This is a post for Slice of Life, a regular writing activity on Tuesdays through the year. Hosted by Two Writing Teachers, we look for the small things in life to write about.
I feel regular panic about not knowing exactly what story I’m after. I feel like a fake sometimes when I get an assignment to write a story for Mother Jones, The Week, or Public Radio International. I sit and agonize over how to make my writing acceptable enough for them, over how to make sure my story is fabulous. So, I’ve been reading this book:
“We are rewarded from childhood on for providing answers to questions posed by others. We are taught to process information by memorizing it and retaining it, not by questioning it. Confronted daily by a mass of new information, we rarely stop to consider what is missing.
So many people seem to spend their lives in the inevitably futile quest for certainty. Often this takes the form of religion, which for many provides solace in the face of the unknown and the unknowable.
Questioners, by and large, are viewed as dissidents, heretics, and malcontents.
No wonder the unanswered question prompts such a visceral reaction. Some people seem to panic, others suffer anxiety attacks, and most people feel uncomfortable. To varying degrees, all of us react this way. But instead of repressing or fleeing from such feelings, writers need to embrace them and explore their causes. They are important clues (Stewart, p. 16).”
That is where I am today. I am not fleeing, but I am uncomfortable.