When someone tells me they enjoy reading my blog, I’m thrilled. But, when Malena Lott (founder and executive editor of Buzz Books), told me she enjoyed reading my blog, I was over the moon. Not only because I need constant validation like an insecure puppy, but because she likes my writing despite (or because of) the dark subject matter. And how did I respond to this compliment from an experienced, talented author? Did I take the advice of my former boss and swallow my self deprecation? Sort of.
“Thank you. I really have no idea what I’m doing.” Why did I say this? Was it true? Well, yes and no. Up until yesterday morning, I really didn’t know where I was going with my writing. I feel called to write a book, but what’s my angle? The nuts and bolts of Eric’s Story have been told before, so why rewrite it? And I’m not a “woe is me” type person, so to simply write a whiny novel is not my intention. Yes, I have overcome adversity, but the pain was not simply a “blip” on my radar of life. It was real, it is real.
While listening to Malena speak at the Buzz Books writing retreat at the Magnolia Moon conference center in Guthrie, Oklahoma (an amazing place by the way), I jotted down three words on my notepad. Something she said sparked a bonfire in my brain. The title of my book stared back at me from the purple lined paper. I’m not quite ready to share it yet, but I will share these thoughts from the ‘thank you’ email I sent Malena:
…I’ve narrowed down my approach for the book I’m writing about Eric. I felt a bit lost, not exactly sure what the point of the story should be. While I started out wanting revenge (at least that’s what was in my heart), now I just want to be healed, and to help heal others. Part of me feels stuck at 16. I haven’t really allowed myself to grow up, afraid of letting go of the demons in my past. The book will dive deep into the depths of grief and anger, and expose the enormity of what happened to me as a teenage girl. It will be honest. Above all, it will be honest. I haven’t healed yet, but I feel confident it will come through this process. I don’t know how long it will take me, but I look forward to sharing the story soon.
Her response? “Open up your vein and bleed on the page.”
Her advice is spot-on. I don’t know any other way to write his story, my story, and do it justice. I will bleed. And I will heal.