Taking a breath. Accepting the fear.

I am tired. It’s a tired that only my week long residency can produce.  I’m toward the tail end of it now and I’m excited about the possibilities of the semester.

But this residency is different, extremely different from the last two. This is the residency where I was faced with my demons.

I knew it was coming and that this head on collision would be my test — fight or flight. I’m still making up my mind about that. So what’s the demon? What’s making me consider not continuing down this path I so longed to be a part of.

I’m afraid of succeeding.

Yes, I know it’s cliche. Extremely, textbook cliche but it’s true. I’ve talked about how I’ve come across scenes in my writing that have made me stop writing for a few days. I’ve written through the fear and I’ve written about the fear but this time, I’m not sure if the written word will cure it.

I’m afraid that after my MFA, I will be come a master storyteller. That I will be read. That people will like what I have to say and that I will do well.

I’m scared shitless and I don’t know what to do about it.

So far during my program, my writing has been compared to Garcia-Marquez, Allende, and Castillo. I’ve read twice this residency and each time my fellow students and faculty have commented on how great it was…how strong the voice is…how much they enjoyed my piece…how it would be part of a bigger piece. Each class, each assignment, each interaction with faculty reminds me how close I am to achieving my goal. It’s like smelling cookies baking in the oven. They’re almost done. I’ve started my 3 out of 4 semesters, I’m almost done.

I realized why I’m still a reporter after all these years, after the pain and experience of American journalism. Most people would have left. Most people would have found another job. I know it’s for two reasons: 1.) I’m meant to write so I’m wired a certain way 2.) Being a reporter allows me the freedom of boundaries. I don’t have to feel. Sometimes, I don’t have to care. I can plug in a formula. I can get away with not slaying the dragon.

And even with know that, the thought of leaving also scares me shitless. I can’t imagine not being in a newsroom. I love being in a newsroom. I love being a reporter when the truth comes down to it. But I also love writing, and reading. Can those two co-exist? Can I stop hiding behind the reporter cap long enough to embrace the fear and face just the possibility of being successful?

Only time will tell. And right now, that scares me too.

One thought on “Taking a breath. Accepting the fear.

  1. wow. this is super honest. I faced down a slew of demons my first and second residencies. I don't think I can be as forthcoming as you about what they were at this point. but I think this was good for you. we all deal in our own ways. and you are one of those people who seem to size up obstacles and then run and jump, maybe giving them the finger as you look back grinning. fear of success. not a bad one to have, it seems.


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