A Break in the Story for: Fear (1)

wendy lost boysWordPress informs me that I have revised the last post 30+ times. With each revision of this or any other piece of writing, I do not necessarily make more sense, nor am I necessarily more honest. In fact, it often works backwards.

I am writing the story about how I fell in love. This is one of the most terrifying things I have done here in this space, or anywhere else for that matter. Why is it so scary? Because I am telling the truth and it makes me realize how often I do not tell the truth. Writing is terrifying because truth-telling is not one of my strengths. So I write, try to be honest, slip into a strategy that helps me hide, scratch away at it until I bleed, and start the cycle all over again. It’s the only thing I know how to do, whether I am Teaching or Writing or Editing.

I fell in love with a diver, a man I will, for now, refer to as Lost Boy, even though he is most certainly not lost, and he definitely ain’t no boy. I will call him that for now because he once called me Wendy Darling and I very much liked it when he called me that.

I take breaks in all of my stories for fear. Scattered in the dark pot-holes of my MacBook are probably twenty versions of at least ten different short stories. The fact that there are at least ten short stories that haven’t seen the light of another person’s eyes is nothing remarkable for a writer, as heartening talks by novelists like Lauren Groff and Chris Castellani remind me. It’s the energy I put toward re-writing things that I don’t really need or want to change that is weird. It’s almost like I am trying to keep my words moving so they will never be a sitting target. It’s almost like, because I am too connected to my words and haven’t let go of them, I am trying to continually pack them up and send them to a new place, just like I do with my body. It’s almost like I am afraid to write something and stand by it. It’s almost like I am afraid of stillness.  It looks like I stop to revise, but these are fear-breaks. Second-guessing hiccups. Worry warps. I stop writing and I fear. I have to have something to do with my hands while I worry, so I re-arrange sentences and replace words with new words, or I erase whole paragraphs and try to recite to myself a new version of how things could go. Lots of beginnings. Don’t pin me down. I don’t want to choose.

I’m stopping in the middle of telling this story because I got afraid and instead of revising my post for the 36th time, I figured I’d just put words to the fear that wells up inside of me.

I’m afraid.

There, I said it.


4 thoughts on “A Break in the Story for: Fear (1)

  1. I’m reminded of a comment a woman made to me in a soup kitchen we worked in, in Oxford. A deranged man was glaring at me, telling me he hated white women. I thought he was about to lunge at me, to grab me instead of taking the cheese sandwich I’d just offered him. this kind Brit told me to listen to my fear; it will protect me. So, I backed away from the counter and took a break.
    I see you as a sculptor of words. You’re building a an obelisk of forms and stories. Sometimes you’re creating figures for the thing you’re building and sometimes scraping away, but you’re always at it, even if you’re not writing. It’s a beautiful process. Thanks for letting us into it.


      1. I should hope it DOESNT mean that you’re ruled by it. Maybe her point was to be aware so you can do something OTHER than simply react, which is a way of being ruled, right?


Comments are closed.

About alison barker