Sometimes it hurts

A few months ago, I sat down at the computer to write a short story that I have trouble reading now.  Seriously, I avoid editing this story because I hate it.  It makes me cry.  Not because it’s bad work (I hope), but because it is tragic.  It is so far from what I typically write (I’m a big fan of the crack-a-joke, send-the-bad-guy-to-jail, good-guy-gets-the-girl formula).

And that’s why I felt compelled to write something different.

I had just finished reading Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay.  I stayed up late to devour the last few chapters, then lay in the dark thinking about how incapable I was of writing something so heartbreaking.

I’ll never be published, I thought.  Because I can’t write pain.  I don’t want my characters to feel the ache, because I don’t want to feel it.  I am devoted to avoiding that kind of hurt.

So I pulled myself out of bed and sat in front of a bright, stark white computer screen.  I tried to think of the one thing that would be hardest to write – the one thing that truly frightens me down to the bones.  For most of us, this thought process does not take long.  True fear is something that commonly sits  near the surface, threatening every day to break out.  And we fight to keep it in.

But that night, alone in a dark room, I faced that terror.  I wrote the pain.  And I cried as I rapped at the keys.

Because sometimes you have to challenge yourself.  Sometimes, in order to grow, you have to break through walls and write something you would never dare to express out loud.

Sometimes, you have to write the pain.

And when I finished, I wiped my wet face and closed my laptop.  I had done it!  I had faced my fear and created something that stirs up so much emotion that I have trouble reading it now.  But the simple task of forcing myself outside of my comfort zone paid off in pride.  And perhaps someday it will pay off in publishing.

If only I could force myself to edit it …

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