A Valentine to Fear; and Visual Verse

In Elizabeth Gilbert‘s brilliant new book Big Magic (I reviewed it here) she acknowledges that we need fear in our lives, otherwise we’d be:

Straight-up sociopaths … [or an] exceptionally reckless three-year-old … . But you do not need your fear in the realm of creative expression.Big Magic

She also writes:

When people try to kill off their fear, they often end up inadvertently murdering their creativity in the process. 

So she suggests a way of keeping fear at bay (because it will always be there) that made me laugh, and made me decide to do exactly what she does. She says it, as a welcoming speech to her fear. I’ve written it down and stuck it on my writing-room wall:

Dearest Fear,

Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to do in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do anything interesting – and, may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must.

But I will also be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focussed. And Creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way.

I recognise and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still – your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. You’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.

Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert.

And the thing I would love to have dreamt up in a timeless universe where all things are possible is Visual Verse. visual_verse_logoIf you subscribe, each month they’ll email you an image, then you write something in response. The catch is that you may only write for an hour. But as a springboard for a story and/or a kick in the rear for fear, I know of nothing better. Images are powerful things. Here are my January and February contributions.

About Angela

I write fiction about the difficulty we have when we try to say what's in our hearts.
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