Write or Die Means Fall in Love with You
The other day, a mother, her eyes full of tears, turned to me and asked, “What kind of person would give up her child?” As a very young woman, this mother had had a child and, thinking she’d be affording her son a better life, she gave him up for adoption. Almost twenty years later, it didn’t take much to bring her to tears. She had to carry around this fear and distrust of herself and still go out into the world and make a living and have friends and act as if everything were okay.
I think many people feel this way on various levels—that, essentially, there is something wrong with them, and their brain spins, trying to figure out exactly what that thing is and what they can do to fix it.
I am here to tell you there is nothing wrong with you. That if you feel shame about something, in my eyes, that means you have a story to tell. And story is opportunity for connection, for art, for beauty. For redemption. Rebirth. Mayhem. Peace.
When my mother was kicked out of Nigeria in the 1960s, her shame was so deep she would not talk about the incident decades later. Even as a child, I was bewildered by her silence. Why keep a story that was so clearly tearing you apart inside of you? Why not let it out? You aren’t putting a bomb in the middle of the living room when you tell people what happened. That is called real life. It’s a story, and if people can’t handle it—if they walk out of the room, if they tell you you’re wrong, if they hate you, then they were probably poison for you, anyway.
People also often feel, well, who am I to tell this story, anyway? What makes me so special? How many times can I write I on the page without feeling like a narcissist?
Don’t you see it’s not even about you? You didn’t create yourself. You are just writing about what your self did while it was here. We are all just little energetic blades of grass that have a short time on this planet. Your story is just as important as the next guy’s. Exactly as important. But if you neglect your story, your self, you neglect the whole field. If you aren’t important, worthy of a hundred I’s in one chapter, then no one else is important either, including your children.
The greatest thing for me is to watch people realize they have the right to exist, they have a voice full of meaning, and they have an important story to tell, whether it is told in clay, in song, on paper, on the stage, wherever, however. Writing, for me, is a form of prayer and gratitude. I go through my life with many, many thoughts running through my mind, but when I sit down and focus on describing a thing, a piece of dialogue, a face, the sky, I am closer to holiness than at any other time, except for when I watch others do the same thing. That is magic.
I teach Write or Die classes because I have figured out a handful of exercises that help bring people into their creative lives, into their true hearts, into their courageous selves. It took thirty years of wanting to write and feeling both too full and too empty to actually get anything finished to figure out what I’d needed to break through, and then in 93 days I wrote the book You Don’t Look Adopted after figuring out how to finally break free of living and writing on the surface.
I teach small groups of 4-8 people in person and via Skype, but Write or Die works just as well in groups as it does one-on-one by phone. The breakthroughs happen, and then you go on your merry way and live your creative, full life. This, of course, is not something I can guarantee because, in the end, it’s a decision you make, not me. But I’ll help you get there, that’s for sure.
It is not uncommon for people, men and women, to cry in the class. It is also not uncommon for releases to happen that years of therapy hadn’t freed. There’s a lot of laughter. I have one small group that has met once a month for a year now, and every member is deep in her book.
Sometimes, often, people just need one class and then they can go off and work on their own. Sometimes, also often, other people need continued support and we meet one-on-one every few weeks or so (continued coaching is $125 an hour).
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Write or Die group sessions are three hours long and cost $150 per person.
One-on-one sessions are 75 minutes long and are $150 per person.
You can read testimonials here: http://www.anneheffron.com/home/2016/12/26/write-or-die-workshops-a-sales-pitch-in-story-form-1?rq=Write or Die