Thank you for the great response to this essay from yesterday about my aunt. As I get older, I sometimes feel a bit “get off my lawn!” towards the internet at large, sometimes for very good reason, but it’s lovely and overwhelming to not only hear very supportive words from people you know and don’t know but words of true understanding and thanks for describing something that is somewhat heartbreaking and indescribable.
I used to have the strict idea that I wanted to be a certain kind of writer, high falutin if you will, writing the right books or the right stories for the right kinds of literary journals and magazines but not only has life not really led me there, I think I’ve chosen otherwise, I think who I am has made that nearly impossible. This is not to say that one writer or one kind of writer is better or worse, higher or lower in some way than another but that there is not only one way to write and there is definitely not just one way to reach an audience of readers.
Frida Kahlo suggested, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best,” something I wholeheartedly agree with when it comes to myself and my art. I am the context I understand things the best in, I am living this life and am most excited about living and then telling that life’s stories. It doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in other stories, it doesn’t mean that I’m self-involved. If anything, it jut seems to be the medium that has chosen me most often.
Maybe this makes me a limited writer, an idea that used to bother me a lot, but I don’t know that it really matters to me now. Not because I have given up a true pursuit of writing but because that is what I enjoy writing about, what inspires me and challenges me the most: this complex, often confused, constantly wondering woman that I am and the world as I inhabit it. There is nothing self-centered or selfish with being curious about your own existence.
Listen, you should enjoy writing more than you enjoy the capital W of being a Writer and if you’re not enjoying it, don’t do it, whether that’s for a while or forever. Life is too short and filled with too many wonderful things to put your time and love and creative energy into something that’s not fun anymore, if it ever was. Creativity will always find an out one way or another, even if it’s not how you expected.