"I have come to understand, through my own writing and through working with other writers, that fear is a friend of the writer. Where there is fear, there is buried treasure. Something important lies hidden--something that matters--like the angel waiting in the stone that Michelangelo began to carve...There is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a soldier who is going through a forest. He meets an old woman who gives him a magic apron and sends him down into a deep shaft. He finds rooms of treasure as he goes deeper and deeper--each treasure greater than the last and each treasure guarded by a terrifying dog, each dog with larger eyes. The first one has eyes as big as saucers; the last one has eyes as big as wagon wheels. He does as the old woman told him: spreads out the apron, picks up each dog and puts it on the apron, and this makes him safe. In the first room he finds copper and fills his pockets. In the second room he finds silver and has to empty his pockets of copper to make room for silver. In the third room he finds gold and has to throw away the silver in order to gather the greater treasure.
This tale is a metaphor for the process of making art. There is danger in going down into the unknown. What we will find there, in the unconscious where creation happens, may call for all our skill, all our intuition. It may change us; it may redefine our lives. But I believe we have no other choice if we are to be artists/writers.
The act of writing is a tremendous adventure into the unknown, always fraught with danger. But the deeper you go and the longer you work at your art, the greater will be your treasure. You have a magic "apron." It is woven of your imagination and your voice. If you trust your imagination to bring your own images up from the depths and trust your own voice to articulate those images, you will go without harm through the room where you gather copper. The silver you find in the second room will be of far greater worth than copper, and the gold you find in the last and deepest room will make you glad to abandon silver...'You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'"
Writing Alone and with Others, Pat Schneider
WRITING PROMPT: What are you afraid to write about in this moment? Decide you will write about just that, letting your imagination and your unique voice guide you.