If I had to chose the theme derived from my reading this past semester it would have to be the following:
How to develop the path to your own badassness?
What is badassness? It’s a state of being so comfortable in your skin, in your art, in your brain and your voice that it is strong, confidence, natural. Your voice has been through the wringer of life and has nothing to prove to anyone, it can just be, i.e. badassness.
On the road to finding my voice, I find there are lots of guides helping me along the way. I call them guides because they help keep me on my path, challenging me at every turn. Of course, as a student you do the heavy lifting: the writing, the reading, the thinking, the blogging, rise, lather, repeat. But the guides are there to remind you that where you have traveled they have traveled. They found their voice, their Muses, their path. You will find your own.
That’s easier said than done obviously. I lost my voice once before. It was a slow process but it was lost, I traded it for the easy path. (More on that at a later date). Getting it back again…not as easy as I thought. Of course I made no delusions of regaining my voice within the course of a semester. But I would think that it would come back in small increments like how children grow.
The path to badassness fixed that for me. It’s not about regaining to the voice but about taking that voice by the hand and having it come along the path with you. It is about growing and experimenting and being okay with it all. It’s about acknowledging you’re different, you always were, and that’s okay. And it’s also coming to terms with the fact that maybe everyone else is different and you are probably the only normal person left on the planet.
But above all else, the path to badassness is taking that difference and slapping it on paper. That’s what makes you you, kid. You are not Cristina Garcia or Edwidge Danticat though they are your guides down this path. You are not Isabel Allende or Walter Mosley though you love them. You are you. Every annoying, perplexing, deranged, awe inspiring, awesome, surprising thing about you is you. You make not like something about yourself but it’s there, asking to be written and explored. That thing you find so annoying and are trying to avoid is the truth. And from there, fiction, good solid storytelling, begins. There is where you’re path lies. The only question now is do you chose to follow it?
Did I chose? I think we all know the answer. Am I better for it? Absolutely. Am I in the badassness level? Not yet. It’s coming. I know it is. And when I arrive at that level, I will pay it forward and guide other writers who have lost their way. For I will know the direction to the kingdom of Badassness, and I mean to be its ambassador.