I’ve started to write so many things in the last month. A short, unconventional short story, 3 or 4 blog posts, part of an “about us” section for work’s website. I get several sentences down on the page… and freeze.
Nothing comes to mind. No words pour out of my typing fingers. No feelings express themselves in my words.
I’ve decided to call myself a writer officially, and now I am frozen. Why would anyone want to hear the words I have to say? Why would my short story be of interest for anyone else?
Tonight I started a post about the amazing book I’m reading, Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Women Archetype, and though I have thought of all the wonderful things I want to tell you about this book for several weeks… tonight… I am frozen. I sit down at my MacBook and stare at the blank screen.
I put on one of my favorite podcasts for inspiration. I just recently discovered HistoryChicks and think they’re fab. Not only because I have my own HistoryCast with a friend, but also because Becket & Susan are smart and cunning and look at history from a woman’s perspective. In particular, I’m glad I listened to this episode today.
The episode I picked today was about Mary Wollstonecraft – an English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. In the press of her times, Wollstonecraft was described as a “hyena in petticoats” because she wrote novels and was a woman. Men who read her works weren’t impressed; they weren’t interested in reading what a woman had to say. This was the mid-late 1700s, so of COURSE this was the case, but I often wonder if my fears of sharing my words and expressing my feelings stem from my knowledge of the experiences of familiar women writers like Wollstonecraft.
On a related note, I recently had an amazing opportunity to host a podcast with the women from FunDead Publications (if you haven’t listened yet, please do), and as I set up the appointment with them I realized how nervous I was to introduce myself as any sort of expert in literature or Salem history. I’m not published, I don’t have any degree in history. Who I am to think I can become an expert and talk about these things on a podcast? Who in the world am I!? Amber reminded me that everyone feels this way and to do it anyway.
Well, who was Wollstonecraft to step outside of gender norms and speak for women writers of her time? Who was Mary Shelley to write one of the most wonderful horror stories of all time? Who was Charissa Pinkola Estes to write a whole book about a wild women archetypes and call them wild wolves.