Jumping the Flame

Last night after writing, I kept wondering “What is it?” What is that thing that I can feel out there, waiting?

Then I thought “It’s sort of interesting that the path I’m teaching with Ravyn is ‘Write your initiation story’ … and I haven’t done that.”

I’ve started it. I’ve been working on it for years, though I didn’t know it at the time. I wrote down the steps as I went through them. The catalyst. The fun and games. The cave…

At least, that is what you would call the steps if you were plotting them on the Hero’s Journey map.

But on an initiation map? How is this the same? How is it different?

If only I knew someone who knows something about this journey…

I talked to Susan about this today. It’s time to return to my memoir, to face it with some courage.  It is, I am coming to realize, an initiation story in the making.

“Can Jack and Bob help you?” Susan said, referring to the writing mentors who run my writing group and  who have been encouraging me for years.

“They said I need a female editor,” I said. “I think they will help if I ask them, but I need to make some more progress on my own.”

“Are you ready to work with an editor?” Susan asked.


“Why not?”

“Well, I need to have my material more prepared. Like even twenty pages polished and ready. But I am going to a talk on collage writing on Thursday night…”

“I’m not talking about an editor who will sell your work to their publisher. I’m talking about a writing coach. Someone who can help you prepare your work and hold you accountable.”

My reaction to this was so interesting. Like, part of me is a flame that jumps with oxygen. And part of me a snuffer that said “You shouldn’t need a writing coach. Just get it done.”

I’ve never noticed before that “snuffer” and “fluffer” rhyme. Kind of opposite meanings here, though.

I’ve seen this before, at previous growth points, though. I need some help, some mentoring to move through to a next phase of strength, power. I’ve been feeling this need a lot lately: to have some structure, guidance, learning, support. I’ve started daydreaming about getting a master’s degree…

“You need a mentor,” Susan said.

Yes. Yes, that’s it.

And as before, the part of myself that would rather die than cross the threshold fights this with shame and Republican messaging: You shouldn’t need that. If you had a decent work ethic, you could do this on your own...

This is the same voice of the patriarchy that says that moms shouldn’t need childcare, working women shouldn’t need to hire help, wives and girlfriends shouldn’t need to come every time.

I don’t think so.

Now is the time to take chances, give to myself, say yes to my inner voices, to leap…

Susan recommended a local memoir writer who a friend of hers worked with. The writer’s memoir was spiritual and successful and my local used bookstore is holding a copy for me for $9 in hardback.

I’m going to pick it up tomorrow.