storytelling voice. To let the characters be who and what they are, to tie things into knots that can’t be untangled. To be happy with the tangles. To take this thing that stirs deep in my soul and show it to you.
To live some life, to risk something for the story, to knows these things about my ownself and be willing to display them for the world and for my husband and my friends and my parents before I expose you so starkly. My eagerness to make you vulnerable knows no bounds. But as a servant leader, I don’t ask you to do anything I won’t do, so first, I must summon the courage to show you my scars and my wounds and my hopes and remove my clever disguise.
All fiction is autobiographical fiction. – variously attributed
You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better. – Anne Lamott
All writing is a betrayal. – some man on NPR whose name I can’t remember but he was brilliant.
If you wait for inspiration, you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter. – Paulo Coehlo
Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block. Sit down and write. – Patti Digh
Failing to plan is planning to fail. – every strategist ever.
Try to write something. Remember who you are. – my sweet friend Elizabeth K. ❤ (Your words have stuck with me. 🙂 As you can see.)
I actually have an idea. An idea that could become just the sort of book I love, with lots of characters and plot lines and voices and interconnectedness. I’m being gentle, letting it come to me, like you would a baby deer. Chasing it will make it run. Putting a deadline on it will kill it.
Opening myself up to the possibility of it will give it room to make itself fully known to me.