Sunday, February 04, 2007


"There's a certain slant of light,
On Winter afternoons..."
--Emily Dickinson--
...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'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...


Blogger paris parfait said...

I recognise so much of my own struggle in your eloquent words. I really like this sentence: "Goodbye to the self-doubt because I am writing for myself from the heart of my imagination and experiences, and therefore already a success." Bravo! xo

4:23 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Beautifully written and GOOD FOR YOU!

5:05 PM  
Blogger melba said...

Although you didn't put it in these terms I want to say...
As Delia wishes for herself, I do as well!


5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on. Dust off the manuscript and say goodbye to self-doubt, old wounds, etc. In this entry, I can tell you'll do just fine as a writer.


7:24 PM  
Blogger Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. said...

"Dust off the manuscript and say goodbye to self-doubt, old wounds, etc."

Such a wonderful image. Powerful words. Applicable to so many aspects of life.

Thanks for inspiring me!

9:02 PM  
Blogger stephoto said...

This is lovely, and inspiring.

I love the line about your willingness to "keep moving, even in the darkness." This sentiment, applied to any creative or personal endeavor, is profound.

Thank you,


9:12 PM  
Blogger Remiman said...

You can and should be proud of yourself for looking forward. The past is a guide for moving ahead, not an anchor to hold us back.
Good job.

9:38 PM  
Blogger Georgia said...

Well done :)


11:33 PM  
Blogger Boho Girl said...

i never tire of your writings...

so beautiful are you and your words.


1:26 AM  
Anonymous GeL(Emerald Eyes) said...

Your beautifully written words introduced by one of my favorite poets shows us all why "letting her go" (The shadow of self-doubt) is crucial and, indeed, joyous!

Such a self-affirming attitude can be beneficial to carry through to one's other life pursuits and daily living. BTW, wonderful news about your simultaneous writing projects!

2:23 AM  
Blogger Becoming Amethyst said...

your photo perfectly captures how i have always imagined *that* certain slant of light...

and you are so right that the prize is 'writing for myself from the heart of my imagination and experiences, and therefore already a success'. I am (as you know) learning to take joy in this too.

I love the image of you pouring yourself into two open books - how could only one ever contain all that is you and your writing?!!!

with love x x x

3:23 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

I am so greatful for this Goodbye you have made. Your gift is too sweet to let that Shadow take away your instinct!

You touch me. I adore your words. Always.


1:27 PM  
Anonymous kristen said...

This is such a joyful post Delia. I'm so happy that you've been able to push past the shadow-critic and your words here inspire me to do the same. xo

1:48 PM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Very good post. I am glad to be here via SS. Will be back.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous KG said...

Good for you for having TWO writing projects going on at once — why not throw a third one in there for juggling fun? ;)

My point here is that sometimes I find the more I have to do, the more I actually get done. Interesting paradox!

4:06 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

yah for streaming light :)

6:27 PM  
Blogger Alex aka Gypsy Girl said...

I struggle with the same goodbyes ~ which are much needed, though. So long self doubt...

I love your writing!

8:02 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Yes to the streaming light that flows through you with unique power and force!

12:26 AM  
Blogger Alexandra S said...

Simply beautiful! I know I have so, so struggled with this in different chapters of my life and it is only fairly recently that I write just because I enjoy it, not attached to the outcome but to the process itself, and its so freeing. And that conscious choice of letting go...yes, its easier said than done but when we can manage it I think its got to be among the very best feelings and experiences in this world.

2:06 AM  
Blogger January said...

It's hard to turn down the volume on self-doubt. But if we can talk about—give it a name—then we can deal with it and move on for a while. Too bad we can't send self-doubt on an extended vacation or long hiatus.

Great post, and I understand EXACTLY where you're coming from, Delia.

Two manuscripts—Wow!

10:28 AM  

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