Monday, March 30, 2009

"Write Uncomfortably"*

On Buzz, Balls & Hype, using her own experience, clinical psychologist Dr. Susan O'Doherty, wrote an excellent piece about facing certain fears and how doing so relates to our writing:

“What does this have to do with writing? Just this: I have been thinking about all of this in Jungian terms, as a hero’s journey. I have embarked, in other words, on a sometimes harrowing quest not entirely of my own devising, to face down certain demons with the goal of transformation. This is the journey my clients engage in when they return, week after week, to confront painful, sometimes traumatic, experiences and parts of themselves that they might prefer to keep hidden. And it is the journey traveled by serious writers, as they stare down the blank page or computer screen, pushing themselves, as I was pushed, to chip away at artifice and easy facility to reveal truth and beauty.

“These journeys are not heroic in the sense that vaccinating children in Congo or rescuing people from burning buildings is heroic. They are of value all the same, and not only to the practitioner. Poets through the ages have reminded us that fear is the antithesis of, and enemy to, love. The more we strive to eliminate fear, the more room there is for love—not the easy, kittens-and-balloons love, but the deep, difficult, scary love that allows us to stick with a troubled child or a friend or lover in crisis; to express deeply held, unpopular convictions; and, yes, to risk our lives in the service of others. Heroism is a process, not a fixed trait; and as Jung reminds us, the true hero is not fearless; rather, [s]he moves forward in spite of fear.”

Read the whole piece here.

*My husband’s most excellent advice while I was at VCCA.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.