Sunday, June 1, 2008

Haunted...

So, after blogging about THE BOOK recently, and receiving a good number of encouraging comments from my readers, I've been haunted by how completely incapable I feel of writing this thing. I have been awakened at 4 a.m. every morning with a Field-of-Dreams-esque voice saying, "Write the book." And it won't leave me alone. It follows me around every minute of every day like a dog waiting for a bone. And even when I write a bit, here or in my private journals, it's not enough.

And so, I'm here writing about why I can't write THE BOOK rather than actually writing THE BOOK. In true tall penguin style I will probably need to do this exercise in self-loathing until I reach the lowest of the lows and realize that kicking my own ass into gear is the only choice left. So please don't attempt to assuage my ego with your well-wishing comments or even attempt to kick my ass. I'll kick my own ass when I'm good and ready. Until then, there will be griping and bitching and psycho-analyzing. It's what I do.

In my last entry on this subject, I said my greatest fear in writing THE BOOK would be the possible alienation of my still-jw parents. That's bullshit. And I knew it when I wrote it. As a commenter rightly pointed out, publishing and writing are two different things. I could write this book and still not choose to publish it, thus averting the loss-of-parents fear. No, the real fear is that the process of writing it, actually sitting down and being with every bit of my past, will destroy me. I may as well just bathe in a vat of leeches now, the bloodletting will be so excruciating.

I have always thought there would be some moment in the future where I'd have enough distance from my past to write about it without any emotional overlay. I doubt it. It's not yet been my experience that I'm capable of such a thing. The emotions that got triggered this week in writing about Ogilvy, the lost teddy bear, reminded me of this. That story, about a bear no less, sent me on a tearful journey through losses and secret loves of every sort. That's the way this penguin's brain works. Until it doesn't. So, you can imagine my complete dread in thinking of writing the story of my life and the search for self. It's raw, it's painful and it's real. It's why I need to write it and why writing it terrifies me. What's a penguin to do?

And worse yet? Maybe it's not the fear of facing those memories. Maybe I'm afraid to find out that I'm just plain lazy. Maybe I just don't have what it takes to stick with the process of writing this damn thing. After everything I've been through, it would be greatly disappointing to find out I'm really a coward. And a hypocrite. Anything but a hypocrite.

Sigh.

tall penguin

3 comments:

Ryan Kevin said...

I have only just made your virtual acquaintance, thanks to kind a comment you made over on my blog, but you don't strike me as a coward or a hypocrite. You're just wrestling with something difficult... THE BOOK.

I sympathize with your feelings about writing "THE BOOK". You're not the only one who has had that tickly need stuck in your throat and wrestled with yourself trying to get it out. I've made more false starts than I can count. Just last week I was talking to a gentleman in his 60's who had been a Witness from childhood into his 40's, even partaking of the emblems at one time and despite being intelligent, erudite, a teacher for goodness sake, he hadn't yet managed to write THE BOOK he wanted to write.

Just remember what Thomas Mann said: A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

ryan
http://ryansutter.net

tall penguin said...

Thanks Ryan. Since you've been a jw, you can appreciate first-hand the struggle. Your story of your teacher friend who wants to write a book makes me realize how many creative projects never come to fruition on this planet. Makes me sad really.

Our stories are valuable and I think have the ability to support many thinking of leaving religion or those who've already left. If we could just get out of our own way already. Mann was right.

Ged said...

And so, I'm here writing about why I can't write THE BOOK rather than actually writing THE BOOK

...the real fear is that the process of writing it, actually sitting down and being with every bit of my past, will destroy me.

After everything I've been through, it would be greatly disappointing to find out I'm really a coward. And a hypocrite. Anything but a hypocrite.


Sounds like a great premise for a book if you ask me...