Down in Embers

I sit in my own way, a boulder of complication and fears, even too afraid to do it standing. I am not alone. Unfortunately, there are so many of us who are shaking and quaking and just too craven to do anything. We want to do something great, wonderful, worthy but don't.

Excuses are easy. Excuses are more than easy, they are handy and light. Why try when you can just list the reasons to NOT?
I even use the excuses to lament over not doing something. Have you ever done that? I do, a lot. "I will never be a good writer because I never got my degree" or "I don't have enough time to write a novel". Yeah, sure, right. Do I believe it? Gods, no. When you tell yourself something untrue it rings as false as plastic bells. I hear plastic bells every time I shuttle a huge dream of mine to the back burner or turn the stove off entirely.

The problem is, there are so many avenues to what I want that ARE closed. When you make so many attempts (and hear the sound of guns shooting you down before you even get in the air) you lose focus. How much can you hurt before you stand down? How long before you sit in your own way?
So, I have something for us craven crusaders.

Pick one dream you've been longing for, one that has to persist and exist just for you to feel whole. Write down each fear you have and each bad thing that has happened that made you stop. Write them all out. You can put them on one sheet of paper or on many. Just get them out of you.
Then, when you are confident you got them all, go somewhere safe and set them ablaze. Or cut them up into tiny, worthless pieces. Maybe you could throw them in a lake, watching the writing disappear under the weight of water. Do something drastically dramatic to them (while keeping yourself safe, of course).

After your fears are gone, get busy. Find a different route to what you want. Wipe the dust off of the one story of your life you have kept in a dark drawer and get working.
If you don't know how to get what you want, talk to people. Sometimes, the most surprising revelations come from others. Seek me out, I'm better at helping others than myself; I think it is one of my biggest problems.

What if you fail? Well, easy. You go down in flames. But it is better to fail spectacularly and rise again than to shuffle your feet and sputter to embers. There is little worth in a dead spark. No one wants to go down in embers, right?


  1. I think it is easy to get lost in today's world with all the negativity that is out there. My own parents were never supportive of me. My father always told me that writing was a waste of time and that no one in our family ever amounted to shit and the same would be true of me.

    I'm making a choice now in my middle age not to listen to him and to do what I want to do. I'm reaching for the goals that I shelved because earning a middle-class income so that he no longer needed to support me was the most important thing in life. My father was incredibly resentful at having children...he saw them as nothing but a money suck and if left to his own devices, probably would have chosen simply to not have any kids at all.

    My point in this is not to take away that my dad has issues which he obviously does...but that society and even our own families push us down and tell us we are stupid and not worth anything and I think that sometimes they do this because they fear being overshadowed. I say stand up, reach for your goals, and never ever stop trying. Never ever stop believing how wonderful you are. Fuck the naysayers.

  2. Right on, Michael! (Love that you actually have a picture up, by the way.)

    I didn't have that with my mom; she is so very supportive. I haven't seen my dad in sixteen years so I very much doubt he's wondering about ANYTHING I'm doing now. He didn't really want kids, either.

    But you are right about what people say. I was tormented as a kid (not teased, more like tortured) by my fellow students from 7th grade to the day I graduated. It sticks with you, whether you adjust well or not.

  3. Jennifer, I couldn't agree with you more. I went from being bullied in middle school to somehow fitting in fine in high school. But the middle school days will NEVER leave me. And there are still naysayers everywhere, especially when it comes to writing. In the end, I think I've learned that it doesn't matter what anyone says, good or bad. What matters is how much we're willing to do with ourselves. You're doing amazing things and I have no doubt that you can complete whatever you put your mind to.

  4. I love the idea of letting go of fear because it really does stop us from achieving so much!

  5. Great idea. I work on my shyness with my works all the time.

  6. I went from overconfident to extremely shy about things, Donna! I know how you feel.

    Saumya: When the chorus of negative voices stops, sometimes they are already imprinted upon us. I just need a removal tool of some kind!

    Alyson: Yes, yes it does. I think you are a bit afraid with your writing. Don't get me wrong, I know you're busy with your paranormal stuff but I feel like you're holding back on your literary work for some reason. I could be wrong. And I don't think you should.