A friend of mine recently asked why I decided to write. My thoughts immediately went back to my childhood. I remember when I was a little kid and my parents had guests over. They always said to my brother and sisters and I that “kids should be seen and not heard.” While I’m grateful that they taught us to be respectful and well behaved, I learned early on to stifle my voice. Coming out as a lesbian during my teenage years in the early eighties further closed off my ability to say what was in my heart. No good came from being honest about that having grown up in a religious small town in the Midwest. So, I chose to say nothing. Maybe that’s why my time in the military was easy for me. No one asked, and I didn’t tell.
So, where did all that quiet get this 44 year old woman? One day, my heart opened up and the words came pouring out. My first novel, “My Soldier Too” was published this past year, I’m close to finishing a second manuscript and I have my own blog site. What I’m discovering with all this writing is that it isn’t about the words or the privilege of getting to say that I’m an author, but rather, finding the voice inside hidden under years of silence. We all have something to say that matters if we let it come from a place that’s authentic. I don’t write for the sake of writing. I won’t write to some preordained script or model and I’m no longer afraid to rattle a few cages with my voice. To do otherwise is just tepid noise.
But, with that comes the responsibility to own what I say. I’m not afraid to turn my heart inside out to reveal my own truths and I respect the truths of others who do the same. The answer to my friend’s question is that I write to discover and free the voice inside me that has something to say that matters. Peace.