You cannot write about something unless you are shy toward it, shy about it. Then, in the moment and in the act of shyness, you can write about central things. It is the same with people. If you are not shy toward them, you do not appreciate their beauty, their goodness, the helpfulness that comes out of their own shyness.
The things you are able to write through shyness, unexpected, humbly put forth, are the better things, the things that cohere, having a shape of their own. That's how writing is, it's always difficult, trying to grasp at something and then maybe something else comes along, reinforcing what you were after. God's responding help, if you will. And the humility that allows one to continue. And a freedom from the timidity that can fall over the attempt of good acts, artistic and otherwise.
Shyness is not an easy act to pull of, not something we are encouraged to use as a mode of action. Not in the prevailing winds of popular culture, loudness, snooze you lose. A lot of trouble to go through--why? But it is an integral part of writing, the essence of its mode. And I would hope an important element of real friendships, maybe even where Jesus found strength in his disciples, as, before him, they had reason to be shy. No need of my reminding anyone of the shyness of writers, Hemingway, Dostoevsky...
That is how I found what I wished to write about, how, in what terms. And so when I looked back at what I'd written I found a lot of unexpected things. Pay-off, for the difficulties of having to tend bar and having to live that particular life, as opposed to that of the scholar I might have preferred to be. A lot to go through. But then again, less officious...
I wished to write about spiritual things, the spirituality inherent in writing. And one could only approach them with that sense of "but who am I..." But you bite off as much as you can, piece by piece. Worry not about it coming out sounding mawkish, naive, by someone very young and hopeful.
With patience, whatever modest surprises I could feel, reading, that I had in some sense come up with, came as they did.
You would have been a good scholar, my therapist said. You like to read up on all the things that interest you. Could writing be a way of being scholarly?
Hmm, that's a thought, I said.
Blood type, yoga, Buddhism, you could write about things, and spare yourself the costs of grad school... Do you see yourself teaching, or writing?
I felt better leaving her office than when I'd gone there. Encouraged to maybe submit a piece somewhere, I went back and read a few pieces, before taking an hour nap before getting ready for work.