Someone to know me was the last thing I had on my mind. I’m an intensely private person. The contradiction about wore me out: write from my heart, be known, and become the writer I wanted to be. Or follow my fears, hide my heart and teach my writing the tricks of the selling trade.
After my dilemma, insight arrived. I was safe. No matter what my male reader thought, the I who created was always a step behind the real I/me who lived her life, the experiencer. I was by definition, forever unknowable. My reader only knew what I chose at the moment to reveal. And even I couldn’t always know what I’d do next!
The immediate problem was solved. After being stopped cold I could at least carry on writing. Yet over the years as a writer, the problem remains: how much to tell? What to reveal? How? For me these questions sift into purpose. For what purpose do I compose My Unveiled Face: A Free Woman, my memoir I’m currently writing?
For my purposes exclusively—living a fuller more satisfying life. For that I need only my journals and to probe my inarticulate heart with poetry—publication being nice, not necessary. Yet to spread my unguarded life as an example so others can learn, to risk insights and intuitions, mistakes, conclusions, even results. This is a quite different kettle of fish. This kind of writing requires dedication and skill I’m not sure I possess. Making art. Taking the raw materials, the plethora, the stinking, extravagant, measly life—taking it all in its entirety—tossing it up in the air and seeing how it comes down—this is the problem. The answer is, of course I can’t do it. The answer is, of course I must try.
Once we get our intention clear, I will attempt this job, then we are free to place our full-out energy into the task. My task, and I accept it (dubious as I may feel) my task is to compose My Unveiled Face: A Free Woman. This now is my work.
I come to love opposites. Head and heart, practical and spirituality, intuition and rational. To adore blending extremes, to meshing both/and into maximum brew. To fly outside the categories without going crazy. Or getting to the point of talking only to myself. I put it together. My life. Warts and all.