What May Sarton Said

What May Sarton Said
Late night thoughts, exhausted and fighting the flu.

I am so tired of and exhausted by daily terror. Here is how the terror happens every day:

I have written a book (called Share My Insanity).  I calligraphed its words in my own blood. My earnest hopes were recorded by bruising my hands against the computer keyboard. My beliefs – – which are not from my brain but from my cells – – I wrenched these beliefs from those cells, wrenched them out through my pores as if I were extracting my own entrails, tiny bit by tiny bit, minuscule bits small enough to get through pores. Yes, I am trying to say it hurt and it was hard. And that what I wrote was myself, I put myself in that book. Not a self that is some heroic image, but the me that for nine years wrote the book. Bit by tiny bit of self.

What happens next, after the book comes out, is always the same. Somebody attacks. I become terrified, wait for it to happen. They think that, if I could’ve pulled off a book, then I couldn’t possibly be as sensitive as them! I could not be as nervous and vulnerable and terrified as them, or I would never have been able to write down everything I wanted to write and manage to get it published, right? So they think it’s okay to attack.

But I am just me.

You’re not supposed to make complaints about it, if you’re lucky enough to publish. It sounds like whining, lack of gratitude. Take this blog in context, please. I know that being a writer is a blessing. I’ll be lucky to break even on the book, mind you, but that’s not what’s important. What is important is that I was given the gift of putting into words ideas that help people transform their lives. What is important is that I was given the gift —the ability—to create tools for change that make miracles in peoples lives. So take everything I say here within a context of my immense gratitude and the sense of personal connection I feel with my reader. And the context of me knowing I am blessed b/c I actually get to do what I was put on this earth for.

And where there is great light, there will be great dark. To create great things means to face great challenges. And tonight, my dear friend, I am tired of the challenges. And it is time to finally take off my mask, reveal my terror, not only for my sake, but also for other terrified people. The mask we wear because it is supposedly not okay for us to speak about the terror some humans sometimes live in daily.

We are not supposed to speak of it, so that we can be easy targets for haters, who make assumptions that we must be terrible people based on the simple fact that we have voices at all, let alone convictions. Insisting we must be privileged in ways they are not or we could not have written a book or otherwise spoken up. Though we may live in poverty, do without medical care, or be otherwise oppressed, they must pretend to themselves that we are not like them, that we are “other,” something they can project onto. I am tired, so tired, of being dehumanized.

Some of my terror happens from promoting the book. I don’t mean “promotion” as a fancy word and indecipherable concept. By “promotion,” I simply mean letting potential readers know my book exists. Tweeting about it, mentioning it on Facebook, that sort of thing. I have no publicist or money to promote.

The Great American novelist May Sarton said something along the lines of, “I made friends with the wrong people. I befriended my readers, not the book reviewers.” That is like me! The focus of my work is actually my work: teaching, counseling, writing useful books. I was once invited to be on a spiritual leaders’ list—a networking list. I thought, “I don’t have time to be on a spiritual leader list. I’m too busy being a spiritual leader.” (Mind you, I prefer the term “servant” to “leader.”)

When the time comes to promote, I’m not set up like some queen with her fellow kings and queens and rulers who will promote the book for me. I am a servant, a counselor, a writer. But I am viewed by people who do not know me as “one of them,” someone who supposedly has all sorts of hidden connections that create promotion, connections they themselves could never have. Ha! Tired of being dehumanized and projected onto.

Share My Insanity has a message of life and fullness, light and healing. To try to get word out about it is like being blocked by an edifice of darkness that reaches all the way to the sky. I am staring up at it, looking up hopelessly—I do mean hopelessly—saying, “How do I get around this edifice to the other side where I can tell people the book exists, so that it can be of service?”

The edifice is big business, the edifice is our class system, the edifice is sexism, the edifice is our human avoidance of messages that challenge us to grow. The edifice is Forces of Evil. Yes, I believe Big Evil exists, even though it is not chic, hip, or psychologically kosher to do so.

Luckily, I believe the Divine is bigger than the Dark Construction of my metaphor, that Divinity will work in ways I cannot even imagine. I must rely on Divinity.

 And you are the Divine, too: If you feel one of my books has helped you, I need your help letting others know that my new book exists. I’m not asking for anything fancy or incomprehensible. Just mention Share My Insanity on Face book. Or at your church. Or to one friend.  One person connecting with another person is what I am about, not mass media or massive numbers. Readers not reviewers. 

I joked earlier today, “Having a book out is terrifying and paradoxical: it’s like taking off all your clothes in public, then hoping nobody looks at you.” I choose this public life. I also choose to be a semi-recluse. “Taking my clothes off” is a choice—an insane choice, but I am driven. And I know I’m doing the right thing, hard as it is. And I have great joy as an author and healer. I have real fun promoting.

But in middle of all the terror, the attacks, the feeling of banging my fist uselessly against “the machine,” it is hard to trust the Divine. I find it next to impossible to bring this flawed terrified self into God’s care. Instead, I beat myself up with the idea that I should have some sort of perfect surrender, perfect trust, and an ability to be beyond these painful human feelings.

Primroses in my yard: they bloom at night.

I do not give up on trying to be in God. Not permanently. I keep trying: I keep feeling my light and the light that is a Beneficent Cosmos. I notice light, it is not an idea to me but a reality that I experience. I moved between it and the terror—and along the spectrum between the two—for a long time as I worked toward the book release a week ago. I have continued this spectrum since then.

A lesson from all this is to bring my battered imperfect self into God’s care. I am no saint. I’m just a poet. A healer. A mystic. A teacher. A clown devoted to creating antics in God’s service. I have known great ecstasy and jubilation in my lifetime. I believe I was put on this earth for pleasure. I believe I was also put here to learn. Sometimes I can learn through joy and jokes. Sometimes I must suffer through the pain that is a doorway into growth.

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11 Responses to What May Sarton Said

  1. thomas byrnes / Chicot le Fou says:

    We’re all Pagliacci ; it’s more fun to be Scaramouche ; I have to remind myself of that every day ! We are not alone .

    • francesca says:

      Beautiful! And i am sooo both Pagliacci and Scaramouche. Thank u for reminding me we are not alone!

      • thomas byrnes / Chicot le Fou says:

        Thank YOU , and you don’t need to email your replies anymore . The Idiot Lord of the Luddites finally figured out how to navigate your not confusing site. Think I’ll go be ashamed of myself for a while ( not really ) . Your counsel helped my other situation ; many sincere thanks . Chicot ( Tom is so boring ; ain’t it ? )

        • francesca says:

          Y’r soooo welcome, it means a lot to me that our talk on the ph helped! That’s what i’m here for. Tom is not boring. I know a dude whose ritual name is Robert! Robert and Tom are both good solid names. And so is Chicot!

  2. Dyhana says:

    I just read the part about glitter- you’re my kind of insane :) love it!

    • francesca says:

      Thank you for such support! I am so glad and grateful my insanity works for you! I am not alone, yes! I mean, what I suggest in that part of the book really works for me, it is not just a joke. So it is great when someone both enjoys the joke and gets the added benefit you did. Hey, everyone, she is referring to the essay in Share My Insanity called “Self-Help Glitter,” just so you know. Wheeee!

  3. Diana Law says:

    Since I’ve been doing your Goddess Initiation, I seem to have a synchronous thread running with others on this path, so that would include you. :) Just last week on fb I posted this saying: Haters don’t really hate you, they hate themselves cause you’re a reflection of what they wish to be. and to paraphrase from the Artists Way: critics and energy vampires are frustrated creatives who will try to stop you from creating by telling you that you can’t do it or you suck, because they don’t allow them selves to do what you’re doing. That said, there’s nothing wrong with forming ties with others who will help you with things like accounting or marketing, as one person is rarely good at EVERYTHING. Most successful people have at least one or more people on their team, and I’m sure you already know that.
    I love Patricia’s idea, especially if you can do it with others, like she does with her dog :)
    Thank you for being brave enough to include us in your process.

    • francesca says:

      Thank YOU for yr kind supportive words!! I luv what u said. Welcome back to my site. Happy to see u return. And I hope Share My Insanity will be a useful tool for peops who are trying to “do” despite being confronted by haters, naysayers, and mockers. Ooh, I’m gonna go tweet that last sentence of mine, in case it helps someone! Wheeee!

  4. Patricia Hunt Jacobd says:

    That is the seesaw. When you do good, the bad wants equal measure, to keep the balance. What you can do is make a ritual; when doing good, accomplishing, then tear up something, break something, anything that will pay the devils. My small dog does this for me; she is very good at tearing up boxes and containers!

    I’m very glad for your book! Even with writing and publishing it, you have taken a stand–just that; one person taking a stand has immense ramifications! Perhaps the wicked ones are out-of-their-mind jealous and lashing out; they have seen themselves reflected in your mirror.

    Love you.

    • francesca says:

      Wow, I luv it!! What a great ritual idea! Very old fashioned folk magic! I will use it. And I soooo appreciate yr supportive thoughts!! Thank u!!

  5. francesca says:

    Afterthoughts, the next day: I write a humor book, then post the above terror. Tears of the clown. Also, it interests me that, once I got all the above off my chest, once I took off the mask that hid my terror, I feel great joy about my book, am in a perfect mood to celebrate the book’s release at the online release party today! There is a place for all our emotions! And a need to share them. Because I revealed my terror, today I can feel immense celebration re my book.

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