Begone Self-Doubt


Get the fuck out my head.

I told a friend on the phone today that I was walking along and all the sudden my head sprang out of a dark, wet alley and bit me on the ass.

Not true.

My brain was up before the rest of me was awake, say maybe 15 minutes or so, twitching, like a cat about to pounce on a laser pointer.

Perfect metaphor.

By the way.

The cat one, chasing after a laser pointer light; chasing after something not real.

Instincts gone awry.

That little red spot is not a mouse.

Not anything worth pursuing, eating, or really playing with; however you can chase that light all day long, never catching it, getting more and more exhausted, until you give you and call in the cavalry.

I went for a swim, this helped quite a bit.

I got out of my head for an hour and into the pool.

The quick gliding stroke along the bottom of the pool right before the tightness in my chest forces me to rise and breathe in air.  There is a space there where all is quiet, blue lit serene.

To quote my friend Calvin, “SERENITY NOW!”

He says it just like that, all caps.

I laughed at myself when I left Corinne a message detailing the crazy in my head before I headed off to the pool to get reprieve from the monsters up there.

She laughed later when we finally connected and said something that I had not ever heard before, or perhaps had not let myself hear, “you are doing all the work, so your disease is working overtime.”

I knew it.

Little fucker.

I knew you were up today before me, doing push ups, corralling the fear police, getting all decked out in your riot gear.

Note to self, there is no fire to put out.


There is not even the picture of a burning log on a television screen to turn off.

Everything is alright, because it already is.

My head told me today, thanks for sharing!  That I was a shit writer, that no one wants to read my book, that I don’t know what I am doing (there is some truth in that, lies always come off better if they are wrapped up in a little white paper square of truth, like a sandwich wrapped up with a twist of string), that I will never write like so and so…fact is, I get to write like me and that is a huge gift.  

My voice.

I have a voice and I use it.

I express it.

Of course I won’t write like so and so.

I don’t really want to.

I want to write like me.

Oh, I want the success of that writer or this writer.  I want to see my books, yes I said books, up on a shelf in Shakespeare and Company.  Hell, I want to give a reading there.

Preferably when it is warm.

Just hang in there, Martines, the weather is going to change.  Spring is a comin’.

To tell myself that I am not a good writer or that I can’t do it is bullshit.

I am doing it.

I went through and counted how many queries I have sent out since I finished the book–32 total.

My friend suggested that I stop at 40, to represent the new me at 40 in Paris, and I like that. I sent another off today, 33, and that means I have about seven left to do.  Then I will start doing follow-up e-mails.

I have also applied to contests, have submitted my short stories, and an essay, as well as written, still in draft form, a blog for  a new blog a friend is starting (which, I shall also count a success, to not only be asked, but to be asked to be a continuing contributor.  How nice is that?), I have applied to work jobs here in Paris.

And yesterday I also applied to work at the first 24 hour a day English-speaking radio station in Paris.  It is going to be launching in Spring/Summer.  I have some experience writing pieces from when I was a radio news intern at KQED in San Francisco.

It is not a paid position, but it will get me writing more pieces, as well as getting my voice, literally out there.  Anything at this point feels like I have to try it.

I was a little bummed out, I realized, today, a bit defeated after listening to my friend yesterday at Shakespeare and Company.  I believe this is where my head was mining for treasure this morning, up having a double espresso while I was still laying in bed, it lay in waiting, ready to pounce, ready to beat me with the Oak stick.

Corinne made a suggestion today about not beating myself up and I am going to try it.

In fact, pause here, to take a breath and do it.



And again.

Nobody beats up Baby, er puts her in a corner.


I am putting down the stick, I am dropping the red light beam of inscrutability and I am allowing myself this moment, here, after my swim, after my dinner, a shower, and a hot cup  of tea, in Paris, in February, thank God you are a short month you brutal little fuck, and give myself a pat on the back instead.

I am doing alright.

I am doing better than alright.

I am allowing myself to have experiences and to learn and I leapt.

Damn it, I deserve to allow myself that.

I leapt.

Of course I brought my brain with me, and I had been warned that little monster would make an appearance, and now I am seeing what Corinne means, I am doing the work and getting out there and taking suggestions.

My brain is so fucking afraid of success.

If I succeed there will be no more tender moments of self-flagellation.

What the hell would life look like then?

I don’t know, but I am going to start finding out.

Right now.


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