The need to write is bubbling under the surface. I go about my housework trying to ignore the new voice that has entered my head. “I must get my work done first.” I insist, as I load the dishwasher.
I find myself reaching for the phone as it rings. It is my friend, Gwenn, who I consider a writer. Not a famous writer, mind you, but she writes with dark humor that is honest and fresh. She’s the type of writer where the entire family stops what they are doing to read her Christmas card, even though she lives next door and comes to visit on a daily basis. We are not so interested in finding out what is new in her life, but excited to see how she chooses to tell the whole world of it. So I sat down, phone in hand to update her on my new adventures. The first thing I had to share is my crazy attempt to take a creative writing class. No one but Gwenn could understand what type of undertaking this is for me. Gwenn really knows me. She understands that even though she sends me a Christmas card every year that she will never get one from me. Not because I don’t care, but because trying to sit down to write at Christmas could conceivably get me committed to the state asylum. The actual thought of writing such a card produces an anxiety deep within my skin that begins to swell like a tsunami, distorting my face until my forehead appears to have been the victim of a terrible facelift. My skin above my eyebrows over-stretches and the angry exclamation point between my eyes deepens. So every year Gwenn sends me a card, and I call to tell her everything I love about it. Only Gwenn could appreciate the brave act I took walking into the classroom. She laughed and exclaimed, “It is high time you learn to write woman, you are too passionate to not have an outlet.” In this she is right. Already the writing has been cathartic. My internal critic is losing control. The first week of poem writing was so out of my safety zone that “Critic” didn’t even have the vocabulary to yell at me. I don’t know how my writing turned out, but I had a quiet mind for an entire week—without medication.
Anyway, I wondered aloud if I was mad because I was dreaming of poems and even more fearfully, my mind has been taken over by a character. I have never had such symptoms and they are a little nerve racking. Gwenn taught, “I hate it when I have to write something I haven’t dreamt.” She explained that she dreams of every good thing she creates. She dreams of the dress she will sew before she sews it, and the poem she will write before she writes it. She has learned to always keep a pad of paper by the bed and write the impression or dream immediately when it comes—no matter what the time.
This is all new to me. “Will I always have strangers invading my mind?” I ask. “Of course, why do you think so many writers, songwriters and artists go mad? It will always be there.” She replies.
Suddenly I don’t know if attempting the creative writing class is a good idea or not. But even as I think it I know I am glad. Already I can’t bear to abandon the character in my head. Who would give her a voice if I were to give up now. Somehow telling Gwenn has made it alright. If she thinks I can do it, then maybe I can. I go back to my pad of paper ready to try again.