“If a story is in you it has to come out.” William Faulkner
I’ve heard many times that we all have a story inside us. I’m sure you have, too. When my very first short story was published, and it came up in a conversation with a friend months later, my friend said, “They say we all have a story inside us.” I guess she wasn’t very impressed or else thought it was a one time thing that would never be repeated, that it was my ONE and only story. At the time I shrugged the whole “ I’ve been published” thing off, made out that it was no big deal. But guess what? It was a big deal to me. Although I was secretly pleased with myself, I was certain no one else gave a flying fig. My friend’s reaction was proof of that. The whole truth was I felt very self-conscious about the fact that I was writing.
Yes, I was a closet writer for many years. I’m sure some of you are as well. I remember those days when I could not speak about writing to anyone without feeling a bit strange. Today, I know that strange feeling was caused by not truly believing I was a writer. I thought I was following a dream that would never become reality because truly great things would probably never happen to me. I was just too ordinary. I remember feeling as though I was keeping some well-guarded secret from the rest of the world, protecting my privacy, holding fast to who I was because no one would even care or understand my need to write.
But the secret finally came out as most secrets do, especially those secrets that niggle away at you, never letting you quite forget that you’re a keeper of a secret that will eventually become known.
I often wonder what my life would look like today if I had not let that first story out as Faulkner says. Would I have found some other outlet for my creativity? Or would I have become a cranky middle-aged woman who despises her life and everyone in it?
I believe that we all are here to bring new creations into the world. We shouldn’t think that our contributions are any less important than someone else’s. We will not all paint a Mona Lisa, or invent a telephone, computer or write a Harry Potter series.
Surprise! I’m not J.K. Rowling. I’m Laura Best. I can only create what is inside me to create. I can only use the talents and skills that have been given me. I can only write the words are in me to write, express myself in a way that only I can. Bitter, Sweet will never sell a million copies (nor, I’m sure, will any of my future books and that’s okay) but that won’t stop me from letting my stories out into the world. Because the secret’s out, and now that it’s out I don’t care who knows.
If we create for creativity’s sake then what is there for us to lose, what is there for us to keep secret?