A Visit With The Nay-Sayer

for Writer’s Island prompt #10  fork in the road

She came to visit, yesterday morning, while I was writing in my journal about how good it feels to find this new level, layer in what I love to do. You know her, we all own some version of that voice that reminds us of fingernails scratching down blackboards.

There I was, basking in the after glow of a job well done, patting myself on the back for daring to run with the words and let them find their way to a place I’d never dreamed of going, and suddenly she was there, standing with her arms crossed, looking down her nose at me, as though I am but a speck, so far below her consideration that she just can’t imagine why she should bother at all. Her displeasure dripping from her lips, punctuated by a tapping foot that beats out the rhythms of her barely held in annoyance.

“What?” she demands, “you think this is going to go on forever? So, you wrote a couple of good pieces and got a bit of positive feedback. So what? It isn’t going to go anywhere, and its just a passing phase, a momentary illusion. Why do you do this, over and over again?”

I look at her, kind of scratch my head, see a wisp of a little girl, digging her bare toes into brown dirt, and ask, “Why does it have to end? I mean, maybe I’ve just begun?”

“Listen up, sugar. You, yourself just wrote, not all that long ago, that the one constancy in life is change. Nothing is forever, because forever never happens. Not in this life, and who the hell can know about the next one, if there is a next one? One can believe, but that is certainly no kind of guarantee.”

“Okay, I have to agree with that bit about change being the only constant, but I think that this change is a reward for sticking to it all of these years. The natural fruition of that persistence. It’s finally paying off, don’t you see?”

“Yah,” she grudgingly spits out, “I’ll admit you’ve done some fairly good writing of late, but where the hell is this all gonna take you? You are not getting paid for any of this, it’s the Internet, for Pete’s sake!”

“But,” my head comes up so I can look her in the eye, “I’ve never been in it for the money. So, your argument doesn’t hold water. We both know, I got into it because it helps to make sense of  my own existence, and that hasn’t changed, and never will. I still want to know, still want to understand how and why I tick. Why I am so different from the others. Why my mind works the way it does. I actually want to know how it works. Why I see one thing, and they see another. Why I hear the words that lie behind whatever is spoken and written. How I know what I’m not supposed to know, and why the hell is that?”

Releasing her arms from their death clamp of crossed swords, she flings them up in the air, “How the hell would I know the answers to all of that? How can anyone know those things? Maybe its just because you are strange? Different? Never really been successful? Certainly not in a sense that anyone in their right mind would accept?

And don’t give me that crap about how you have a different definition of what success really is. Plain and simple: you are dirt poor, can’t afford to have even a minor crisis, because if one should occur, your entire wee applecart would collapse and you’d be standing here bawling and wringing your hands.”

In my head, I know she is correct on some levels, but I feel a soft smile curve my lips, and slowly start shaking my head, “This is just more of that whole money thing. I really do have a different definition for success. To me, it has little or nothing to do with what other people think, or conclude.

It has to do with how I see, feel, and think about my own person. Me. If I can be a good human being (and I’m still working on what that is), and all that that definition entails, then I will have succeeded in my life. If I can be aware, at all times, that all other human beings have as much right to be here, to exist, to thrive to the best of their ability, just as I am attempting to do, then I will have been successful. And that success will allow me to be content with my efforts, satisfied with what I am doing and being. Able to sleep well at night, knowing I have done the very best that I can do.”

“Oh what perfect shit!”, she says, almost dancing in her agitation, “What unadulterated crap! Do you really think that’s possible? If it were, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because I wouldn’t even exist!”

I can’t help it, I grin, point my finger straight at her and say, “Bingo!”

Poof! She’s gone. I know she will return. Doubt (especially self-doubt) is almost as constant as change. But, Doubt is not a devil with a pitchfork driving us to the edge of an abyss. Doubt is an opportunity to discern the ins and outs of the curves in the path of our journey. She may very well be a distant cousin, perhaps once removed, to that thing we define as Intuition.


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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6 Responses to A Visit With The Nay-Sayer

  1. This is brilliant! We all have these horrible DOUBT’s (dirty rotten bitch she may be) but fighting against them is the best form of winning!
    (Thank you so much for the wonderful comment on my poem, “Robert Frost”.
    These comments help keep that awful bitch off our backs..don’t you agree?

    • 1sojournal says:

      This actually started, again, in my journal. I realized what was going on and took a few notes. And yes, the memory of all those comments coming through my blog sites, let me stay calm enough to respond to her. I felt a great deal like Dorothy must have felt when she accidently doused the wicked witch with water. And comments, like yours, help me stay calm when others define what I do as only a “hobby” because I don’t make money doing it. Thank you, and maybe someday we could sit down and talk about that word “brilliant”? She jumps on that one, a lot.


      • vivinfrance says:

        Poets don’t make money, unless they teach;
        and it’s a way of life, a compulsion, not a hobby.
        The act of sharing – poems, experiences, is a GOOD thing.

  2. 1sojournal says:

    Hi Viv,

    I know that poets don’t make money, even when they teach, at least not enough to live well on, lol. And, just as with any other “occupation”, it can be a compulsion, a drive, or even a hobby. I once had a college poetry prof tell me that although I had worked harder, learned and grew more than anyone else in his classroom, I was a middle-aged woman still raising children, who would write an occasional poem, like other women knit socks. His A’s were precious things, and he had to be stingy with them, so they must go to those one or two young men in the classroom who were definitely aimed at careers in the writing field. Payback took a while, but I managed it with some amount of grace, years later.

    It is not my aim to be the best poet. As I said above, my aim is to be the best human being I know how to be, and that human being just happens to write some damned good poetry. You are absolutely correct. This act of sharing, both poems and experiences is a GOOD thing, but I will go one step further. It is an excellent HUMAN POET thing. That is why I am here and not knitting socks.


  3. Susan B says:

    Doubt, my a**: I think it carries some remarkedly familiar features! Good to read you in all aspects. I always learn more about you, as well as about me. Thank you, sister.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hey sis,

      I was actually thinking that she might be the shadow side of intuition, you know, a dark sister? The kind that takes just enough of the truth and twists it into infinity and beyond, that you end up panting and can’t remember where you were, let alone what you wanted to say about anything.

      And thanks again, for all you do and are. We may have adopted our sisterhood, but I’m damned glad you are a part of my ‘extended’ family.

      PS It was a short nap, and now I face the dishes and the trash, no more hiding out behind this keyboard.

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