Cuyahoga River

Cuyahoga River
Cuyahoga River in the Valley

Sunday, February 5, 2012

If You Want to be a Writer, Write

That column by Plain Dealer's Regina Brett was next to my computer for years, and it appeared in a compilation of Regina Brett's quotes in  God Never Blinks.
Brett has important things to say about real things that happen to people, to everyone, and things that change people’s lives, like getting abused or raped—she says “your sexual identity is stolen. You don’t get to gradually come of age. When someone else’s sexuality is forced on you, it stunts your own growth. I spent my adult life trying to please a man by doing all the things I guessed he wanted, but I didn’t have a clue as to what made me feel good.” I can use that in my book, I think.

At the end of chapter 10, which made me cry because her Uncle Paul had a sad life and raised a child who was disabled and died young, she said “He’d be the first to say God never gives us more than we were designed to carry. Some of us were designed for more, some for less. No matter what, even if we are asked to carry a portion of sky, it is beyond bearable. It is gift.”

In the chapter “Make Peace with Your Past so it Doesn’t Screw up the Present,” Brett talks about how to get unstuck. First you have to know you’re stuck She said for her, if her “emotions don’t match what just happened, it’s about my childhood. I’ve learned to freeze the moment, just like you would pause a movie, and ask: Wait. Is this reaction about the present moment? Or is it about the past? I can’t change the past. But by changing my response to its leftovers, I can change the present.”

Then there are the sage thoughts in Lesson 29, “What Other People Think of You is none of Your Business,” when she wrote about what readers had to say about her, and her boss at the Beacon Journal asked her if she would be upset if someone called her a chair and she said she’s not a chair and he asked her if she knew whether she was a whore (which someone called her). She goes on to say “Perpetual quietness of the heart. That’s what I truly want underneath all those things I think I want. To be at rest when nobody praises me. That is true freedom.”

She says we should have a personal mission statement upon which you would truly base your life. She concludes that “I am simply a child of God, as valuable and treasured as every other child of God. Not the best, not the worst, and it doesn’t matter a whit what anyone thinks of me.”

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