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Getting past memories of criticism

When I started to write my first novel at age 16, I made the mistake of taking the manuscript to my father’s store. He saw the notebook and asked me what it was and I told him.  He took it out of my hands and announced to the customers in the store that “who did I think I was” and “he he thinks he can write a novel, can you believe that?” and a few other humiliating other statements.

I never wrote another word of that novel and it kept me from trying another novel until nearly 40+ years later.  That one incident created a writer’s block that kept me from writing a novel or screenplay.

I have gone over that memory in therapy but it still stayed in my mind.  But that ended last week when I was reading the Tao of Forgiveness by William Martin.  He points out that resentment is a form of dragging the person around with us.  I realized I totally don’t want to have any contact with Harold ( I have trouble calling him father because I learned that he wasn’t my biological father after all).

So I dropped it altogether.  He was a failed artist. He said he was an artist but had no time to paint.  So when he retired at age 52, I offered to buy him the paints.  He said it was too late, that part of his life was over.  I knew that was bullshit but I wasn’t going to have another fight with him.

He had lots of excuses– why he couldn’t go to college, except it was free and he dropped out his freshman year. All he had was excuses.

In the next few decades he asked to see my writing.  I refused. After he died, I learned he had kept clippings of my published writing.  I was shocked.

But I no longer have to drag that man around with me and it feels remarkably freeing.  I’ve done that with everybody I can think of that hurt me (I got victimized repeatedly when I was grieving the loss of my marriage, family, business, friends– it was a bad time).

But I felt that whole part of my life drift off. I don’t want any of those people in my life.  And, now they aren’t.

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