"There's a certain slant of light,
On Winter afternoons..."
...that once made me want to curl up around myself and nurse old wounds and tend to old scars, running my fingers over them like a strand of gritty pearls embedded in my skin...this light would stir up every shred of self-doubt in my dreams, my future, the manuscript stacked beneath the desk.
But, suddenly, I decided to say goodbye to it. A conscious choice made to let go of the old scars...after all, they are wounds healing. The shadows, the memories, because when I look at them closely, so much of my history is embossed with a brilliant joy. Goodbye to the self-doubt because I am writing for myself from the heart of my imagination and experiences, and therefore already a success. Before, a publication or acceptance letter satisfied me for a day or two--then the critic was right back again with, "Well, so what...it's not like that's a big magazine that is offering you thousands of dollars for your words." Every single accomplishment from my writing fellowship to editor interest in my novel to just a solid afternoon of work could be corrupted by the shadow.
I have let her go.
The manuscript came out again, has been dusted off and is being re-worked with the space and distance time away from it has provided. Yes, now I'm halfway into something new and feel like I'm committing a mortal sin to have two books in process. But, when the editing is getting to me--I move to the new writing and it is discovering fresh territory--heady, vast, and exciting. I have made a commitment to my writing now that I was once too afraid of. New opportunities are in motion for me. I don't know exactly how it will all take shape, but far underground, the roots have hit a deep well I never knew existed. Had I not been willing to keep moving even in the darkness, to release the things that no longer were serving me, there would only have been a slow steady withering of the writing self I've known since childhood.
Saying goodbye to the shadow-critic has meant that I now can see the streaming light...