I’m having a Big Tizzy about pressing the Publish button Things Made Visible #2:365

It’s only Day 2 and I am already in trouble. That cloak came down on me whilst I was trying to run free to the press Publish box. It feels like I am standing there on Judgement Day and getting the message which says this isn’t any good, where are you going to go after you’ve made a fool of yourself, don’t be ridiculous you will never post for a week, let alone a year. To make matters worse I did the ‘compare and despair’ read only seconds after uploading my declaration of exorcising my ideas and I got lost and intrigued and captured in awe of other people’s stories. They do it. They write. They post. They move on.

I still want to hide mine. But the pledge is 365 days of Things Made Visible and I am going to prove myself wrong and work through the struggle. It may be Day 265 [at least] if I make it there before I feel more at ease. Hopefully no-one will read until I get better.

I once went on a creative writing course on a beautiful Greek Island. It was all women (not intentionally) and one, bless her, was a journalist for a national paper writing a review on the course. I didn’t want to let down the pack to get us a bad review. We had to read out our work to each other (if we wanted but when everyone else has it’s hard to refuse) We were given something to write about each night. I was struck with the ‘block’. More than a block. I had constipation from sheer fear of having to read anything out loud. I hesitated at every idea I had, didn’t sleep and made a couple of scribbled out and then back in paragraphs.

On the way up to the leafy white building in the sunshine, I weaved through the ascending cobbled streets laden with tables perched outside café bars and shops and saw an older lady who I had met and who came to the island to rejuvenate each year. I shared some coffee and my fear with her. Her advice was that if I was having a ‘tizzy’ then to have a really good and big one and enjoy it as the course was expensive and that way I would get better value for money than just bottling out.

I continued up the hill to my impending humiliation, entered and sat down with a weak smile, listened and palpitated. I got the invitation. I thought about Dorothy’s wise words. So I found myself saying “I’m having a bloody big tizzy.” And I think my work is crap and you will all be able to write a hundred times better than me and I am embarrassed and don’t know why I came on this stupid course in the first bloody place.” Total silence reigned for what seemed like a very long time to me. I should have swept dramatically out of the room of course at this stage but I was seated in a square of sofas sandwiched by two larger ladies, so a dramatic exit like Scarlett O’Hara was out of the question. Anyway I had denim shorts on and it can only be done with a swish of a long skirt to full effect.

I don’t know what I expected, I hadn’t thought further than my sweaty palms. Then someone spoke. “Thank God for that,” she said, “You come in here looking all slim (emphasis on the word ‘slim’,) and colour co-ordinated so it’s really good to know that you aren’t half as confident as you look.” Memories of an all girls school days flooded back of the continual fear of the judgement of a Hundred Cleverer Women Pack which followed us Lesser Brains looking for prey. Back then it would have been plain old ‘skinny’ and ‘stupid’ and ‘pathetic’ under their breath followed by a trip to Coventry. They couldn’t have used colour co-ordinated because we were all in green. I still try to avoid All Women Network Meetings. I palpitate and go silent and spend most of my time at the coffee table repeatedly refilling my cup which wholly negates their aim and gets me high on caffeine so for the rest of the day I am jittery anyway.

I have wandered off track, a trait of mine. Back to the Greece story. So I took centre stage surrounded by better (and bigger) authoresses and read what I had with a shaky voice to not much accolade, but at least I got a thumbs up that I am good with colours and can eat what I like. Frankly now my dears I don’t give a damn. I just want to press send, post and not care. But I do.

This is my therapy to work through my fear of writing as myself in an attempt to unblock my ideas funnel. It is 9 in the morning and my bewitching hour where more thoughts are stacking like machines in a factory noisily chunnering away like an ideas production line. Umpteen TV screens in my mind are visually blaring at me, momentarily capturing my attention and making connections for new stories, and words are rapidly narrating inside of my head. I am on a quest to get rid of them somewhere, somehow. I am not sure who that person is who reads to me all the time but part of my quest is to get to know her better and tell her story.

I am off to try to meditate, but its going to be hard to relax and switch off my musings this morning. They dart like shooting stars across my mind’s eye. In my mindfulness my mind fills up more. I admit that I have a pad and pen by my mat and sometimes scribble them down with my eyes still half closed. A retreat would be a very busy time for me as my ideas filter is always malfunctioning and I haven’t found the off button yet. I just haven’t got the hang of it yet.

Now I need to steel myself up and press publish. Tomorrow I am going to have even more to say and another humongous tizzy about pressing send again. I can feel it coming on again. At this rate I will [maybe] only be read posthumously. God I hope I don’t sound bitter and twisted like Liz Jones before I have even begun.