When the hell did I become so cautious?
The word itself used to be a sacrilege to my Sagittarian sensibilities. Most of my life I prided myself on being outspoken, out of turn, out of hand (most of the time in the best way); being the one to say and do the ballsy, complicated things that no one around me seemed to have the moxie to say or do.
Some called me “too much.” Others called me colorful.
I have a vision board on my office wall that I made several years ago… you know, one of those posters on bright, thick art paper, covered with pictures torn from magazines and bold, block-letter headlines that say things like “Live Your Dreams” and “You Are a Force of Nature.”
One of the headlines on my board, right above the pictures of a woman sitting cross-legged in a sun-filled window typing on a laptop and an artistically haphazard pile of bestselling books, reads, “Talented. Outrageous. Revealing.”
So when did I stop being those things?
I didn’t even realize that I had. I mean, I haven’t stopped writing. I’ve been penning blog entries for a couple of years now; working on a book proposal; forever searching for untried ways to teach and inspire with the help of the muse, several angels (both human and divine) and my trusty Synonym Finder.
But one day last summer God yawned, stretched, and sent my best friend Liz knocking on my inbox to ask if I wanted to come out and play—a 5-week writing course from an extraordinary online artist named Kelly Diels, about blogging with true heart and passion.
The day after the first class, I felt as though I’d been shaken abruptly out of some slow, primordial sleep and could feel the sun again for the first time in centuries. Everything was a storyline. I was seeing things in sentences. The people in line at the grocery store, the cars weaving around me on the freeway, all were suddenly saturated, color-dripping, adjective-soaked descriptions. It was crazy. And amazing. And so familiar, I wanted to weep with outrage and relief.
Coming home to a place you never left is a mystifying and humbling experience.
I have had a writer’s eye from the time I was old enough to write. In truth, probably before that, and then I fell in love with words and the way they moved together in my mind and on paper and love bloomed into obsession that has only grown grander with the passing of time.
I read and re-read the novels of my favorite writers until the pages literally fall out in my hands; they are my favorites because, even in the lamp-lit bedroom too late at night with my angel husband sleeping dreamlessly beside me, I cannot read them without whispering, without tasting the words out loud.
The blogging class gave me homework, and simple, brilliant strategies to make storytelling fundamental to the writing of any story. More important, the class gave me a language for what I had instinctively been doing all along, and permission to remember and do it.
Strange to find myself in a place where I had forgotten. Forgotten what it was like to see the narrative in my everyday experience; to taste the language of an imagined dialogue with the girl in the pale pink scarf walking a cat on a leash across the intersection; to conjure the story behind the 1950’s washing machine wedged in the muddy river bank that’s become the perfect perch for fishing when the tide comes in and the green water rises to cover the rocks.
But perhaps it’s not so much that I had forgotten, but that I had become careful… and not in the way of navigating some dangerous, inspirational gamble with purpose and intent. Careful as in pale, washed out, rooted in the necessity of teaching and appearing wise, rather than risking the transparency and art of living.
Kelly’s philosophy is to write from the heart. Liz’s philosophy is to write for all the right reasons. More than inspired, I now find myself wanting to write with more grit, more color, more honesty; to write about the sacred in the mundane, because that’s where God is at His most magical; to write because I have loved words my whole life, and because I have loved God equally as long and every bit as passionately… and He deserves to be acknowledged in every scarf and every washing machine that comes my way.
I teach God for a living, but I also live Him. It’s time to write about the intersection where the two collide, headlong, joyously…and not worry so much about being wise.
And trust that there is something someone needs to hear and learn from in every story.
An article I read recently in one of my favorite beauty magazines was debunking the old rule that as you age, you should lighten the color of your hair, as darker colors tend to show lines and shadows on the face more distinctly. The new rule? Go warmer, not lighter. Pale can appear lifeless, rather than light…and God knows my fire sign self needs heat.
My passion is helping people be extraordinary, by finding the truth of their own divine story. My medium of choice is storytelling…writing that spills and spirals on a page and calls to be tasted rather than merely read. I want to write about the colors of love, the strength of my man, the gifts in friendship and fear and frustration and desire; I need to write about God in every moment, for real.
It’s time to write for my life.