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A Calendar of Writerly Fears for Every Day of the Year

A Calendar of Writerly Fears for Every Day of the Year

Published Jan 18, 2023 Updated Jan 18, 2023
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A Calendar of Writerly Fears for Every Day of the Year

Workshop Diary 5

Translator: Austin Wagner



I fear the empty page.

I fear the first letter.

The first sentence.

The first paragraph.

Up until the last line I fear, no matter how many times I embark on a new story, that nothing will come together, I’ll just enter into the thick of the forest, into the ever more pervasive darkness, and never make it out. The search dogs will find my fungus-addled corpse.

I fear the things I write about interest only me.

I fear they interest me so much my footnotes will have footnotes.

I fear I won’t have space to think about anything else, I’ll forget birthdays, my taxes, leave my umbrella on the bus, and in the end, others will just shrug and ask: “But why was this so interesting?”

And I fear the other side of the coin even more.

That one day what I write about will not interest even me.

That I will want to use words to pay for electricity and coffee and bread, but I’ll be an administrator or an accountant or a lawyer.

I fear the labyrinthine contract.

The public readings.

The missed events.

The interview gaffes.

That I’ll misspell a reader’s name – I’ve long since given up writing the correct date.

I fear the deadlines.

I fear I won’t have deadlines.

I fear what I write is overly eccentric.

That I’ll be just as weird in literature as I was in elementary school, the girl no one wanted to sit next to because she said unsettling things about death, about animal rights, who wanted to populate the courtyard with imaginary cities and could never watch Sailor Moon after school.

I fear that even if being weird is sometimes fashionable, or edgy, or cool, I’m not the right kind of weird that’s fashionable, or edgy, or cool. Just the kind who says the wrong thing at the wrong time during a conversation, gets lost no matter where she goes, and hates to pick up a ringing phone.

I fear I think about these things more than is healthy.

I fear I’m just avoiding the text.

I fear the text is what I truly fear.

That someday I’ll no longer notice my bad sentences.

Or notice my good sentences.

I fear I’ll forget how to write.

I fear I never even knew how to write.

I fear that…

I fear that…

I fear that I receive more love than I deserve.

There, I said it.

They say if we speak a fear aloud, we begin to overcome it.

Well this didn’t help me overcome shit.

I’m still afraid.

I fear that I will repeat myself, use the same themes, use the same themes, use the same themes, and not notice.

I fear I’ll write something so different no one will recognize it’s me.

I fear I’ll lose the person I am in my writing.

I fear I just need to sit down and start what I want to start, forget everything else. That’s the point after all, it’s just me and the text, forget all the expectations, trends, popular taste, weirdness or normalcy, real or imagined, and of course the fears, especially the fears, so that only the game remains, my created world in my private sandbox, the non-existent characters I will tell everybody about as if they existed, the pull that made me want to be a writer, not an administrator, not an accountant, not a lawyer, that’s the game, without stakes and only mine for as long as I don’t release it from my grasp, the thing I most desire – and the thing I most fear.

I fear I’m too afraid.

I fear my imagination isn’t big enough to imagine everything I could fear.

But most of all, I fear that one day I won’t fear any of this.


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