Friday, September 3, 2010

Why Writing Your Story Matters

"Writing is a way not only to metabolize life, but to alchemize it as well. It is a way to transform what happens to us into our own experience." Julia Cameron

I read a lot of Julia Cameron's work, and these words touched me so much I copied them on a sticky note and stuck them inside the book of another favorite writing teacher, Pat Schneider. It's the idea of transformation that resonates with me, and that I've experienced first hand in the writing of my story. There's something about giving the past shape and substance in the form of story that releases any emotional hold it previously had, which in turn frees up space for living freely in each present moment as it occurs.

Another of my favorite writer/teachers, Anne Lamott, explains it this way, "The great writers keep writing about the cold dark place within, the water under a frozen lake or the secluded, camouflaged hole. The light they shine on this hole, this pit, helps us cut away or step around the brush and brambles; then we can dance around the rim of the abyss, holler into it, measure it, throw rocks in it, and still not fall in. It can no longer swallow us up. And we can get on with things."

"The more personal your writing, the more universal the story." I don't remember where I heard this the first time, but the wisdom in these words gives larger meaning to why we write memoir. Our experiences, told with as much emotional truth and vulnerability as possible, help others to know they're not alone, and ultimately add light and healing to the world.

"What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open." Denise Levertov

What more worthy endeavor could there be than transforming the world, splitting it wide open, by exploring and sharing the depths of your story? Isn't is worth the risk of revealing your heart to find freedom, light and love far beyond imagining? Won't you join me?