When I was a kid, I used to love the high dive. I don’t mean the “higher” diving board, we had that, too. I mean that solid, grey-brown block of pounds and pounds and pounds of smooth concrete, with the ladder that reached to God, Himself. Never look down while climbing up. Walk to the edge and tease yourself with the fall before taking the leap.
The sense of pride after taking that plunge, and resurfacing to happy cheers from encouraging people. The nods of “well done, no fear.” Thanks! Your turn, dudes.
Well, I’m 43 now, and suck it up routinely to even make it off the side of our public pool. Okay, routinely is a bit of a stretch, because I am a sit-on-the-side-and-push-off-into-the-water kind of gal now. I like the “ease on in” approach. The tummy-tickles from standing and staring down into water that my feet have not yet touched–they aren’t tickles anymore, it’s more likened to fingers of fear squeezing parts of my insides that have never seen light.
I use the same side of pool approach when I hit “submit.” I ease on in with a bit of poetry here, some more poetry there. That’s okay, if people don’t like it, well, I can tell myself that probably not very many people even SAW it. So who cares?
Plus, poetry is abstract. Take what you want from it. It’s obscure and I am safe hiding in those shadows.
So I’ve attempted fiction. I have so many GREAT ideas! Fake names, fake situations, made up this, that, the other. And I totally suck. I’m boooorrrriiiing! I bore myself at about 1,000 words, and it shows on the page. I have almost zero imagination. I am not a fiction writer. It is not real to ME, and so I can’t make it real to anyone else.
And in realizing that, I have realized this: abandoning fiction, and stepping out of the shadows of my poetry is leaving me looking down at a big, fat pool of honesty and truth.
I’ve realized that I’m a scared-ass writer. That pool is a long, long way down from where I am now; safe in my present with my past, my truth, and my honesty far, far down at the bottom of that ladder that stretches to God, Himself.
Can I take that fall, again? Can I find that no fear attitude that used to break free–and plunge the same way I did when I was 11?
Yes, I can. I can bolster myself and find courage by reading of others’. In following wonderful blogs on WordPress, I have found a deep pool of that very honesty and truth that frightens me.
I’m standing at the top of that ladder, looking at all of these wonderful writers who have plunged before me, sharing their truths every day, and I’m looking at them all looking up at me and they are waiting, encouraging, edging.
I thank you for that inspiration as I am striding– if not confidently yet, at least with less fear– to the edge of that high dive.
And I say to you: My turn, dudes.