At yesterday’s meeting with the Toronto Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers group, a friend there mentioned that he’d been reading my blog and peeling back the layers of the onion that is Erin. While I’m truly delighted to know when my friends read this, in that moment my insides clenched in panic at the thought of “oh my God someone reads this and oh my God they might SEE ME!” Fear is always the first thing I go to; the delight comes after, once I’ve dealt with the fear.

You would think, after several months of putting my thoughts on the internet and knowing that people read them, having that fact acknowledged wouldn’t cause a momentary panic. The whole point of this is for people to see a bit of what goes on in my head, and maybe be interested for that hopefully not-too-distant day when I start getting published in earnest.

It is a difficult thing for someone who’s spent most of her life trying to be invisible. People who get noticed might get mocked or, even worse, shamed, and that was a thing my fragile self-esteem couldn’t bear. Easier to be quiet, a wallflower who never puts her hand up, and certainly doesn’t put her thoughts in a forum where anyone might stumble upon them.

It’s one of many things I’ve been actively trying to get over. I want to be truer to myself in how I look, what I say and what I do, even if that means someone might see me and not like what they see. I want to make it so that the only lies I’m telling are the stories I make up. I want everything else people see to be some true part of me.

And really, even the stories aren’t complete lies, are they? Everything I write is based on a place I’ve been, a thought I had, someone I knew, something I did or dreamed, or a feeling that lives in me. None of it is completely independent of the person I am.

I think that a large part of the beauty of fiction lies in finding the truth hiding between all the lies of world and character. My favourite books are the ones where I can feel the truth seeping out of them, demanding to be seen. The lies authors tell are just the wrapping paper for the gift of unexpected honesty.

That’s why sharing the stories is difficult. My truths are in there, waiting to be seen if you know where to look. My writing exposes some part of me that I’ve probably been hiding. But for all my fear, there is also such joy when someone reads it and resonates with my writing. It’s getting easier to remember that joy, and the fear is passing faster every time. Thus is my progress measured.  

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