A very good writer friend of mine left a post on the writing course we are doing together called THE WRITE PRACTICE. I came across it this morning, and she felt that she could no longer go forward with this course as it just didn’t suit her objectives as a writer. I took to the pen (actually, keys) as I tend to do when it comes to offering encouragement to another writer who seems to have lost his or her way by trying to do it some other way that others think is best. I wanted to post it here so that it will safe and secure on my writer site and so that I will come back to it often enough to follow the advice myself that I gave to this writer friend:

Hi Alex:
Gee, I don’t know where to start. It’s always good to start at this place: No course or advice or suggestion or feedback should sway anyone from following their own mission statement in life. No course or advice or suggestion or feedback is that powerful! I’m a messy rule-breaker, a totally non-status quo kind of guy, a radical, a “To Thine Own Self Be True” man, who wishes sometimes he could follow the road others want mapped out for me (it might be easier?), but I just can’t do it. I can’t lose my voice and I’ll do just that if all these other outside voices have their way with me. No, it is my voice and it is my journey and no one gets to take it exactly as I take it, feel it exactly as I feel it, see it exactly as I see it. They can try, and God knows they sure do, but it just can’t be their sandals I put on and walk ahead their way. I got my own pair of God sandals and I wear them and I walk in them and I go His way (or no way), keeping them firmly on my feet. The ones who I consider have “made it” by “To Thine Own Self Be True,” are the ones like Barbra Streisand who changed ABSOLUTELY nothing about her face or nose or personality, though others said she would never “make it” if she didn’t; Ingmar Bergman who had the audacity to bring his camera so close to a person’s face that there was simply nowhere for the character to hide; Vincent Van Gogh who only wanted to see beauty in the world and create from it but, in the end, it was just too much brutality and not enough beauty; Sylvia Plath who wrote poetry that cut, dissected, enraged, outraged when certainly no female poet (or male poet, for that matter) was bold enough to attempt that; the painter Edvard Munch who did a painting called, THE SCREAM, that I’m sure had everyone viewing it and screaming at the top of their lungs right along with it. I suppose I could go on and on talking about this course (and this course, TWP, that we are in), but suffice to say, Alex, follow your heart, follow you, follow your voice, follow your emotions, follow your way and let that be the only way you need follow. I’m more than willing to walk beside you on your journey, but please know I won’t ask you to take off your sandals so I can put them on my feet. You keep on your sandals, I will keep on my sandals, and we shall walk together. We’re gonna fall, step over some bumps (hopefully, not step on any insects in the process), get tired, want to turn back, but we just keep “right on truckin'” no matter what others say, feel, think, do, etc. We just say and feel and think and do what we gotta say and feel and think and do. That is just how it is and how it shall be.

Happy and blessed writing always!

– Timothy J. Verret

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