Athena leaped from the head of Zeus fully formed and so did this venture. “Guess what! You’re going to start a daily writing blog!” The instant my wayward muse announced this idea, the name popped into my head: My Year of Writing Dangerously. For me, writing dangerously means putting my creative writing center stage and pushing it to the next level.
Many moons ago, I attended a talk at the New York Public Library. I can’t recall the name of the writer who spoke or what he looked like, but I’ve never forgotten two priceless gems of wisdom he offered.
The first was to devote a lot of care to crafting your first sentence. Open every story with a bang: grab your reader’s attention and don’t let go. As an example, he quoted a first line I remember to this day: “My heart, I thought it stopped.”
But it was his second piece of advice that was a heart-stopper for me. “How do you know what to write about?” someone asked. The speaker’s reply: “Write about what’s most dangerous.”
I’ve always taken his words to mean “Write about what matters most to you.” Go to the places where you’re most vulnerable, where the pain is, where the risk of revealing yourself is the greatest, then transform and share what you find there in some way.
While I resisted this idea for a long time, I was always dipping my toe in the dangerous – writing poetry, bits and pieces of a memoir, a play about a woman who reinvents herself. Now, as I launch this blog, my message to myself and my readers is, “Dive in – the water’s fine!” “Everyone has talent,” Erica Jong mused. “What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads.” And then to light the way home.