Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Challenge and a Letter to the Past

There is this wonderful movement at NaBloWriMo challenging people to blog every day in October. Having just heard about it today, I am a little late to the party, but the challenge resonates with me--especially given my ongoing struggle with writer’s block--so I thought I’d jump right in. Maybe I’ll even go three days over in November, just to get in the full 31. We’ll see. 

Anyway, today’s writing prompt is what advice would I give my 15-year-old self. Here is a picture of me around that age and here is what I would tell her:


There is much darkness ahead of you. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I can’t. You are strong enough to make it through and you will learn much by having endured it, but it will be painful and long, and it is my duty to warn you. Hang on. You are loved now and will find even greater love in your future. All you have to do is keep moving forward, even when you’re unsure of the direction and even when that forward momentum is mere millimeters a day. You will be led to good. You will be led to light.

Also I want you to know that your writing is no mean gift. Yes, you are a beautiful singer and a fine actress, but this writing you have--the words within you--that is your true calling. Attend to it. Honor it. Love it. Work at it. Let it flow. Let it live. Do not compare your work and career trajectory to that of anyone else. You are different, your writing is different, your life is different and it is the sum of all these differences, and your conscious efforts to embrace them, that will make you and your writing shine.

I would like to tell you also that while you seek to honor your gifts, you must also remain humble and teachable. Many great instructors will come your way in the near future and, if you are open-hearted enough to let them, they will mold your creativity in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine. Accept their challenges, learn from their experiences and respect their admonitions. They have forged this path ahead of you and, although you will have your own frontiers to conquer one day, it is best you walk in their footsteps for a time, at least until you get your balance. 
Balance, my love, balance and breathe, broaden your mind and bear your burdens patiently. All is for the best in the end. I swear it.

With All My Heart,
-Your 32-year-old Self

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