Lately, whether between the move or my impending 40th birthday or who knows what, I've been feeling stuck creatively. Even though I have a to do list that seems to get bigger every day, I don't always know where to start, or, more importantly, why to start. What am I doing? What does it matter? I love putting my books out in the world, I love the process of crafting a specific set of writing and submitting it, but sometimes, I don't even get started before I'm questioning what the point is.
But this weekend, when The Mid published my essay "Why I'd Trade My Dream Career For A Baby", I was reminded that writing from the heart, writing our truths, matters. I've seen such an amazing, blossoming, fascinating discussion about it in the comments on my personal Facebook page, ranging from fertility options to whether adoption actually costs an exorbitant amount. I've had people share their fertility and pregnancy stories, good and bad. I've heard about adopting and fostering and advanced maternal age and gotten heartwarming advice.
Last night, I saw someone I haven't seen in person in maybe a decade. She was waving at me in a room full of people and I was actually certain she was waving at someone else, mostly because I wouldn't have thought she'd remember me. Lo and behold, she did and had read my piece and shared some encouraging information and I was so touched that someone who, because of my own insecurities, I think I'd have pegged as "too cool" to care about little old me was so genuine and heartfelt. My essay became a talking point, a moment of connection, a way of, via my own sharing of personal details, inviting other people to share theirs.
It reminded me that, while of course not all of my writing is about that kind of intimacy, that's what I want more of from myself, from my work. That's the guiding principle I want to strive for: deep truths, not partial ones. Risky ones, scary ones, truths that might unnerve or upset someone but that demand to be told. Truths that take courage, truths that invite others to tell theirs. I've missed that, been looking for it, been feeling listless and nervous about where I am, in my life, geographically, pretty much in every way. I don't have an exact plan of how to go from that restless, unfocused place to one where I tell deep truths every day and make a sufficient living, but that's where I'm heading, where I want to be heading, and I want to infuse the rest of what I do with that same passion. So thank you to everyone who read the piece, who took a moment to say something encouraging, who made me feel less alone.