My new book idea may kill me
I haven’t really started writing this new book of mine and it’s already changing my life.
There’s something so raw about writing to people who have influenced my life.
I am currently sitting on the NJ Transit train home from NYC. I finished my day of coaching early (like I usually do on Fridays, at least lately) and headed into the city. This solo trip into the city is a luxury I haven’t afforded myself… ever. I moved back to Jersey after having a baby, and until recently when I stopped breastfeeding, I’ve been too tethered to her to really allow myself the freedoms I once had. So when a colleague asked me to be the first guest on his podcast, I said “sure, when do you need me to be there?”
No discussion of time constraints. No pull to stay home because my baby girl happens to have a cold right now. Just a glance at the train schedules and we were in the calendar.
I ended up staying out to meet up with another colleague who’s in town and had some great conversation over meatballs and whiskey floats.
And now I’m on the train home. I brought my laptop because I’m committed to writing every day and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t.
I’m listening to Lorde.
She’s been a big source of inspiration lately. I thought of writing an open letter to her, but decided against it. I’m not ready yet. I’m going to see her in March, I think I’ll be more pulled to do it then.
I love this open letters book idea because 1. It’s so simple and 2. It scares me. I think of all the people I want to write letters to…
Christina Aguilera, for example, whose music was what had me realize I’m a belting alto, not a chorus line soprano 2…
I think about writing that letter and everything I would write seems like it would be far too trite. How do I encapsulate in one letter everything there is to say to that woman? She changed my life so profoundly, I don’t know if I can do her justice.
Should I include the part where I lost interest in her music and got sad that she didn’t just fade into the background instead of continuing to put out albums?
Probably, yea. The whole point of the exercise is to be honest. Brutally honest.
I’ve so far written letters to Marina Diamandis and Marc Maron. In both, I ended up being far more raw and vulnerable than I intended. Marina’s letter was one I actually intended to send privately, but because my phone wouldn’t let me, I just posted it publicly. I’ve been posting shit lately that makes me want to vomit. Not only because I don’t want people to see the inner workings of my mind (and heart) but because I’m actually processing a lot of things out loud as I write them. I’m not editing these pieces, I’m just publishing without much more than a quick spell-check.
Tonight, my colleague reflected to me that I write about myself in a slightly disparaging way.
Well of course I do, Mark, I think I’m a piece of shit. Doesn’t everyone?
I don’t always think I’m a piece of shit, but there’s absolutely a part of me that does. It gets activated in particular when I’m being really open. If it weren’t for my two accountability partners, I wouldn’t have started writing again at all.
And it’s actually helping me to think out loud.
I’m seeing that the way I think about myself is much different than the way others think of me.
That sounds so obvious when I type it out, but I’m experiencing it like a revelation.
Jordan Peterson, a Psychology professor at University of Toronto, talks about how writing is the single most effective way to know oneself. I had gotten away from writing since becoming a Mom, but now that I’m back to it I’m remembering its power.
Even as I write this, I now have ideas for how to structure a letter to Christina Aguilera.
I would just post the lyrics that impacted me most and then discuss.
Hah… I wonder how many lyrics she even wrote herself.
Ugh, there’s my judgement creeping in. That’s just my own aversion to accepting support. Nothing personal, Christina.
But this isn’t her letter, so I’ll stop addressing her.
And… I’m back to feeling not ready to write it.
I am pretty sure this book is going to kill me and set me free at the same time.