“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I am afraid of.” - Joss Whedon
I began writing this book as a challenge or a dare to myself. I'd spent a lot of years talking about writing. I'd also spent a lot of years telling myself that I didn't have any fiction in me. I grew tired of that story. When I look back at 2015, I will remember it for many things. But one of the biggest things that will stand out will be how it was the year I stopped repeating narratives that were outdated or simply untrue.
I set out to write Astrid's story to put the narrative to rest. Either I did have fiction in me or not, but I would KNOW having tried it.
I didn't know in January that writing every day would become a lifeline through one of the most difficult times of my life. It became an oxygen mask. When things around me felt crumbly, I would put on the mask, make use of the assisted air, and keep going.
Just as Joss Whedon expresses in the quotation above, writing has given me strength. I have written my characters to be what I am not, and I have definitely written to explore what I am afraid of.
Astrid is confident and brave in ways I am not. She isn't fearful of confrontation. She says what needs to be said even when it's hard. She's not afraid of ruffling feathers. When she stands up for herself the words come out of her mouth fully formed and confident. As I try to do the same, the effect is more clunky than polished, wavering instead of solid.
If I've been able to give Astrid those words to say and the attitude and courage to convey them, then I have to believe that somewhere deep inside of me are the words and attitude and courage to do the same for myself. In conjuring up Astrid, I have created a role model for who I want to be moving forward. Through Astrid and the other characters, I get to practice being all the things I want to be but am afraid of in real life. Astrid the character and Astrid the project are teaching me to stop avoiding fears. To walk through what scares me most because likely the anticipation of said scary thing is much worse than just facing it head on.
I can no longer say that I'm not a fiction writer. I proved myself wrong. I, indeed, have a story. I know this now because I WROTE IT.