My new essay about being a teenager and running away to Israel, and making new friends and eventually losing my religion, is out now at Southeast Review! You can find it by following the link here, or in the "Work" section of this website. I love this essay deeply, and have waited a long time for it to come into the world... I'm so happy that it's finally ready!
I spent yesterday reading the new issue, and it's full of brilliant pieces. One of my other favourites is this amazing piece by Toni Mirosevich about competitive ladies showing off new fur coats at church (which lol, opened up a whole drawer of squashed memories in my mind). Grateful to be keeping this company, and really recommend the whole issue if you're looking for a good lit mag to pass the time with.
The other thing I want to do with today's blog post is share a resource that has been helping me.
I've come to realise that overall, there are a ton of books and classes out there on how to skill-up your actual sentences, as a writer. There are also countless resources that help you to create space and discipline in your life, to maintain a regular practice (e.g. writing groups).
But I've not found many resources that pertain to the part of the writing life I struggle with most: the inner feelings of safety, confidence, and security that matter alongside these other things, and in fact, form a necessary precondition for them to flourish. I've heard some people refer to this part of the creative life, a bit cheesily, as "Sanctuary"... at any rate, it seems to be something that's more difficult to talk about candidly, because it's so intensely personal and requires many years of sustained emotional (as opposed to intellectual) effort to build up.
So periodically, on this blog, I would like to share some resources that have been helping me in this area of creative life! Today's piece is this conversation on self-doubt between the writers Sarah Painter and Joanna Penn, which I came across on Youtube some weeks ago.
I really empathise with what Sarah Painter describes here - about how self-doubt is a feeling that comes from within and, in its essence, cannot ever be quelled by any form of outside achievement. She talks here about how the bar will keep rising, no matter how much glory you achieve - unless you turn inwards, and fight that feeling of "I'm not good enough" from within you. I laughed out loud when she described how she told herself that she would finally qualify as a "real writer" once she got an agent... and then once she got a book deal... and then once her book was on the front table at Waterstones... and so on and so forth, chasing the ever-receding horizon line into madness. She talks about the many tricks that she's learned since then, to overcome that horrible feeling of "I'm not good enough"- and the whole conversation is really lively, vulnerable, and relatable. I enjoyed it, and I hope that you might too.