So says Andrew Vachss: “If you are a victim of emotional abuse, there can be no self–help until you learn to self–reference. That means developing your own standards, deciding for yourself what “goodness” really is. Adopting the abuser’s calculated labels—”You’re crazy. You’re ungrateful. It didn’t happen the way you say”—only continues the cycle. Adult survivors of emotional child abuse have only two life-choices: learn to self–reference or remain a victim. When your self–concept has been shredded, when you have been deeply injured and made to feel the injury was all your fault, when you look for approval and love from those who can not or will not provide it—you play the role assigned to you by your abusers. It’s time to stop playing that role, time to write your own script. Victims of emotional abuse carry the cure in their own hearts and souls. Knowing you deserve to be loved and respected and empowering yourself with a commitment to try is much more than half the battle. And it is never too soon—or too late—to start.”
I’ve been a stuck author for weeks. The following quote, from Philip Roth no less, is giving me strength by endorsing my surrender. It’s good to know my darkness can shed real light. Goddess let it be so.
You’re looking, as you write, for what’s going to resist you. You’re looking for trouble. Sometimes uncertainty arises not because the writing is difficult, but because it isn’t difficult enough. Fluency can be a sign that nothing is happening; fluency can actually be my signal to stop, while being in the dark from sentence to sentence is what convinces me to go on.
I’m sitting in the writerspace today, everyone click-clacking all around me, and big tears are silently sliding down my face.
I don’t know how to work on this book without letting in all the big feelings, and right now that means I am assaulted by the breakdown of the environment and our country and my relationship. Really, it’s my relationship. Sometimes I wish I were an ER doctor or an air traffic controller, someone whose work entailed putting out so many fires that there was no room for reflection or, goddess forbid, feelings. Sometimes I wish I were an actual firefighter. Continue Reading →