“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of,” says Joss Whedon.
If you are cultured enough to know who Joss Whedon is, bravo. I on the other hand have to admit that I had to look him up after having read this beautiful and incredibly accurate quote, and am I ever glad I did. Joss Whedon is a screenwriter with some very notable and, if I may say so myself, kick ass screen plays. Some of his works include: The Avengers and Firefly, and my brother-in-law will even chime in to agree with my assertion of his works when I add Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel to his notable titles.
Regardless of your personal feelings for science fiction and supernatural drama, Whedon’s words resound deep in my journey to find my voice as a writer.
Writing gives me strength in ways I can’t explain. I’ve always envied my siblings. Strength has come to them so naturally. Socially they fit in no matter where they go, and people just want to be their friend. They both have a natural charisma and strong personality that I admire in more ways than they will ever realize.
I have looked up to my sister since I was born; I truly believe that is what God designed big sisters for. She was born with a natural strength of self. To me, she is almost superhuman. When I need perspective or when I’m turning into a crazy person, she is usually the first person I call because she is so rock solid in her thinking and emotional outlook. Beyond that she has a strong faith that I can only hope to aspire to someday.
My brother is strong socially and mentally in ways that I will never be. He can think on his feet and react without having to weigh the pros and cons five hundred times. Taking risks and experiencing the fullness of what life has to offer is his speciality. His natural intelligence and wit, not to mention physical strengths, are character traits I lack, but wish I could cultivate.
When I write, I can.
I know this sounds like I’m whining about what I can’t do, but that isn’t my intention. I’m proud of who I am as a person and I have a lot of great qualities—my point is simply that writing gives me a chance to harness the strengths that I have longed for most of my life. It allows me to feel, to heal, and ultimately to be whomever I want to be.
TO BE CHARACTERS I AM NOT
I know who I am.
Writing gives me a chance to be who I am not.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t like who I am; on the contrary, I believe it gives me the chance to show just how much I love myself by exploring the different parts of my own reality and deep desires. And isn’t that what we are all trying to do in this crazy world anyway?
TO EXPLORE ALL THE THINGS I AM AFRAID OF
Because writing gives me strength and because it allows me to be someone I’m not, it allows me to explore worlds, things, and even emotions I am naturally afraid of.
And sadly, I’m afraid of a lot.
I’ve always wanted to take a hot air balloon ride; this shocks most people who know me well simply because I’m terrified of heights. And we’re talking I can barely climb a ladder. In my novel I wrote a scene where my character, also afraid of heights, overcomes this fear and experiences the hot air balloon with a spirit of adventure I’ve never had.
And in a way, that spirit of adventure becomes a part of me helping me to explore and reach to even deeper rooted fears than a physical distaste for heights. Deep within me, deep within most of us, is a fear of rejection. Does writing take away that fear? Of course not; in a lot of ways, it actually opens up it up to public scrutiny. So in that way, writing forces me to face the fear which is an exploration in and of itself.
So, today I am a writer, an artist, an explorer, an adventurer; I am who I am and I am who I am not—who could ask for more?