Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Right to Write

Okay, you caught me. This is just a rant. A rant about writing, but still just a rant.

Several years ago I wrote a story, a piece of flash fiction, which I now call The Human Cycle. Only one person besides myself has read it. I posted it online for two hours one night, but I took it down soon after, before it got any hits.

If you ask me, it's the best thing I've ever written. I have never been prouder of anything. I love that story. It's only 926 words, but it took my 8 months to write.

So who is that one person who saw it? And why wouldn't I show anyone else?

The person who read it was a friend of mine. She had watched me labor over it for months, but hadn't read it. When I finally finished it, I printed out a copy and handed it over.

She read it, looked me in the eye and said "Have you ever heard the phrase 'write what you know?' How do you know what it's like to be in the delivery room. You have no right to write this." She shrugged, like it was no big deal, and then tore the two page story down the middle.

She was right. The opening scene was about a woman giving birth. It's a short paragraph, but very emotional none-the-less. I have never given birth, and I have never been in the room when someone else gave birth. I have no personal experience with it. Maybe that did make me unqualified. I am now afraid to show it to people.

I have been told probably hundreds of times that my writing wasn't good enough. It's been implied even more than that. But none of that ever bothered me more than necessary. I can handle being told that I suck. I can't handle being told that I'm not "allowed" to write things.

I know better now. I know that I have the right to write whatever I want, but now I can't bring myself to let people see The Human Cycle. It's become too private.


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