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Making a Mark – Being Vulnerable As a Writer

In 2019 I was invited to participate in the documentary, The Creative Imperative—interviews with 21 writers, artists, musicians, and actors, discussing what makes them create.

I was honored, and panicked. As a writer and an artist, my first thought was, “What if everyone else is better than I am?” Once I’d spoken at a convention directly after someone famous. After he finished his talk, everyone got up and left. Everyone, except my husband Steve who kindly remained to provide my audience of one. Part of creativity, at least in my experience, comes with personal exposure and a high degree of vulnerability.

But I accepted the invitation to take part in the documentary anyway. A creative life requires bravery. Under bright lights with cameras rolling, I sat and answered questions. Afterward, I had no clear recollection of what I’d said.

At the film’s premiere, I listened to artists attempting to articulate the source of their passion. Collectively, they spoke of a need to communicate, to be heard, seen, understood, to take in the world around them, to understand themselves. I was surprised to hear myself say, “I have always felt the need to make a mark.” It’s true, but hearing myself say it changed something in me, repositioned my stance away from self-critic, from allowing negative evaluation to inhibit or even stop me from creating. I now honor the urge to make that mark. Let others do with it what they will. Making my mark is all I need to do.

A current Novel Incubator participant, Lou Storey is an artist and retired psychotherapist who recently moved to Savannah, Georgia. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times’ Tiny Love Stories, Beyond Words Anthology, and various mental health journals.