Friday, April 13, 2012

Do You Like Psychoanalytics? Right Brain - Left Brain? Introvert - Extravert?

Do you like psychoanalytics?  Right Brain - Left Brain?  Introvert - Extravert?  For as long as I can remember I have loved them.  I don't believe I am alone in this, in that personality quizzes show up on magazine covers from American Girl to Cosmopolitan to US Weekly to Esquire.  Thankfully, the subject matter differs! 

I'm pretty good at understanding people, myself included.  I thought, at one time, that I'd like to be a psychologist.  I like to help people and I'm self-righteous enough to think I know how.  My hypothetical patients are rejoicing right now that something held me back.  Psychologists are supposed to listen, right?  I talk way too much!  Maybe a motivational speaker?  Except that I'm not keen on the spotlight.  I can do it, but I feel like crawling into a cave for awhile afterwards (quiz result: introvert :)).  Thankfully, I found the right job for me, which has the added benefit of leaving no patient dizzy from one of my diatribes.  Writing is perfect for an introverted, word-wielding lover of human psychology. 

I began writing fiction after a friend suggested that I’d be good at it.  I knew I could string words together.  I’ve always appreciated written rhythm and vocabulary.  I was an accomplished technical writer, but to write creative fiction?  Nuts.  To my utter surprise, I finished an entire 300 page novel.  It wasn’t good enough at the time to get published, but it got enough professional praise and encouragement that what began as a lark became a dream. 

As you know, I love quotes.  Quotes about gratitude, love, honor, faith, work, friendship, family, and justice wallpaper the housing of my mind.  Newly, quotes about dreams offered deep meaning for me.  Not one of my personality quizzes resulted in dreamer, yet there I was in pursuit of something completely, terribly unlikely.  That’s a dream, right?  I tell my children, “God has endowed you with many gifts.  You can be anything you want to be.  You just need to work hard enough at it.  Work harder than you ever believed possible.  You will be astounded at all the things you can do.”  Taking my own advice changed me.  A woman who had always been sensitive to criticism was courting it.  I studied the craft of writing, learned about self-editing, learned to receive and weigh criticism, and wrote and wrote and wrote. 

I felt stretched between the top priorities in my life, stretched to the point of breaking sometimes.  My family never stopped believing in me or supporting me, but I saw a change in the way some friends looked at me.  They were bright and excited when I'd finished my first book, but their smiles gradually picked up a bit of condescension.  “Yeah, you’re busy,” I could read in their eyes, “but you don’t really have to be, do you?  I mean, it’s not as though your writing is a real job.”  I didn’t blame them.  I had confronted the same doubt within myself.  I was learning so much and I was in love with it, but, at what cost to myself and my family?  I was so tired.  My house was no longer the well-run machine it once was.

So many times, clarity comes from crisis.  What I realized then was that writing, for me, is not only a dream, but a calling.  I saw it like a glowing breadcrumb path through my life (which is saying something because I had been a finance person!).  My writerly career was largely unsubstantiated at the time, but my calling stood on its own and was validated simply by naming it as such.

One of my favorite people, Darcey Steinke (read her Easter Everywhere when you get the chance), told me that writing is all about faith.  I ask you:  Who can write without it?  She saw it in me, and I decided to claim it.  Faith in myself, faith in my calling.  Anne Lamott said in her book, Bird by Bird, that the writing has to be enough.  By recognizing writing as my calling, the pursuit of the best writing I am capable of became enough. 

I hope that you will be able to read my work – so far, so good.  I’ll let you know.  In the meantime, I’ll be writing.  After I sent my latest book to an agent, I had intended to take a week off.  But I couldn’t!  The next story grabbed a hold of me and refused to wait.  Clearly, it is my progeny.  Impatient has shown up on several of my personality quizzes too.  :)  I'm a new woman though.  Callings have no end date.  Nor do certain dreams, I suspect.

Here is one of my favorite quotes about dreams.  I hope that you like it as much as I do.

Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.
– Anais Nin

I hope you all are well.  I’ll speak with you again soon!  Maybe the next one will be brief?  :)

-         - M.M. Finck

1 comment:

  1. your friend and fan - kristinaApril 20, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    “It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else. ”
    ― Erma Bombeck