Tania Hershman wrote about this a short while ago here and her post really made me think. She was
teaching an Arvon course, and said that an important idea came up in discussion, namely:
Permission to write about anything you want, in any style you want. And where does that permission come from?
It is amazing how often we need to be given permission to think or work in a new way. We live in a world full of rules and so we have become used to the idea that there are rules around everything. But the more I think about it the more I realise that the assumption that there are always rules is not only limiting, but often dangerous. What are we not allowed to think? What are we not allowed to say or write? What boundaries do we set up for ourselves that don't necessarily need to be there?
In a discussion with Tania about flash fiction, a form which she is a master of, I remember asking "Can I really leave all that out?" and "Can I really leave things so open-ended?" And I know that there are other times, especially when writing poetry, when I have wondered "Can I let go of the form here?" and "Can I set the line breaks up this way?" It amazes me how often I need to be given permission. The question of why is important to think about. And so is the question of how.
How do we give ourselves permission to write in a different way? Where does that permission come from?
For me, I think much of it has to do with self-confidence, or rather the lack thereof. Can I really try something different? Am I skilled enough to pull it off?
All of these questions are important and difficult. Do you often feel the need for permission? Where do you get it from? Please leave comments about it. I'd really like to know.