Oil and Rust

I have a friend who says, “Enlightenment is lonely.  You can’t relate to people the way you normally do.”  She cites inner peace as a kind of impairment where our regular conversations fall into meaningless excess, and I understand.

This is how I feel about writing.

In the past, I’ve written.  I journaled notebooks raw with curses and smite.  I wrote long concentrated stories with questionable protagonists.  I reached in and tried to turn back the maternal clock stuck tight and hard with iron rust.  But until now, I’ve never broken through.

I can tell you on this stage what I can’t tell you eye to eye because I’m afraid you’ll laugh.  Easy.

I’m afraid you won’t get that when I put my ABC’s in the right order and blink my eyes and swallow hard that my hands might be shaking.

Until now, this was how I thought of myself:

“Who cared that you wrote your ass off every waking moment that you weren’t changing diapers or delivering flowers or making double mocha skinny half-cafs. YOU didn’t have SUCCESS.”  —Laura Munson, This Is Not The Story You Think It Is

Before anybody had the chance to doubt me, I doubted myself.  I can put blame in a lot of places, but when it comes to the end I have to ask, who was the one sitting around all day whining?


And I’m done.  Just like that.

But I can’t tell you about this new freedom because I sound all New Age-y and reborn and that’s not me.  Except that it is, in a way.

We’re all here looking for what it is that works for us, completes us, makes our engines strum.  Sometimes it’s God.  Sometimes it’s drugs.  Sometimes it’s truth.

For me, it’s putting my ABC’s in the right order and I’ll be damned if I’m not right.  Because nobody knows until they feel it.

And I gotta say, I must be doing something right because there are a few of you out there, well, I can’t even tell you how grateful I am.

You shine.

So tell me, what makes your engine strum?


About E. Victoria Flynn

E. Victoria Flynn is a mother and a writer living in Southern Wisconsin. Published in a variety of venues, Victoria is currently writing the first in a series of three fantasy novels based on Cornish folklore. When not taking part in a shrieking dance party or engrossed in her own little fictions, Victoria is keen on art, the natural world and people unafraid to explore their own brilliance.
This entry was posted in memoir writing, quotes and wisdom, Self-Reliance, truth and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Oil and Rust

  1. Lisa says:

    What makes me hum and shiver… as one song puts it… well, poetry that spews out of me in beautiful ribbons of color. Knowing I had just turned something painful into something beautiful. God makes me sing nowadays. My kids make me feel all squishy inside… most of the time. 🙂 My husband’s gaze.

  2. Karen Monroy says:

    Victoria, if enlightenment gets lonely….come camp with me. I’m soldiering on with it 🙂 and would love fellow campers!
    wonderful piece and I love you quoted from Laura’s book!
    Blessings, Karen

    • pennyjars says:

      Thanks, Karen. I don’t know that I’m enlightened, but I like the bright twinges of unexplained clarity that have been hitting with more force lately. And I love a good camping trip!

  3. kario says:

    Writing makes me…something. I can’t NOT write, I know that, but I hate that it is all too easy to get so far inside my own head/writing that I don’t have a very good perspective of whether or not it is actually good writing. I hate that my heart sings every time someone praises my writing because that means that I need an audience and without it, it’s hard to justify continuing to write. But I do have occasional moments where I know what I’ve just written is glorious and just so right, and even then my instinct is to run out the front door waving the paper in the sunlight and screaming to everyone because I want to share it. I can’t decide if that’s wrong…

    • pennyjars says:


      I think that if you get so far into your own head and writing you have a perfect perspective of its value. Whether or not it needs editing, eh.

      I know what you’re saying about readers though. That’s hard to bite through. As artists I think we just need to keep practicing our craft, writing and writing and writing what’s true to us. It feels so incredibly great to get the words out–without guilt.

  4. Oh, yes, I relate so much to your words and Kario’s, too. Yesterday morning, I went straight from bed to legal pad and wrote for two hours (first time in awhile, that directly). By day’s end, the short piece that emerged was submitted to three lit mags (they permit simultaneous submissions, just ask to be notified if the piece is accepted elsewhere asap). I’ll be turning 60 in 2011 and am feeling the press of time. I haven’t been submitting much new writing lately. Yesterday was pure joy.

    • pennyjars says:

      Elizabeth, That sounds like a fantastic day. I’ve never had a writing day like that. Now you’re giving me something to strive for. I hope you hear back quickly and with great enthusiasm.

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