Writers live on the inside. We may walk and talk among the rest of the world, and have fun, and enjoy all aspects of life, but there’s always that inner world that calls us back, that draws us into our thoughts, into our shadow-selves, into those hopes and dreams that we might be too scared to admit to anybody that we have, including ourselves.
Walking into the depths of the soul requires courage, and the more years you live, the more courage it takes because you’ve had that much longer to watch humanity, and inhumanity, to experience loss and pain and anger and fear. I’m not saying that these emotions aren’t felt by the young. Goddess knows, by the time I was five, I was all too aware on a deeply personal level of the cruelty that some people can perpetuate on their families, but now that I’m sixty, that perception takes on a world-wide scale. And the fears can be greater, the more I have more to lose.
And walking into the depths of the soul requires us to set aside our cynicism, because we must face the goals and dreams we’ve had throughout the years, and provide an answer to ourselves as to why not, if we haven’t achieved them. Or we have to embrace our successes without fearing we’ll jinx it all. We have to let joy into our hearts, as well as to face the pains that might reside there. Facing brilliance and joy can be scarier than facing hardship.
Writing is a passionate experience—wars are waged with the pen, murderers run rampant, lovers entangle in torrid affairs, families rise to power or crumble under the weight of bone-wearying poverty. Worlds are created and destroyed with the stroke of the key…we shatter the lives of our characters, and sometimes we give them a sparkle in the eye, a fiery encounter with the hottest man they can imagine, we hand them a trip to the moon and the stars. Then, before they can fully immerse themselves into their good fortune, we rip away everything and watch as they sit, bewildered in the remains of what was a dream, wondering what they’ll do next.
All writers of fiction play God/Goddess. Is it any wonder we have almost obnoxious egos? We have to be able to withstand constant rejection and critics in this business…and yet…and yet, inside we are often fragile, cringing at bad reviews and hoping so very much that someone out there will like our work.
Do we write out our dreams of what we wish might happen? Sometimes. And sometimes our nightmares. And to do both, we have to search within ourselves—within that long dark walk to the center of the soul because without keying in on the right emotion, our writing falls flat.
It’s not easy, it’s a tumultuous ride. No wonder so many of us battle depression and bi-polar disorders. But in the end, the words are what count, because they give us a channel with which to explore reality. Psychologists examine life from the outside in. Writers examine it from the inside-out.