Tuesday, April 1, 2014
A is for Arendelle: When do you "Let it Go" and Call Yourself a Writer?
When Frozen hit the retail shelves exactly two weeks ago, I pretty much had the date in my calendar marked and circled three times. (I'm the mom of a toddler, so going to the movies is the difficulty equivalent of achieving a Flappy Bird score of 999. Or so I've heard... ahem... anyway.) I needed to see this movie, and once I finally did - from the comfort of my own couch with the little one all tucked in for the night - it did not disappoint.
I already have a tendency to over analyze animated films, but this one is especially layered; perfect for hosting my own internal book club conversations, one of which I will share with you today:
There is a part in the movie during which Elsa (who has spent most of her life in seclusion, hiding the fact that she has magical ice powers) is crowned Queen of Arendelle. She is forced to face the public for her coronation, and long story short, in a moment of passion she ends up revealing her powers to the horror of everyone in the kingdom. In doing so, Elsa completely freezes Arendelle, setting the kingdom into eternal winter. (Sidenote: I found the whole eternal winter thing to be especially amusing after this particular winter. Does Disney have some sort of weather monopoly which allowed them to manipulate our recent snowfall? There could be a conspiracy here....)
Where was I? Oh, right. Eternal winter. Ashamed, humiliated, and scared, Elsa flees Arendelle and heads for the north mountain where she effortlessly builds herself an impressive ice palace while belting out that iconic song, Let it Go. At some point during this song her expression changes, and there is this look of delighted relief on her face. It's as if it feels amazing to finally be free to do what she does best.
This got me thinking hard about myself as a writer. Can I be vulnerable and honest with you for a second?
For most of my life, I have felt incredibly uncomfortable calling myself a writer.
There, I said it.
I mean, I am a writer. And I have been for as long as I can remember. But actually calling myself one? No, thanks. I'll just sit in seclusion and make ice crystals - er, words - appear out of nowhere.
Perhaps I'm an overly private person? Immature? Or maybe I have suppressed identity issues? These are all working theories. But I'd be willing to bet it's not just me; that there are others who feel this way, too.
Recently, I signed my first official publishing agreement and that made me feel a little bit better about "letting it go" and calling myself a writer. Here's the funny thing, though: everything that came before signing, all the moments spent alone with the story, and all the years spent learning to fall in love with writing, those are the things that actually make me a writer. The contract is great, really great, but it's a product that comes from the core of who I am, much like Elsa's ice palace.
So my question to you, writers, is this: Are you still hiding out in Arendelle and refusing to call yourself a writer? If so, what's holding you back? If not, when did you start calling yourself a writer? What gave you the freedom to do so?
Oops. Those were several questions. But then again, I'm pretty sure this blog post was supposed to be a lot shorter, anyway. Ah, well. Tomorrow is a new day.
Please leave a comment if you'd like to join the discussion. I'd truly love to hear your thoughts. And now, without further ado, let's all burst into song, shall we?
Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore...