Courage

I’ve watched every season of American Idol except one – the season where Carrie Underwood won. This season I think they have some of the best singers the show has ever had. I realized tonight, an epiphany of sorts, just how courageous these kids are.

Last weekend I attended Dreamin’ in Dallas, a writer’s conference. Writers, agents, and editors flew in from all over the US, some as far away as Seattle. There were NYT and USA Today bestselling authors as well as writers who have just begun to write their first novels. I just recently completed my second manuscript. I celebrated by starting my another. At the conference, I pitched my second, Illegal Activities, to an agent. She requested for me to send it to her.

Some athletes are superstitious. They wear the same colored socks for every game or some other bizarre thing all in the vain hope it will help them repeat a previous win. We writers have our own idiosyncrasies. I, by no means, am an exception. I don’t like talking about my current work, whichever story I’m writing at the moment. I’m afraid if I talk about it I’ll lose the desire to write it. So, I don’t talk about it. I don’t like letting other people read it. Not because I’m afraid of being criticized or even lauded as the next best thing, no, it’s none of those things. It’s because if you bare your soul, or even part of it, essentially giving that to everyone who reads your story, what do you have left? What will I have left?

But, Kim, you say, you write the blog and don’t care if anyone reads it. The blog is all true. Maybe a little exaggerated in certain parts, but true.

And then there’s the American Idol contestants. How brave they are. They stand, center stage, before millions, and sing their hearts out. Then, after the applause dies down and the people sit,  they stand, soul bared, before three people who critique them while millions watch and pass judgement in the form of voting for their favorites. And they do this week after week until only one is left standing, center stage.

That’s courage. To do something despite your fear.

I’ll send the agent my work. I know, intellectually, my soul is still my own, that I haven’t bled onto the pages. Because, honestly, after it’s written, it’s no longer mine anymore. I have a hard time remembering this though. I still want to clutch it to me, greedily, and keep it as only mine, not sharing.

Stories are always best when they’re shared. If I don’t share them, what will I have left?

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