Going Public?

When I was a kid my sketch pad was my best friend. Literally. All the things I thought and felt, all my big important secrets and dreams and desires came to life in its pages of crude crayon and colour pencils. I trusted it to listen and receive anything and everything I felt like sharing. And most importantly, I trusted it to keep it safe.

Before I started drawing I'd used to write though. Pages and pages of anything from stories to journals and essays as philosophic as I guess a kid that young could be. Writing was my first and most dearly loved passion. Even when drawing it was too tempting to leave just the plain image, so I'd always scribble commentaries or poems next to what I'd drawn… complete with inverted R's and I's with dots so huge they looked like lollipops.

But then I discovered that privacy is relative when one is only a child, and I saw my words in the hands of others. I took that hard. It felt like betrayal. A violation of something I had not been ready to share. My secret treasure… something that was just mine that no one else in the world knew about… wasn't mine or secret anymore. Suddenly, subject to questions or correction or careless amusement I felt misunderstood and angry. And for the longest time it silenced me. Emotionally.

Even now so many years later I can vivid remember the nerve it took for me to start expressing myself again. And I can remember the resent burning in me as I deliberately transformed what I would so happily have written into seemingly disjointed images instead. If these things wanted to come out of me, at least I would make sure no one else but me knew what they related to. From then on my sketch pad was my sole confidant. The one I whispered to when I was all alone. Every picture, every drawing a silent testimony of thoughts and feelings and ideas that came alive in visions rather than words.

As I grew older I abandoned drawing. My skills with pencil and colours no longer had the ability to convey what I needed them to. For a while I found in the images created by others what I couldn't create for myself. And now I seem to have turned to photography… a growing passion of mine apparently. But that aside, I have also returned to writing. Writing for myself in places like this. Anonomusly, without any greater commitment or ownership than I wish to give it at any particular time. In the past if things got too serious or heated, or if I felt bored with the accumulated material… I'd simply delete the profile and start over somewhere else under a new name. All the time justifying it by saying that it was all just for me… that it didn't matter what others thought or felt. It was for me… always.

Yet something has come up that has forced me to reconsider that notion. Something that is forcing me to rethink what I want with my writing and why. I was recently contacted and asked to write a personal five-part journal for a periodial, detailing the consequences of insufficient funding and ressources at my school. It was supposed to just be a brief piece in the publication but the editor now wants to publish it in full length on their website as well. She has even offered me a position on the editorial staff.

I should be pleased and flattered. I should be excited. It is a big opportunity. And still I find myself hesitating, facing all over again that time in my past when I felt my words taken from me. I don't know whether I can write for others or because I have to. I don't know that I want to. Or that I'd have anything to say…

And I guess, most importantly, … is this a part of myself that I wish to commit to exposing and sharing?

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Going Public?

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