If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage. —Cynthia Ozick
I do believe that writing is an act of courage.
Courage to keep going when life is in chaos–
courage to keep going when your are tired and drained and empty,
when you think you have been left behind,
when you think someone else is better than you.
when you think you have nothing to say.
when no one pays any attention
to what you have written.
It takes courage to write.
I believe this.
Over and over and over in my life,
my fear has stopped me dead in my tracks.
And courage was nowhere to be found.
I didn’t understand that fear was necessary for courage to exist.
I didn’t realize courage and fear were inseparable companions.
So now I live my life,
knowing fear is always present
and always talking to me–
And somehow I have to keep going anyway and trust that I can.
Because courage is standing right there with fear-
waiting to be called on–waiting to take the lead-
waiting to carry me across whatever dangerous territory–
whatever hidden enemies–
I think I am facing.
I need to remember this.
I have an opportunity to include an excerpt of my new play
in a festival of new work but fear is plaguing me.
It’s screaming at me.
It’s sneaking up on me.
Every little obstacle that I have to face or every tiny suggestion
that something needs work or should be cut–
is scaring me to the point that I am angry.
I wake up in the morning
with dread that I am not good enough–
That the play is not ready.
I find myself reacting angrily to things.
Or I am annoyed at the person who offered me
the opportunity at the wrong time.
I have to constantly remind myself,
That I am not actually in danger.
It’s just my fear trying to protect me.
It’s just my fear, wanting me to quit —
so that I don’t have to take a risk–
or feel the pain of possible failure.
And every demand of my life–
and there are many these days-
seems to suggest I don’t have the time
or the stamina or the ability.
But it is just my fear trying to stop me
But I am not going to fail.
I can do this.
I can do it.
There is no conquering fear.
There is no need to conquer it.
Courage needs me to know this.