Is Omission in Memoir Writing Cheating? – Writing about Sexual Abuse & Other Horrors

In his play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare said, “All Are Punished,” and I believe that to some extent, all of us are punished by the workings of life, and I believe that many innocent people are punished by  memoir writers who are not scrutinous. Many will disagree with my saying this, but I do not believe that in writing a memoir, we are obligated to punish tales that expose those who have outright violated us in our pasts, and I especially believe that unscrupulous accusations are an abomination. Moments ago, I wrote an article saying that I do not condone lying in memoirs. Here I believe that most people would agree with that opinion, but they may not agree with what I say next:

I Do Not Believe that A Memoir Is Obligated to be a Tell-All

Yesterday, I posted what Mary Karr wrote in The Liar’s Club about her being sexually abused by a young teenager when she was 7-years-old Here.  I believe that Mary Karr had every right to report that abuse in her memoir, but I do not believe that she was obligated to do so. In William Zinsser’s book Inventing the Truth, he quotes Annie Dillard as saying, ” ‘You have to take pains in a memoir not to hang on the reader’s arm, like a drunk, and say, ‘And then I did this and it was so interesting.’ ” Zinsser, Inventing the Truth, p. 16.

As Dillard has pointed out, every fact of our lives is not destined to become part of our memoirs. In my opinion, this is true for things that are simply too mundane, but it is also true for other things, like things that are horrifying or distasteful. I honor the author’s right to choose what he or she publishes and what he or she does not.

In my previous post about lying in memoirs, I shared Karr’s statements about how memoir writing is cathartic, and I do believe that writing about painful things is cathartic. I do not, however, believe that we must publish everything that we write. I am not critical of people who write about sexual abuse and other horrors, but I want to make a case for people who do not want to publish everything that they write.

Ask Yourself Why You Want to Include Horrors Like Sexual Abuse in Your Memoir

I believe that we need to examine our reasons for deciding to include and to exclude the things that ultimately land in our published memoirs. Yesterday, I discussed the book Game Over, which exposed the Pennsylvania coach Sandusky Here.  Apparently, that book had a great impact on ending years of sexual abuse and violations that were being swept under Penn’s rug. The movieSpotlight performed the same sort of civic service. In many cases, however, people were sexually abused by others who have died before the abused publish their memoirs. There are other types of sexual abuses that were limited to a specific period of time and have discontinued. Afterwards, a generation or two of innocent family members were probably born, and reporting some instances of abuse may harm more people than it helps.

When there is nothing to gain from blowing a  public whistle decades after an unfortunate series of events took place, silence may be advocated–simply to protect the people who are in the line of fallout. Writing about one’s abuse is no doubt helpful, but publishing that writing is something else.  It would seem to me that in some cases, the primary reason to include one’s sexual or other abuse in a published memoir would simply be a way to get revenge. Otherwise, it might be a bit of sensationalism to gather attention or at least, to beg for sympathy.  No doubt, all of this might result in more sales, but in all of these latter cases, I question what is good writing and what is something else entirely.

Bottom line about lying in memoirs is that yes, I do believe that Lying in Memoirs is Cheating.

Omission in Memoir Is Not Always Cheating.

I do not, however, believe that when we elect to omit sordid details from our memories that we are always Cheating. Perhaps, sometimes in omission, we cheat ourselves, but that does not have to be the case. As I said before, I respect the writer’s freedom to choose what he will and will not elect to publish.

©Jacki Kellum August 28, 2016

This was originally published on Blog to Memoir, my blog about writing Here.

Cheat

City Traffic – One Way Streets & Other Types of Chaos – Including Writer’s Block

No doubt, traffic is the worst thing about living in the Northeast, and the traffic in northeastern cities is unfathomable. To make matters worse, almost all of the city streets are one-way. When I am driving in the city, I am constantly circling the blocks, trying to find an arrow pointed in the direction that I want to go, and at least once per day, I make a mistake and pull into an alley or begin to edge down the wrong passage.

Image result for traffic on philadelphia street

When I finally get on the right street, I have to dodge the jaywalkers and then suddenly, without warning, some kook will stop and park–right in the middle of the street, and I am the car right behind him. Working myself out of that kind of buttonhole is definitely a challenge. Unfortunately, without a great deal of imagination, I can see that in life, I often find myself in the same types of tight spots–trying to figure out my next best move.

holland_tunnel_jacki_kellum_1000

Not long after I moved to the North, I accidentally got into the lines of traffic that were headed into the Holland Tunnel, and of course, that traffic only goes one way. I had driven to North Jersey to take my son to a camp, and I thought that I was headed back to South Jersey. I began to notice that the cars were moving slower and were edging closer and closer toward me. They had gotten uncomfortably close. I had never driven in New York City, and at that time, I hadn’t even driven much in Philadelphia. City traffic scared me to death. I reached a toll booth, and I am sure that fear was scrawled across my face and I timidly asked the lady at the booth, “Is this the way to Atlantic City?”

“Oh, No, Honey,” she chortled “This is the Holland Tunnel. You’re heading into New York City.”

I nearly cried. “Please, can you do anything to get me out of here?”

That saintly lady literally stopped the traffic and got me turned around. Just before I darted away, I explained, “I’m from Mississippi. We have cows, not cars,” and she laughed. The entire freeway rang with her laughter.

That was a close call, and unfortunately, I all too often find myself tangled in the webs of my mistakes. The upside of this scenario, however, is that until now [knock on wood], I have always managed to survive. All of my life, I have heard that when cats fall, they always land on their feet. I never tested the theory, but I wonder if it is true and I wonder whether this tidbit about cats is part of understanding a greater truth about life. Regardless of how wildly I spin through my own universe–regardless of how many times I flip and flail through the air–and regardless of how far I manage to fall, I always seem to land on my feet, too. When I finally learned to believe that things in life do tend to work out, I became calmer in simply living.

Worry is like a rocking chair. It requires a lot of work, and it gets you nowhere.

At times in my life, I have been a worrier. In fact, I still find myself being anxious too much of the time, but I am getting better. In my observation, worriers have a lot of fear. Sometimes we cannot tell who in society is overly anxious and who is not. Some people who worry a lot are extremely successful in business and they seem to have everything in control, but beneath a control freak’s facade, there often lies a fear that at any moment, his entire world is going to implode.

Among other things, control freaks are perfectionists and are afraid of making mistakes, and because of that, they are terrified at the prospect of loosening the reins with which they control everything about themselves, including the people around.

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

At times in my life, I was more of a perfectionist and more concerned with control than I am now. It is an exhausting lifestyle.  The good news is that absolute control is not necessary. It is not even good. A little chaos is actually a better thing. Because of my creative nature, I have never been completely in control. Einstein makes me feel better about my being chaotic.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign? ” – Einstein

The control freak would look down upon the creative’s chaos, thinking that the chaotic is weaker than he, the one in control. In reality, it is the creative [his chaos and all] who should question those who cannot function without absolute order. I wonder about the strength of a person who can only function in limited, controlled environments.

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

While the orderly are excellent at attending to facts in their limited constructs, the creatives are the ones who invent those constructs. Without the inventiveness of the chaotic creative, the orderly businessman would have nothing to sell.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

Inventing is a chaotic business.

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.” ― Mary Shelley

And inventing requires a process of free-fall during which ideas spin and twist and contort, and sometimes, the ideas finally land on their feet. Yet, sometimes, they do not. Hear me: that is ok. It is ok that some of our ideas work and that others do not. Fear of making mistakes causes a painter to quit painting and it causes writer’s block. The victor is the person who can re-examine what he has done, toss some things away, and save the better stuff to polish into a pearl. This is an artist’s life and it is a writer’s life. Embrace the challenge. Let yourself flow.

©Jacki Kellum August 27, 2016

Mistake

blog-memoir-follow-300

Originally Published on Blog to Memoir, my blog site that is primarily dedicated to writing Here

Tips for Writing Memoir – Simply Step Back and Witness Your Own Life

Most people have experienced things that make them cringe when  they recall them. I know that I have some terrible memories, and for many years, I tried to write about those memories, but when I initially began writing about my past, I wanted to whine and I wanted to bash my tormentors. Initially, my memory writing was angry and self-absorbing. The more that I stirred my pity pot, the thicker that the mush got, and like quicksand, the darkness of my memories would begin to suck me deep into some bottomless pit. Fortunately, I have been able to walk away from that place, and I have reached a time that my writing about my past has alchemized.

For the past several months, I have been teaching a bricks and mortar class in Memoir Writing, and on the first day, I told my students that a memoir is not the same thing as an autobiography. An autobiography is a fairly chronological and straightforward overview of a person’s history. It tells when a person was born and where he lived when and what he did. In an autobiography, the writer does not reflect on the events of his life. He merely states them. A memoir is not told in straightforward, chronological fashion, and it is much more of a reflection upon one’s life than it is a telling of its historical events–one date at a time.

People have written autobiography for years. For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would want to read “Just the Facts” of someone’s life. Perhaps that would be good for a 5th grader’s history report, but a sterile recitation of dates does not interest me. By the same token, there is something unattractive about a writer’s wallowing around in his own self-pity.  I believe that it is safe to say that a Memoir is not a Tell-All and yet, it is much more than a statement of sterilized facts. No doubt, a memoir writer’s first job is to decide what he will and will not write about his life, and his second job is to find some way to frame the emotional realness of the substance of his life in a way that his story does not become a pitiful plea for sympathy.

russell_baker

inventing_the_truth_zinsser

In an interview with William Zinsser, Russell Baker, the columnist for the New York Times and the author of Growing Up said the following:

The autobiographer’s problem is that he knows too much–he knows the whole iceberg, not just the tip.

William Zinsser added that the memoirist has a crucial need to distil. “But selectivity will not solve the problem, as Baker discovered when he wrote the first draft of Growing Up, using the reflexes of a lifelong journalist. What he [initially] wrote was a ‘reporter’s book,’ recreating the Depression after interviewing his older relatives who lived through it. What he left out, with a reporter’s propriety, was his mother and himself–in short, the story. That disastrous first version, he saw, not only had to be rewritten from scratch; his life had to be reinvented.” Zinsser, William. Inventing the Truth, p. 15.

” Russell Baker is the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner for Distinguished Commentary and a columnist for The New York Times. This book traces his youth in the mountains of rural Virginia.

“When Baker was only five, his father died. His mother, strong-willed and matriarchal, never looked back. After all, she had three children to raise.

“These were depression years, and Mrs. Baker moved her fledgling family to Baltimore. Baker’s mother was determined her children would succeed, and we know her regimen worked for Russell. He did everything from delivering papers to hustling subscriptions for the Saturday Evening Post. As is often the case, early hardships made the man. ” Amazon

 

Zinsser continued his discussion of the memoirist’s need to distil the events of his life:

“Annie Dillard, author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, was completing her memoir, An American Childhood, which was about what it feels like to wake up and notice that you’ve been ‘set down in a going world.’ Situating her Pittsburgh girlhood in the larger framework of the American landscape, ‘the vast setting of our common history,’ she also wrestled, as Baker did, with the problem of what to put in and what t o leave out. ‘I’ve learned all sort of things, quite inadvertently, about myself and various relationships.’ But some of those things were learned far from the locale she had chosen for her story–in Wyoming, for instance, where she spent one summer as a teenager. ‘I keep the action in Pittsburgh. I see no reason to drag everybody off to Wyoming just because I want to tell them about my vacation. You have to take pains in a memoir not to hang on the reader’s arm, like a drunk, and say, ‘And then I did this and it was so interesting.” Zinsser, Inventing the Truth, pgs. 15 – 16.

” A book that instantly captured the hearts of readers across the country, An American Childhood is Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard’s poignant, vivid memoir of growing up in Pittsburgh in the 1950s.” Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is the story of a dramatic year in Virginia’s Roanoke Valley. Annie Dillard sets out to see what she can see. What she sees are astonishing incidents of “beauty tangled in a rapture with violence.”

Her personal narrative highlights one year’s exploration on foot in the Virginia region through which Tinker Creek runs. In the summer, Dillard stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall, she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays King of the Meadow with a field of grasshoppers. The result is an exhilarating tale of nature and its seasons.”

 

Zinsser says the following about Kazin:

“Memoir was the door that Kazin says he walked through to claim his American birthright, reading books such as The Education of Henry Adams, Thoreau’s Walde and his journals, Emerson’s journals and essays, and Walt Whitman’ Civil War diary Specimen Days. What struck Kazin was how personal those early writers were; they used the most intimate literary forms to place themselves in the fabric of American history. Their books brought Kazin the news that was to shape his life: ‘One could be a writer without writing a novel.  Every taxi driver and bartender who told yo his story wanted to be a novelist, it was the big thing in American.’ ” Zinsser, William. Inventing the Truth, pgs. 16-17.

 ” Kazin’s memorable description of his life as a young man as he makes the journey from Brooklyn to ‘americanca’-the larger world that begins at the other end of the subway in Manhattan. A classic portrayal of the Jewish immigrant culture of the 1930s. Drawings by Marvin Bileck.” Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Ian Frazier represents all the writers who inherit a vast hoard of family papers and mementos going back many generatoins and wonder  how to even begin to weed it all out and shape it into a coherent story. Frazier started Family after his parents died within a year of each other, leaving an apartment in Ohio in which nothing had been thrown away. ‘Objects suggest narrative,’ Frazier says, and for two and a half years he dug like a paleontologist through his parents’ hundreds of letters and artifacts–old neckties and purses and theater programs and Navy ID cards– to ‘infer the culture they came from and its plot’ and thereby give meaning to their lives. ” Zinsser, William. Inventing the Truth, p. 19.

With wit and an unerring eye for detail, acclaimed author Ian Frazier takes readers on a journey through his family’s story, his nation’s history, and himself

Using letters and other family documents, Frazier reconstructs two hundred years of middle-class life, visiting small towns his ancestors lived in, reading books they read, and discovering the larger forces of history that affected them. He observes some of them during the British raid on Danbury, Connecticut, in the Revolutionary War; he follows others west as they pioneer in the wilderness of Ohio and Indiana; he visits the battlefields where they fought the Civil War. Frazier interviews old-timers, uncles, aunts, cousins, maids, and a beer-store owner who knew his dad. He pursues the family saga in aspect from trivial to grand, hoping for “a meaning that would defeat death.”

Family is a poetic epic of facts, a chronicle of Protestant culture’s rise and fall, a memorial, and a revised view of American history as romantic as it is cold-eyed.

“Mr. Frazier, in this remarkable history of an unremarkable family, plays both roles, the gossip and the pedant, balances skillfully, then adds his own insights as a loyal family member.” ―David Willis McCullough, The New York Times Book Review Amazon

From Publishers Weekly

Simpson here examines orphanhood, her own and within the culture. The author (The Maze, etc.), who early on lost both parents, describes how she grew up believing herself relatively untouched by the deprivation. Later the loss of her husband prompted recollections of her pastthe custody fight involving her and her sister; the time they spent in a New York convent school as unwitting orphan which leads to the catharsis of rage and the admission of acceptance. The second part of the book comprises a history of orphanhood that discusses the role of orphans in history, literature and film. In the interweaving of the two parts, Simpson records the anguish of “all who have been improperly born, or who, with or without parents, feel orphaned.” This is a sensitive, illuminating exploration of a many-sided subject.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
 zinsser
Zinsser discusses the very emotional struggle that Eileen Simpson had with her writing of the book Orphans.
“Eileen Simpson represents all the memoir writers who incur what they know will be considerable pain to repossess their past….To write Orphans, a memoir that recalls her upbringing without parents, she did historical research on orphanhood that became so traumatic and she abandoned the book several times….What saved he in all three [of her] books was the knowledge, learned in her separate career as a psychotherapist, that eh past is best confronted–a good lesson for all memoir writers apprehensive about opening Pandora’s box.” Zinsser, William. Inventing the Truth, p. 18.
All of the essays included in Zinsser’s collection of essays are excellent, but it is in the Introduction that I read several points that are significant for memoir writers.
  • Memoir writers must distil the events of their lives and select what is best for their memoir.
  • Memoir writers must get personal and they must examine more than the superficial stuff of their lives.
  • Memoir writers need to examine the artifacts of their lives, as well as their memories.
  • Memoir writing can be painful, but the pain requires to examine one’s past is worthwhile.

walkers-486583_1920-Tennyson

Like Eileen Simpson, for years, the ghosts of my own past scared me away from telling my story. For too long, I approached my memoir writing in the wrong way. I believed that I was supposed to jump back into what I perceived to be a bottomless pit of not-so-pleasant memories. and I thought that it was my quest to wrestle to the death the monsters that I believed were still there
.
What I have learned, however,  is that I’ll never wrestle all of my bad memories to death. And here is the news flash: I don’t want to do that anymore. All of my memories are part of who I am.
When I try to kill one part of myself, I simply allow a section of being  to slip into a simmering pot of sadness or of anger that is always lurking somewhere just below the surface of who I am.  As Faulkner said, “The past is not even past.” Accept that reality. The past will never be totally past, and every person’s best alternative is to learn how to live with one’s past–to bring it out into the open and simply to LIVE with it.
For people who are just beginning to write about their pasts and who are tripping over the memories that are still painful for them, I have a suggestion. When examining your past, step back a bit and simply be a fly on your own wall. Try not to get bogged down in the drama of what happened and what did not happen. I am not suggesting that you become numb about your past, but until your memories are less painful for you, simply step back and try to look at your life objectively. Pretend that you are your own psychotherapist and step away from your own couch. Objectively witness your own life. Take notes. And then write.
©Jacki Kellum August 26, 2016

Witness

I initially published this on my new blog site that is dedicated to the writing process: http://www.blogtomemoir.com/

 

Your Memory Is A Treasure Chest. It Is More Than the Ghosts of Your Past

I believe that memory is the well-spring of the intuition, and for that reason, I am convinced that it is every writer’s greatest resource. For people who are writing memoir, the memory is certainly essential, but I believe that all writers would benefit from examining their pasts. When I say that, however, I am not talking about inner childhood work. That is work for another arena. No doubt, all of us have ghosts in our pasts–ghosts that need to be exorcised, but our memories are filled with other things, too. Don’t allow the fact that you have some bad memories scare you away from looking at your own personal history. In other words, “Don’t throw ou the baby with the bath water.”

blog_memoir_find_your_past_jacki_kellum

On October 1, 2016, I’ll be hosting a Free Writing Event that will center around examining our memories. Blog to Memoir: Find Your Path is the first of four successive events that is designed to help writers take a healthy look at their memories and to use those memories as building blocks to improve their writing. This course is designed for all writers and not merely for writers of memoir.

What This Course Is Not

This course will not be your confessional. It will not challenge you to write a series of tell-all’s, and it will not dare you to slice open your veins and bleed. it is not the place where you will continue to pound your ghosts on the head. This course is not about some radical therapy, and it will not be a substitute for Alcoholics Anonymous, for joining Codependency Groups and for seeing your mental health professional. When I suggest that you look into your past, I am not prodding you to exorcise all of the demons that are there. That is someone else’s job.

What This Course Is – It Is the Place to Move On from Your Past

This course is a logical next step for many people who have already identified that things were not perfect for them when they were children. This course is for people who are ready  to move on. It is not for people who want to continue to wallow in the pain of their pasts. It is for people who want alchemize the experiences of their childhood and to allow them to transform into gold.

Phase 1: Find Your Path is a Double-Edged Sword

Each day, during Find Your Path, I’ll be providing you with two completely different types of challenges. A great deal is expected from 21st-Century writers. Because many people are highly educated now and also because of the influence of the Internet, there are a plethora of people who want to write; consequently, would-be writers are faced with a great deal of competition. Writers today are also expected to do their own marketing. Regardless of your the subject matter of your writing, you also must begin paving a professional path. You must begin to develop your writer’s platform.

Blog to Memoir: Find Your Path have a dual perspective. Each Day of the course, you will have two challenges One of the challenges will be labeled “Path.” That is where you will find the writing exercise for the day. The other challenge will be labeled “Platform.” That is where you will be directed to perform at least one task that will help you begin to develop your Writer’s Platform. Find Your Path is Phase 1 of a 4-Part Challenge.

memoir-poster

As you might expect, Phase 1 of Blog to Memoir: Find Your Path is the simplest of the four phases. In fact, as you complete the first half of the daily writings for Find Your Path, you will probably begin to balk, feeling that you have not been challenged and that you are possibly wasting your time. It is important that you do ALL of the writing exercises, however–even the ones that seem ridiculously simple. There is a method in my madness. The initially very simple and non-threatening writing exercises are designed to overcome problems that writers often have developed.

Writer’s Block

Most of us are plagued by writer’s block to one extent or another. Most of us have been bullied by our Self-Editors, and most of us are a little bit leery of writing because of our Self-Editors.

Writing with Pretty but Meaningless Words

Others of us may have formed some bad writing habits. We may have begun to cloak our passages with pretty, but meaningless images.

Writing What You Believe that People Want or Expect You to Write

We may have a tendency to write what we believe that other people want to read.

Writing that is Safe

One of the worst mistakes that a writer can make is that of failing to take a stand.

Writing that is Superficial

Many of us are slightly afraid to peer into some of our darker corners, and we may have developed a tendency to write about abstractions and about things that aren’t terribly personal. In that regard, examining your memory will help you open another level of subject matter and will pull back some obstacles that might be constructed because of bad memories.

By writing all of the responses to the very simple and almost safe prompts in Phase 1 of the Blog to Memoir Course, you will gradually break out of some of the negative behaviors that I have outlined above. After about a week of writing, I’ll begin to explain things that you need to know about these behaviors and about why you need to write more authentically. To begin, however, you will simply write. Your initial writings will be short and sweet, and you will use your extra time to Build Your Writer’s Platform.

©Jacki Kellum August 17, 2016
Ghost

Allow Your Writing to Carry You Deep Within Yourself

On one of my new WordPress.org blog sites, I posted my thoughts on how our writing can carry us all around the world Here

Blog_to_increase_SEO_jacki_kellum

Before that, I wrote about how our writing is like a Time Machine that carries back and forth in time Here

The most important place that our wrting takes us, however, is to deeper places inside ourselves, and our intuitions are the ships that carry us there. Our memories are the fuel that drives that ship.

I often write about the Intuition, and about my own work, I describe it as a type of muse that is released on my good writing and good painting days. I compare the Intuition to something that Michelangelo has been quoted as having said:

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo

michelangelo

When I am in my painter’s zone, something within me arises and begins to guide my hand, directing me–a little red over here, splash!–a slash of blue there, slash!–save that white spot there, etc. When I am in my writer’s zone, the same kind of intrinsic power–or the same spirit is released, and this essence does the heavy lifting when I write.

“I’m not in control of my muse. My muse does all the work.”- Ray Bradbury

42 years ago, I earned a master’s degree in English, with an emphasis in writing, but I didn’t actually begin to write until about seven months ago. Before that time, I had pursued painting. In October of 2015, I began to write, and I have been surprised by how easy that writing has been for me. It is interesting that before I began to write, I did not read much at all. Seven months after I have begun writing, I am now allowing myself the time to read and to study what other people have written, or in the case of the Ancients, have said.

Socrates, Innate Ideas, and Maieutics

Recently, I began to review some of the things that Socrates said, and I am sensing that in describing his theory of Maieutics, Socrates was talking about the Muse or the Intuition. Maieutics is literally translated as midwifery, and Socrates’s mother was a midwife. When Socrates spoke about Maieutics in regard to his work, however, he was talking about giving birth to the innate ideas that he believed were within himself. He beleieved everyone else had similar innate ideas. I believe that in talking about the Innate Ideas, Socrates was talking about the Intuition or what others might describe as the Muse.

“You always need that spark of imagination. Sometimes I’m midway through a book before it happens. However, I don’t wait for the muse to descend, I sit down every day and I work when I’m not delivering lambs on the farm.” –
Barbara Kingsolver

I am firmly convinced that a type of creative angel does lie within each of us and that as we begin the process of writing or painting or sculpting or dancing, we release that muse, and the muse takes on a life of its own. It is important to note, however, that it is through the work that we tap into the muse. In other words: “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” In regards to writing, the work of simply writing comes first, and the muse follows.

“One reason I don’t suffer Writer’s Block is that I don’t wait on the muse, I summon it at need.” – Piers Anthony

When people say that they only write when they are in the mood to write, they are missing something very important. In fact, they are cheating themselves. In writing, “the mood” or the muse evolves after we begin to write. Perpetuating the myth that we can postpone writing until we are in the mood to write is buying into a falsehood. That is why many writers advocate writing morning pages. Most people who actually succeed with their writing careers say that in order to pop the cork that is bottling all of the things that are within themselves, they must first begin to write. Gradually, the mood or the muse or the intuition takes over, and the writer is unblocked.

Writing is a spiritual practice in that people that have no spiritual path can undertake it and, as they write, they begin to wake up to a larger connection. After a while, people tend to find that there is some muse that they are connecting to. Julia Cameron

As I said before, our memories are the best ways for us to access our muses, and for that reason, I suggest that all writers explore their pasts. In our pasts, we have enormous reservoirs of images and feelings stored, and the easiest and most authenticate way to write is to draw from the reservoir ta=that is already inside yourself. That is especially helpful in writing descriptively

When I write descriptively, I literally close my eyes, and I see something inside my mind. While my eyes are still closed, I type the words that describe what I see in my head. That is how I wrote the following:

The Lamp in the Foyer

A spindly and too-thin five-year-old tiptoed across the floor, and the wide, wooden planks creaked and groaned. As Dood walked, she released the smell of old and oily wood from the floorboards. The little girl had spied Grandma’s glass lamp across the foyer, and she had headed toward it. Dood loved to trace her fingers around the red roses that were painted on each of the lamp’s orbs, and that was how the moment began.

Even though it was mid-day and the lamp was not lit, the scent of kerosene and charred wick was still heavy from the night before. A fringe of  diamond-like pendants hung from around the lamp’s upper globe. Dood reached outward and pulled one of the crystals back and let it go, and the dangling shards bounced into each other. One after another, the pieces of glass clinked and jingled. The mirror, that was behind the rosy lamp, caught the rippling reflection and flung it back into the room. Like fireflies, the light flickered from wall to wall.

A stained glass window was mounted in the heavy oak frame that was perched at the top of the front door. A wave of bright sunlight streamed through the multi-colored panels and at the same time, a gust of wind blew through the hallway, causing the colorful light from the stained glass window to skip across the floor and into the mirror. A kaleidoscope of color bounced across the crystal fringe, and like a circus carousel,the pendants of glass rattled and danced more wildly. Tiny, little rainbows rollicked around and around and around.

©Jacki Kellum August 5, 2016

Although the above passage is ostensibly about my mother when she was a child and living in her grandmother’s home, it is actually a description of my own memories. I don’t have a copy of my mother’s memories within myself, and my intuition cannot depict what my mother saw and heard. My intuition was not around when my mother was a child. The glass lamp that I described was my mother’s lamp, and as a little girl, I loved to trace my fingers around the roses that were painted on the orbs.

I believe that it is not uncommon for people to describe their own experiences within their writings of historical fiction or biography. When a person strives to write about someone else’s past, it becomes historical fiction to one extent or another. We can never fully know the experiences of another person.

James Fennimore Cooper wrote The Last of the Mohicans and several other books that were set in the area around his home in upstate New York. In one of the books, he wrote about how the Native Americans would canoe to a big boulder to meet. This big boulder is Council Rock, which is an actual rock that is very near Cooper’s childhood home. The description of the rock in Cooper’s writing of historical fiction is beautiful and when we know that Cooper had first-hand experiences with the rock, we have little doubt that in writing what is supposedly fiction, Cooper was describing from his own memories.

For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known…
I am a part of all that I have met…Alred Lord Tennyson – Ulysses
Most people would probably agree that when we write about what we know, we are able to write more vividly. I believe that much of this is linked to the fact that when we are in the Writing Zone, our intuitions take over and begin to write for us. In order for this to happen, we must have a bank of images within ourselves, and when the intuition begins to describe, it  dives deep within and paints pictures of what it sees that is already there, and that is the value of writing about your past. Even if you never intend to write memoir or historical fiction, it is an excellent way to learn to write more authentially–to tell your own story and not one that you think that you should be writing.
Allow me to share another writing exerise–another way to access your intuition and write from that. This exercise involves “Finding” poems in prose that has been written by someone else. I tried finding a poem last night. Here is how the exercise works:

To “Find” a poem, the poet should pick up any piece of prose. [It must be prose] And he should graze through the words and select some that are particularly striking to him. Then, he should proceed to rearrange the words in a system of lines and stanzas that make sense to him. Don’t be frightened by the poem that you are about to read. I have not shifted to the Dark Side. What I am about to share are simply the words that jumped out at me, after I read 2 pages in the book that was on top of a heap that I had brought home free from the library.

snakes_jacki_kellum_poetry

The Snakes
by Jacki Kellum
Christen them. Name them.
Torture them, Stick pins through their hearts,
Or wring their necks,
At the Black Masses.

Rooster Blood.

The Devil, Wagner, Voodoo, and Holy Rollers,
They all dance around the ring.
Serpents, Ghosts, Witches, Trees
And dolls made of wax, clay, or rags.

3, 12, and 13.

There is music and drumming.
Witches, demons, night, sensuality, and evil,
Horrifying and magnificent, the secrets.
The shadows of our minds.

The snakes.

©Jacki Kellum August 15, 2016

_________________________________________________________________

About a month ago, I brought home a stack of old books that my library was throwing away. When I decided to try to “find” a poem, I literally picked up the first book on a stack of books inside my house, and I picked most of the words in the poem “The Snakes” from a 2-page spread  of probably 300 or 400 words. Granted, the book itself has a poetic quality about it [but it is still prose]. It is Volume 1 of an Encyclopedia- Man, Myth, & Magic, a book that was published in 1970.  I selected most of the poem’s words from pages 4 and 5. I have only read about 18 pages of the book, and every word that I recorded in “The Snakes” was somewhere within those first 18 pages.

©Jacki Kellum August 15, 2016

How is Finding A Poem Related to Writing from the Intition?

The words tat I recorded above are the words that stood out to me, and I based my choice on things that have happened in my past or on things that I find interesting. Another person would look at the same pages and select a different set of words. I selecting the words, our intuitions guide us. In placing the words in a way that is meaningful to us, the intuition guides us again. Our intutions are fundamental writing tools and they are linked to our pasts.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I cannot refrain from saying again and again, that our most penetrating and our most exquisite writing lies within our own memories. In examining our pasts, we reclaim our authentic voices. Too often painters go to Italy and paint the orange homes that hang from the cliffs there or they go to the Alps or to Paris to paint. When we paint best, however, we paint what we live daily; and the same thing is true in writing. We need to write what we know. But the first part of that equation is to know the person who writes. Your intuition is the ship that will carry you to the place that you actually and authentically know, and your memory fuels that ship.
©Jacki Kellum August 16, 2016

 

Carry

Your Self-Editor Is Your Worst Enemy. It Makes You Afraid to Write

A few moments ago, I wrote about the problems that occur when a writer allows his Self-Editor to step in too soon during the writing process.  A few days ago, I wrote about Fear. Allow me to share what Barbara de Angelis says about Fear. I believe that you will see how Your Self-Editor can make you Afraid to Write.

“Imagine that you had a person in your life who followed you around twenty-four hours a day, filling you with anxiety, destroying your confidence, and discouraging you from doing the things that you wanted to do. Every time you were about to make a change or take a risk, the person would say, ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you. What if you fail? What if you get hurt? All kinds of things might happen if you go in that direction.’ Imagine that before each conversation you had with friends, family, or loved ones, the person would pull you aside and caution you. ‘If you open up, you might get rejected. Watch what you say! Don’t trust anyone! . . . ” Barbara De Angelis

Isn’t this exactly what happens, as soon as your Self-Editor steps into the writing process?

fear_smiley_jacki_kellum_900

Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night.

“It’s your fear. Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night. It talks to you, manipulates you, and tries to convince you to avoid doing or expressing anything that may cause you any kind of discomfort or involve any sort of risk. It says, ‘You can’t’ . . . and ‘You shouldn’t.,’ and it eats away at your confidence and your self-esteem. It tells you not to act, not to reach out, not to try, not to trust, not to move. It steals the life right out from under you. . . .” Barbara De Angelis

Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness.

“Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness. How does fear do that? It keeps you stuck in what’s not working. It prevents you from growing. It keeps separation between you and other people. It talks you out of your dreams. It keeps you stagnant, frozen, unable to become all you were meant to be. . . .” Barbara De Angelis

Someone commented on my previous post about the Self-Editor, saying that all too often, she has confused her writer with her Self-Editor. I responded that all of us have done that. I am also a painter, and the Self-Editor loves to control that arena, too. I’ll say it again:Your Self-Editor is a writer’s worst enemy. As Barbara De Angelis said, “It keeps you stuck in what’s not working. It prevents you from growing….It keeps you stagnant, frozen, unable to become all you were meant to be….”

Barbara de Angelis was talking about Fear, but she could very well have been talking about my Self-Editor. Here is the best advice I’ll ever give you. Strip the Self-Editor of his power TODAY! Things will not resolve themselves. You have to take back your power and simply write. The longer that you wait to do that, the greater the shackles will grow around you. If you don’t take control of your own right to express yourself, your Self-Editor may soon completely Silence you. He silenced me for many years, and it has taken every bit of my strength to break the chains of my own silence. Don’t make that mistake. “Silence, like a cancer, grows.” – Paul Simon – Sounds of Silence

©Jacki Kellum August 15, 2016

 

There is a Time to Write and a Time to Edit – Don’t Try to Mix the Two

I have talked to a number of people about what they are calling Writer’s Block, but I believe that they are confusing writing with editing. I believe that what many people call writer’s block is actually editor’s block. One of my best pieces of advice for writing is to remember this: There is a Time to Write and a Time to Edit – Don’t Try to Mix the Two.

Especially for the creative writer and the blogger, I advocate free writing. When I decide what my topic will be, I simply begin to write. I don’t pause to worry about how to spell this or that, and I don’t worry about commas. During the very earliest part of writing something, I don’t even spend much time trying to put the gerund phrases where they belong and trying to avoid splitting infinitives. This will probably sound odd to many, but throughout my writing process, I often close my eyes and simply type. When I am trying to describe something, that works especially well. It also works when I am trying to hush my Self-Editor.  During the first stages of writing, simply write. Save the editing for later.

Just keep going like crazy and look back when it’s over. Otherwise you just get confused. – Cliff Burton-

Don’t get me wrong. There IS a time for editing. In my opinion, editing is not a pleasant experience and that is why we should never mix our editing with our writing.

“While writing is like a joyful release, editing is a prison where the bars are my former intentions and the abusive warden my own neuroticism.” ― Tiffany Madison

When you write, you should allow your mind and your spirit to flow freely. You should allow yourself to reach as far as you can reach and to explore. If you begin editing too soon in your process, you will prevent yourself from soaring, and you will slam your creative brakes too soon, thus starving your mind to death.

800px-We_Can_Edit

After you have finished writing, it is time to put on your gloves and to begin editing. For me, editing is much more difficult than writing. In fact, I KNOW that I have Editor’s Block. I’ll do just about anything to keep from editing my work, but even the most creative of us can edit as well as we can write. The two processes are simply different.

“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” – Colette

While we are writing, we should allow our words to dance freely and when we edit, we should scrutinize ourselves, but we should never try to mix the two.

©Jacki Kellum August 15, 2016
Confused

Just A Simple Reminder: Harness Google Today to Increase Your SEO or Search Engine Optimization

One of the greatest myths that we creatives would like to believe is that it is not really necessary to play the SEO Game, but allow me to remind you of how great that myth actually is.

In preparing for my upcoming Free Blogging Events, I decided that I needed to put some teeth into what I already knew to be true. I searched to see exactly how many searches are performed each day on Google. The number of responses to that query was enormous. I’ll begin with this response from  STACY LIBERATORE FOR DAILYMAIL.COM, June 27, 2016, Here

 What happens in an internet second:

54,907 Google searches,
7,252 tweets,
125,406 YouTube video views
2,501,018 emails sent
729 photos to Instagram
2,177 calls made via Skype
20,000 people on Facebook and five more open an account in one second

About 46.1% of the world is online, which is about 3.4 billion people

In 1998, Google was only serving 10,000 search queries each day.

Yesterday, I posted the results of a recent Census report showing how much money is being made on the Internet, as of 2016:

e-commerce_stats_2016

e-commerce_stats_2016b

During the FIRST QUARTER of 2016, $92.8 billion was earned as a result of the e-commerce. 

The only way to make money on the Internet is to be found, and Google is the key to being found.

blogging-645219_640.jpg

I have posted several times about using Google’s Keyword Search Tools to be found online and about the importance of Blogging to help accomplish that task. To help understand how to use Google Keyword Planning, check this post Here

©Jacki Kellum August 14, 2016

 

 

 

Be Wary of Books & People Who Suggest That You Can Write A Book in 30 Days

I have good news and bad news. In spite of all of the hype and in spite of all of the people who are selling you books saying that you can write a book in 30 days, you really cannot. It takes a lifetime to write a book, and it takes at least several months to capture oneself for the pages of a book. I know, Amazon is selling dozens of books that swear that if you will buy this book or that, you can write a novel or a memoir or some other kind of book in 30 days, but I would have to challenge that claim. People who had already been writing the book for a great deal of time, before the 30 days began ticking away, might be able to pull something together in a month, but I really doubt that anyone can discover a new idea and write about it and edit it and sequence it within that short amount of time. Writing a book is simply more complicated than that, and that is the bad news. The good news is that I have created a more do-able plan for writing a book of memoir, and beginning October 1, you can participate in a Free Run of the Entire Course, which will require several months to complete.

memoir-poster

The First Challenge for Writing Your Memoir Is Rediscovering What It Is That Truly Makes You Tick–It Is Rediscovering What Separates You from the Herd.

blog_memoir_find_your_past_jacki_kellum

Great writing is deliberate and specific, and poor writing is generalized. One of the biggest mistakes that a writer can make is to write about things that seem to interest everyone else but that only vaguely interests himself. That is like being the person who always tries to please everyone and who continuously straddles the fence. Invariably, the fence straddlers are those people who want to please everyone and in doing so, they please no one at all.

“You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln

In the current realm of Social Media, where being “liked” becomes the raison d’etre, it becomes tempting to simply chit chat when we write. In other words, it becomes tempting to use meaningless words that won’t offend anyone at all. Being liked is important to most people. It has certainly always been important for me, and at times, I have stayed in the middle of the road–striving to please everyone, but I didn’t even like myself when I was doing that.

During my teen years, I jumped through hoop after hoop, hoping to be liked. Most people do that when they are teens. Being a teenager in America is difficult, and because of social media, we are somewhat trapped into being a perpetual teen. Facebook is a prime example of that. Facebook is a place where we contine liking or disliking people by the mere clicks of our mouse. How 7th grade is that!

I want to be liked, and I dislike, as much as anyone else, for people to disagree with me. I do not even like the conflict of disagreeing with others, but I decided long ago that I would not be a person who has no opinions. People without opinions are like piles of mashed potatoes. The life has been boiled and whipped completely out of them. People who continuously ride the fence either have not thought deeply enough to formulate an opinion, or they are living a lie–trying to hide behind the veil of seeming to have no opinion. We must have opinions. We must take a stand in life. In taking a stand, we can be differentiated from the faceless mob. The only way to be meaningful in life is to let your life mean–to let it actually stand–and to stand out.

In taking a stand, our lives can be differentiated. In taking stands in life, we do more than exist–we mean. The only way to be meaningful in life is to allow your life to mean. – Jacki Kellum

There will be people who absolutely hate us for our opinions; but in taking stands in life, we also offer other people something concrete to love. We become more than wobbling globs of jello. When writers dare to take a stand in life, they offer their readers an authentic mind. They offer them words that have meaning, and they offer their readers a vital and feeling heart that has the capacity to care. People who ride the fence do not have those things to give. They are empty; they are flat; they are zero. Risking being disliked by a few is essential to becoming more than a pile of mashed potatoes.

Herein lies the key: If you try to please all of the people all of the time, you have elected to stand for nothing yourself. To stand for something is to get off the fence–out of the middle of the road.

“Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.” – Margaret Thatcher

“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”– Margaret Thatcher

For several weeks, I have been promising that I’ll be launching a Free Writing Class or Blogging Event on October 1, 2016, and I initially called that event Mine Your Memories: Find Your Voice. Because it seemed to be the trend, I suggested in the title of the event that within 36 days of participating in the course, writers would have found their voices and would have potentially written an entire book. As I began pulling the material for the course together, however, I realized that the idea that anyone can write a book in 36 days or less is hog wash.

As I said before, writing a book is complicated. The process of extracting oneself from the middle of the road and discovering what it is that you truly want to write is a complicated process, and that is only the first step. But it is the crucial first step of rediscovering what truly makes you tick and rediscovering what is unique about yourself. This is a complicated and soul-searching process. It is a time-consuming unfolding of oneself and of looking at what lurks inside. The good news, however, is that valid and authentic and deliberate writing is an excellent way to allow that unveiling to take place. Beginning on October 1, 2016, in Find Your Path, my readers and I will thrust ourselves into the process of exploring our memories and our minds to rediscover our authentic selves.

“The only way to be meaningful in life is to allow your life to mean.” – Jacki Kellum

Beginning October 1, I’ll share 36 days of writing prompts with the participants of the event, and in responding deliberately and truthfully to the prompts, the writers will begin to rediscover who they actually are, and that is the first step toward writing the books that continuously well up inside yourself, begging to be written

blog_memoir_paint_your_past_jacki_kellum

After that first part of the course, Find Your Path,  I’ll allow the participants to take a couple of months for rewriting and editing and thinking before they resubmerge themselves into the second segment, which will begin January 1, 2017. During the interim between segments of the event, however, I’ll begin to conduct a weekly event, which will offer writers one prompt or one group of prompts to polish over the course of that week. Beginning January 1, 2017, the writers will be invited back into another 36-day intensive event, Paint Your Past, where they will practice writing more descriptively.

blog_memoir_mine_your_voice_jacki_kellum

The third part of the course, Mine Your Voice, will begin April 1, and by that time, the participant should have begun expressing himself in clearly distinguishable ways. During this part of the course, the writers will be offered more writing prompts and will also be offered some exercises to help them turn their memoir writing or any other kind of writing into poetry. There is no shortcut to finding your writing voice. The only way to accomplish that is to write and to write a lot more. Trying different styles of writing and writing about a variety of things will also help, and that is the goal of Mine Your Voice.

blog_memoir_retail_your_book_jacki_kellum_900

The fourth part of the course will be the crucial step of collating our best writings and discovering how we want to be published. During this part of the course, I’ll share what I have learned about the publishing industry–including what I have learned about self-publishing. Although I’ll challenge participants throughout the course to begin from day 1 marketing themselves and building their Search Engine Optimization, during the last part of the course Retail Your Book, I’ll share some final marketing and publishing tips.

memoir-path-300 memoir-paint-300

memoir-voice-300 memoir-retail-300

Although I’d like to sell you a get-rich, get-published-instantly plan for writing and publishing your book in 30 days or less, the truth is that in doing so, I’d be feeding you a lie and I’d be riding that non-specific fence of telling you what you want to hear, primarily to sell. But in absolute honesty, I cannot do that. I wouldn’t want to read the book that you would write in 30 days or less, and I doubt that you would even want to read it yourself. To do the job correctly, I suggest that you allow yourself several months to write your book, and I suggest that you stay the course or as they say in the country, “Plow to the end of the row.” Several months may sound like a large time investment, but the best news of all is that if you start with a more realistic plan than trying to write a book in 30 days, you will allow yourself the chance to actually succeed.

©Jacki Kellum August 14, 2016

Complicated

Thoughts about Fear & How It Keeps Us from Writing & Painting

Fear is the worst thing that can happen to anyone who hopes to create.

Fear prevents the painter from painting, and he forces the writer to edit himself literally to death.

Secrets About Life Every Woman Should Know: Ten Principles for Total Emotional and Spiritual Fulfillment by [De Angelis, Barbara] Barbara de Angelis wrote an excellent treatise on Fear: [image credit Amazon]

“Imagine that you had a person in your life who followed you around twenty-four hours a day, filling you with anxiety, destroying your confidence, and discouraging you from doing the things that you wanted to do. Every time you were about to make a change or take a risk, the person would say, ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you. What if you fail? What if you get hurt? All kinds of things might happen if you go in that direction.’ Imagine that before each conversation you had with friends, family, or loved ones, the person would pull you aside and caution you. ‘If you open up, you might get rejected. Watch what you say! Don’t trust anyone! . . . ” Barbara De Angelis

Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night.

“It’s your fear. Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night. It talks to you, manipulates you, and tries to convince you to avoid doing or expressing anything that may cause you any kind of discomfort or involve any sort of risk. It says, ‘You can’t’ . . . and ‘You shouldn’t.,’ and it eats away at your confidence and your self-esteem. It tells you not to act, not to reach out, not to try, not to trust, not to move. It steals the life right out from under you. . . .” Barbara De Angelis

Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness.

“Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness. How does fear do that? It keeps you stuck in what’s not working. It prevents you from growing. It keeps separation between you and other people. It talks you out of your dreams. It keeps you stagnant, frozen, unable to become all you were meant to be. . . .” Barbara De Angelis

“It is fear that keeps us standing on the cliff when we know that we need to leap to the other side. But fear does more than just hold you back–it steals your aliveness, your passion, your freedom by shutting down your heart. . . .The extent to which you allow fear to control your life is the extent to which you are living as a prisoner.

I read De Angelis’s book 25 years ago, and it is undoubtedly the most inspirational of any self-help book that I have ever read.  Although the book is supposedly for women, I feel that the passages about Fear are appropriate for most artists and writers. Fear is one of a creative’s most crippling forces.

After years of being muted by my own fear, I finally gained enough stamina to simply override my restraints and to create in spite of my fear. But that was a long and uphill climb.

 You can read excerpts from De Angelis’s book on her Facebook Page Here

You can also read a great deal of her writing at Google BooksHere

The amazing thing is that you won’t see anything that you don’t already know, but sometimes it simply helps to hear a knowledgeable person give you permission to move beyond your fear and to do what you want and need to do. Sometimes it also helps to know that powerful and famous people also deal with Fear.

John_Wayne_-courage
“ Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

One of the biggest mistakes that many of us make is that of allowing ourselves to believe that only the weak and the unsuccessful people deal with Fear, but that is not at all true.  Even in her greatness, Judy Garland was never comfortable with herself and with her life.  My all-time favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz.  More times than I could count, Judy Garland has carried me Over the Rainbow and back again.  Years ago, I did an entire body of art work based on the theme: “Over the Rainbow.”  For me, “Over the Rainbow “is a kind of heaven–a heaven that Judy Garland unlocked for me and for many, many other people.  In many ways, The Wizard of Oz and the song Over the Rainbow  molded the course of my life; yet, Judy Garland never felt that she was enough. Imagine that! Judy Garland battled her fear and yet, managed to serve as a great inspiration for me.and for many other people.

From what I have read, Barabara Streisand is similarly haunted. Long ago, when she was at her peak, I heard Streisand talk about how difficult performing was for her–and she hardly ever performs now.

Loud and clear, the messages that I hear are that most of us are not the best judges of ourselves and that we never feel that we are great enough–at least not great enough to please ourselves. Yet, even in our weaknesses [this is the BIGGIE], we have MUCH to offer.

Allow your cups to be filled by two women who were often scared to death and yet who “…saddled up anyway.”

“Even in our weaknesses, we have MUCH to offer.” – Jacki Kellum

We must all realize that when we don’t share of ourselves, we fail to give other people the gifts of our own lives. We also steal from our very own lives the joy that we deserve.

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It is the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

Is Fear preventing you from truly living your life–from becoming your true self? Eileen R. Hannegan also talks about the paralyzing effects of fear that drain our energies and damages our spirits:

“The combination of discovering what is not you but not yet knowing what is you is very much like being cast adrift in space, free-floating with no sense of attachment to anything solid. In this transitional process, it is easy to become disconcerted and frustrated. What you previously knew as your self begins to fade away, and a new set of knowns based on true self begins to emerge. As the old passes away, familiar habits and thought processes also begin to wither and die, but new ones have not yet replaced them. Because of . . . paralyzing fear, many people choose to continue living a false existence. They are generally very adept at doing this, and living a false existence works for them to some degree because they manage to stay in a neutral zone, half alive and resisting the life force of true self. a considerable amount of energy to hold back and maintain a neutral course of life. But living a false or a half-truth existence eventually takes its toll, both emotionally and physically. It takes a considerable amount of energy to hold back and maintain a neutral course of life. It goes against true self and drains the soul and spirit. We think that if we keep sacrificing self long enough, things will get better. So we invest in situations that go against true self, and as a result, we deplete the soul. Our energy is being drained to maintain this facade and keep up the pretense of well-being.”

Regardless of how great of a hold that Fear has on us, we can overcome it and we can create, in spite of it. We owe it to ourselves to limit the damage that fear imposes upon us. You may not realize it, but when you do not write or paint or dance or sing, in spite of your fear, you not only cheat yourself. You cheat the world.

©Jacki Kellum August 13, 2016

Follow Jacki Kellum  on WordPress.com

This was initially published at jackikellum.com Here

memoir-path-300

memoir-paint-300

memoir-voice-300

memoir-retail-300