Recently I attended a lecture by Anne Lamott, a fabulous author whom I'd never read. Luckily, my friend Amanda's adoration of this author was strong enough to pique my interest and so I tagged along.
WOW! What an amazing woman, speaker & writer. After the lecture, I bought her book Bird by Bird. I've only dipped my toe into it, but already I'm kicking myself for not reading this book years ago. It's precisely the book I need right now on my writing journey.
She has overcome a lot: Alcoholism (she refers to herself as a sober alcoholic which I find wonderfully appropriate and a better term than "recovered"), atheist parents, drugs, single parenthood, etc. Like I said, I've only dipped my toe into learning about Ms. Lamott, but she brilliantly shares all of her struggles and how she uses these crises to become a better writer.
Right on, great work, keep on inspiring others! Here's the thing... after listening to her, I felt an unfamiliar tug in my gut... can I be a writer without those monumental hurdles?
I was raised by Christian parents who love and respect each other and me. I have a faithful parenting partner. I have healthy children. I have enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table. I have a support network through friends and church.
Does anyone want to read the words of a writer with such a blessed life? Oh sure, I have BAD days and a faint trail of bad relationships (I can think of three... me thinks I'm doing pretty good!). I've spent days and nights sick with worry. I've cried in sorrow and have been paralyzed with fear. Yet, I know many people would trade my life with theirs in a heart beat. My obstacles pale in comparison when compared to an addict, an abused woman, a single mom, an orphan, a refugee...
I am not apologizing for my life or wishing that my parents had been anything less. I'm a product of a unique situation... a Christian situation. And not just your typical "Christian" family... a real one.
So, I guess what I've just discovered through writing this is that I DO have a lot of blessings in my life and I know precisely from whom my gifts have been given. I fear I just received yet another nudge toward the religious writing project that I've been trying to avoid.
And hey, in the spirit of full disclosure, one great obstacle in my life is something that I've never shared publicly: being married to and raising kids with a man who doesn't share my faith. Imagine not being able to share such a huge slice of yourself with the love of your life! Perhaps I should start here...