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A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie
A Year of Writing Dangerously : Daring to Tell

A Year of Writing Dangerously (Day 6)

Daring to Tell

By Barbara Abercrombie

“You know, we do live in ludicrous ignorance of each other. I mean, we usually don't know the things we'd like to know even about our supposedly closest friends. I mean, suppose you're going through some kind of hell in your own life, well, you would love to know if your friends have experienced similar things. But we really don't dare to ask each other.
— Wallace Shawn & André Gregory, My Dinner with André

Here's another response, from a student, to my question about why writing feels dangerous: "Sometimes it feels dangerous to know what I really feel. Because if I acknowledge my feelings outside the safe boundaries of my own heart and mind, if I open up the latch to my subconscious and let those precious secrets leak out, God knows what will happen. I might have to hold myself accountable to these thoughts and feelings. I might have to act upon them. I might have to change. I might have to stop lying to myself and others about what I need and want. I might have to ask for what I need and want. I might have to be a disappointment; I might have to be disappointed; I will disappoint."

This quote and the previous one were not written by people who had been hiding in caves for the past decade. They are both very successful professional people and in positions of power and respect, one a doctor and one a religious leader.

We are all scared of disappointing, of venturing past the safe boundaries of our minds and hearts — those of us still hiding in our caves and those of us whose job it is to help others. We all go around wearing masks. •

Next: Racing Hearts, Churning Stomachs »

Excerpted from A YEAR OF WRITING DANGEROUSLY: 365 Days of Inspiration & Encouragement Copyright © 2012 by Barbara Abercrombie. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. newworldlibrary.com or 800/972-6657 ext. 52.

Barbara AbercrombieBarbara Abercrombie teaches in the writing program at UCLA Extension. The author of novels, children's books, and many essays and articles in national publications, her fourteenth book is "A Year of Writing Dangerously." More »

7/21/12