Write what you know
~Journal entry, Sept. 2001
Write what you know, experts always say. Trouble is, as I go through life, I know less and less; very disconcerting that is—I must say. I know a lot about crying and quite a bit about sex. So how do I go about telling a humorous story with lots of tears and sex? It is pretty funny, in a way, how much I cry, I mean. Here I am the main character in my own life and what I know best is crying. I’ve come to learn a lot about suffering too. Boy does it suck . . . I know doubt. I know fear. I know jealousy. I know insecurity and lack of self worth. I know self-judgment and judging others. Such a long way I’ve come. I know orgasm and wild sex—though even here I can barely admit what I know about that. I know what it feels like to be rejected and abandoned. I know what it feels like to be present. Hmm . . . again what I know best is crying and orgasm . . . Oh and I’m really scared half the time.
~excerpt from More
October 17, 2014
“What is the truest thing you know?” he asks.
I pause because I have reflected on that before. I pause, too, because having graduated from UCLA with highest honors, followed by running several of my own businesses, followed by spending years on a spiritual path, it seems like I should know a lot. I’ve certainly learned a bunch of stuff—but that, I sense, is different from what I am being asked.
I hem and haw and think of spouting any number of scientific or other facts, or saying a smarty-pants answer like “the sun will rise tomorrow.”
Then, I think of sharing a deep-seated intuition or gut instinct for it often feels like I know something. And, God knows I am righteous sometimes, especially when triggered by my husband . . . I know he shouldn’t have said or done x, y or z . . .
But, what do I really know?
. . . well . . .
Truth is . . .
And, strangely I don’t really even know that enough to share it.
But, here’s the thing I’ve discovered: “grokking” (to borrow a term from Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land) for even a moment that I don’t know anything is profoundly liberating. All of a sudden my mind shuts down and I get that life really is a mystery, burgeoning with potential—and then it dawns on me I am that potential: a ripe fertile patch of unplanted earth teeming with everything it needs.
In a singular moment of honesty, I experience a metaphorical sharp intake of breath—gasp—combined with mind-boggling awe, a hint of curiosity, and appreciation for it being that way.
And, as all the things I’ve been conditioned to think I know slip away, so too do fear and self-judgment.
So yeah . . . not knowing anything won’t get me any gigs, but, I write about it here to remind myself that it is the truest thing I have known.
On the other hand, maybe I am just blowing smoke and a truer answer is that of an acquaintance who, when asked the same question, paused at some length before responding and said thoughtfully: “I know! I love my blue shoes.”