Sometimes when I write about my life I get a little weepy. It always happens when I tell a story differently for the first time. Usually I don’t understand that the story I am telling wants to be told differently. I believe my old version of that story was The Truth and need not be questioned anymore than mathematics needs to be questioned. These stories are always about how things would have gone better if I had tried a little harder or if I were little smarter, or how life just doesn’t work out for the best all the time and I just have to accept that.

Fortunately writing is sneaky. The goal is always to sort of hypnotize myself so that I can believe completely in something that no one else can see or touch or smell, believe in it more than all the things I can see and touch and smell. The more I believe, the friendlier I feel, and now stories have a way of changing when I tell them from within this trance. The moment I tell that story differently, the moment I see that I never had to try harder or be smarter or require life to be anything other than what it already is, I get a little weepy. It is the release that comes when I feel at last the difference between carrying the weight of the old story and moving forward without it.

Once I’ve found the new story, I want to tell it to other people, particularly if I’m invited to talk to writers, many of whom have heard stories about how some writers have “what it takes” and some do not, and how things don’t always work out for the best. Because I’ve already found the new story, I believe I can tell it without a hiccup. But when I reach the moment of epiphany, I find I become choked up all over again. I’ve returned to the scene of the crime and accidentally picked up the weight again, and so have to release it again.

I don’t mind getting a little teary on stage, but I came to realize that if I got choked up, the audience didn’t. If I wanted to give them the opportunity to release what I had released, I could not pick up the weight. So I taught myself to proceed with care. With every word I had to believe again in where I was and not where I had been, hypnotizing myself so I can believe again in a weightless world.

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