I feel myself doing the same thing I always do. Like a rodeo pony at the gate, my entire being bucks up against the process of sitting down to write about the things that matter most to me: about trying to make a life. Invariably this work always takes me to the brink of what I knowâ€”and pushes me over, to where I plummet wildly into the unknown.
As I sit down to write about things that matter: about my father dying, about the gunman at school, about fighting with my husband, or loving my son fiercely, and I know that I will be changed by the act of writing. It is the act of putting words on the page that defines the reality of the world I inhabit. And so invariably, I resist because I am terrified that the act of delving deeply into this material will bring me face to face with my own small self and demand that I become more pliant. That I take risks or grow in ways I cannot yet fathom.
When I force myself to write like this my heart feels trampled like grapes becoming wine: something comes from the crushing that is sweet and heady and intoxicating, but also, there is the stain of broken skin and the pulp of the fruit that was once a different shape.