Recently, I reached out to a few people from my past…college friends and other people who haven’t seen me in years. In several cases, I noted diffidently that if they wanted to know more about what I had been doing they could check out the things I have written here.
What I did not always say was that reading these things might help them make a decision about whether, or to what degree, they wanted any renewed contact with me.
Offering Not This Song as a source of information makes me feel…well, vulnerable is a mild word for what it makes me feel. At the same time, though, I’m proud of having something–anything–to offer.
It has been bringing an old quotation to mind, one from Christian writings:
“By their fruits ye shall know them.
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
It’s been pointed out that many would-be creators spend a lot of time talking about what our fruit will look like, instead of creating it and letting it speak for itself. Sometimes it feels safer to explain a creation than to make it, especially if we really want people to get it. It feels safer to keep it unmade until we can make the perfect version of it.
At any rate, I am having the experience of inviting people to judge me by my fruit. It’s not a new experience for published writers, but it’s a new one for me. It’s one thing to share some of my writing with friends when I think they will find it interesting for reasons of their own, but it’s another to say: If you want to understand where I’m coming from, go read that stuff. The fruit is over there. Watch out for wasps.
How arrogant it might seem, even though I feel the opposite way.
But how effective!
Really, can you imagine? If someone is going to be turned off by some of my quirks, the collection of essays on this site should accomplish it nicely. By the same token, if an old friend or acquaintance sees something in me they identify with or want more of, they are certain to find it represented somewhere in these stories.
But…What if they think it’s all stupid?
What if they write me off as a recovery nut and nothing else?
What if they think I’m too crazy to trust with any place in their life?
What if it makes no impression on them at all, positive or negative?
Then that’s what it is. It’s no different from what we all face every time we interact with another person. With every word and action, we place our head upon the metaphorical block and risk the falling of the ax.