by Tina Ann Forkner
I was having lunch with a friend the other day and before our lattes cooled, I realized we were quickly crossing the line between casual pleasantries and the messy topics we usually save for those who love us no matter what. I really appreciate my friend and I’ve enjoyed getting to know her through my church, but to be honest, our friendship is new.
Sure, we click. It seems like we “get” each other over all. We definitely connect on the same level with certain things, but not on everything. We are friends for sure, but honestly, we haven’t known each other long enough to expect unconditional love if something goes wrong. So, how did this happen? And do I regret it?
I took a chance, and most definitely not.
Sometimes you meet someone and you just know it’s worth taking that chance at that moment. You open up, you become vulnerable, and you risk that everything you have said might be misunderstood. But, if your hunch is right and that other person really gets you and you get her, then you both go away encouraged, fulfilled, and possibly changed. It is an honor that you were there to listen to her story, and you hope that yours inspired her, as well. It’s a lot like writing.
I don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to write something and backed off because my inner censor whispered to me that if I wrote it, I would be judged. Oftentimes I have an idea, but am afraid that if I take a chance, I might be rejected. And I’ve certainly had my share of hurtful book reviews that seem to carry more power over my ego than the good ones. Maybe, my inner censor screams, it is safer to write what is acceptable, what is the norm, what is expected of me. It’s not a terrible plan. Writers do it all the time, but is it right for me?
No. I’m tired of playing it safe. Sometimes, a writer gets a feeling that they need to go deeper. It’s risky to write some things, just like the risk my friend and I took during our coffee the other day, but how boring would friendship be if we always played it safe? It feels good to be real, honest, and well, to use my friend’s word, raw. Sometimes life is raw. It’s messy. Why not write about it with all its messiness?
How do people get through that messiness? How do they live through the rawness of it and still have hope? That’s the stuff I like to write about. And what if I stop playing it safe in my writing and end up rejected? Well, I guess I’m okay with that. There is only One judge that matters anyway. Perhaps like the conversation went with my friend over coffee, the story I write will find a reader and connect.
I just have a feeling that there is something I need to write. It’s messy, but I think I should go for it. I think it’s worth the risk.
What about you? Are you taking risks in your writing or art? In your life?