Sunday, September 29, 2013

Telling the Untold Story

I just saw this Maya Angelou quote on Twitter: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

The concept of an untold story is nothing new to writers. It’s the germ not yet developed. It’s the illusive space before that moment of clarity when you finally say, “Yes, this is the story I need to tell.” I’ve known for a while it was time to start writing my next book. But no story gave me that “greater agony” to push me forward. I faced the same fear other writers have had before me: what if I don’t have another book in me?
 
Then something amazing happened. A dear friend from Mississippi visited and described a story idea she’d love to write one day. One morning a few weeks after our visit, when I was in a gigantic blue funk about my lack of motivation to write, I texted her:
 
“I need to steal your book idea. I don’t want to write anything else.”
 
That clarity came out of the blue. And it was so strong that it overrode any fear or guilt I might have about asking such a thing from her.
 
Because she loves me, she texted back immediately, “You may have it. You are much more likely to write it. I wouldn’t have told you if I didn’t think you could take it.”
 
Thanks to a generosity I can never repay, the voices in my head (the good kind) are real again. And once again, an untold story is ready to be told. (Katrina, I won't squander your gift.)

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