My friend and fellow author Michelle Titus sent me an uplifting email after she read my book When I was Young I Flew the Sun as a Kite. In her email she wrote, “It is a great gift to be able to work life out on paper. It’s a slow death to the enemy, that being death by paper cut.”
I love this idea: working out life on paper is a slow death by paper cut to the enemy.
When I say enemy some will think of satan himself. And that is true—he is our enemy. But sometimes as writers, as artists, and as humans we are our own worst enemy. We allow past failure to anchor us in place. We acquiesce to fear of rejection—allowing it to hold us back. We let the mundane distract us. We replay words of hurt in our minds—essentially putting a cork in our own creativity.
Instead, I challenge you to type out your old wounds on paper. Allow the clicky-clack of the keyboard to become the soothing music of your life. Continue typing as tears stream down your face, words fall messily into place, and pains are released from your fingertips onto the page. Work out your life on paper. Work out the past, the present, and the future in ink. Let go of the wretched, the embarrassing, the hurtful, the rocks people threw at you and you held onto deep in your soul, let them out onto paper. Tell the stories you have been too afraid to release, both imaginary and true.
Writing is a slow death by paper cut to all of our enemies. The one in our heads telling us we aren’t good enough. The one who tells us that no one would want to read our drivel. The enemy that zaps our energy, steals our time, distracts us to do other chores when we should have been writing.
Once upon a time I fought a sword fight with my brother using paper swords, wearing paper bags as armor and homemade paper hats. It was captured in black and white on film. We watched it over and over again over popcorn during my childhood. I imagine that scene when I think of the war we are empowered to wage against the enemy by inflicting death by paper cut as I work out the pain, joy, memories and future on paper.
I invite you to lift up your paper swords and mount a full on charge against your enemies.