When Brad asked me to join Invictus, I was hesitant. I had never considered myself to be writer, and I had never written anything on this scale, let alone this personal. But I learned a long time ago that I can trust Brad, so when he told me I needed to do this I believed him.
Those who know me can tell you that I don’t share much about myself unprompted. I’m just not a “sharer.” When Brad asked us to talk about ourselves, and made us go deep, I was extremely uncomfortable. How often do you share the bits of you that really matter with a group of strangers? I don’t even share those things with my friends and family most of the time.
The group seemed most interested in where I come from and how I was raised, which was doubly difficult to talk about because my mother and I were losing our house at the time. But, when everyone else shared their stories, I realized that this was something I needed to talk about. Those sessions were uncomfortable, but in the end they were necessary for all of us to go beyond the classroom and become a writing group.
That being said, this project made me think about the things I never think about, hence the title of my piece, “It’s Like the Weather.” We don’t often pay attention to the things that really shape us and drive us, because it becomes the background of our lives. Invictus changes that. We’re all a little messed up and a tiny bit broken. Invictus breaks you, or at least makes you realize you’re broken in the first place. But it’s in the breaking that truth is found and you come face to face with who you are. The process of writing involves more than just putting words on the page. You have to be able to look at life, see the story, and write it the best you can.
Looking back at my piece six months later, I can see that I was telling the wrong story. I took the story in one direction, when the story was pushing me in another. Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of everything is shit.” Well, the first fifteen drafts of mine were shit, and even the final draft is shitty, just a little less so. But I’m proud of that piece of shit. I didn’t think I could write, but I did.
Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favorite human beings, once said, “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
So it goes.