Women writers with a calling to the keyboard, I salute you.
For you insist on defining yourself, rather than allowing others to do it for you.
There is something about you that says I have to be me – whatever the cost.
And you have been willing to pay the price, because for you, there has never really been a choice.
Whether you have expanded your mind and imagination through the writing of fiction, or defined yourself more thoroughly and completely than most would ever dare through the writing of memoir, you have succeeded in stepping through the doorway of the Fourth Dimension, the world of imagination and feeling perceived by the senses and known through the mind. While others might content themselves merely with the physical world, you have sought to explore the language of the non-physical—which is just as real, just as compelling, and for you, absolutely possible.
Most likely, you have felt there was no choice to do otherwise. Perhaps your mind has always been working overtime. Or perhaps you didn’t wake to your creative powers until you were grown, and found that time weighed heavily as the usual pleasures, chores and distractions did not suffice. Maybe it was a bit of both. That is the category I found myself in. An active mind coupled with feverish emotions set at a high pitch which I constantly nurtured with books, movies, plays and relationships.
It has often happened that no matter how much I’ve enjoyed myself in company, I couldn’t wait to be off home again so that I might write about the experience, or write about some other experience this one brought to mind. It is about living two lives at once—the present, and what the present represents, or calls to mind. It is living in two dimensions at once—the Third and the Fourth—or the physical plane and the imagination. Neither one seems to work without the other, and they both have their demands.
Let’s face it. Some of us have bigger appetites than others and so we take in more. Then we want to share it. We can’t keep it to ourselves because we’re overflowing with the desire to communicate. We’re overflowing with the abundance of Life and of being Alive. We want to delve and explore and pursue, almost as if we possess a kind of inherent unwillingness to let things be.
Before I was a writer I was a painter.
Being a painter made it difficult for me to have relationships – or at any rate a long-lasting one. One boyfriend made it very clear, spelling it out in simple English how it was never going to work because I was too independent and wanted too much time to myself. I could not dispute those facts which were, of course, the basis of my longing to be a whole person and not half of a couple. Nevertheless, I was devastated by this either/or aspect. It seemed I continually found myself either happy in love, or happy in art—and they never occurred at the same time.
The very act of painting often served as a balm for this lonely soul unable to share herself at those deeper levels that called to her.
The cover of Nancy Wait’s book, “The Nancy Who Drew.”
Then, just as I resolved that the canvas was the only place I would ever find the “union” I so craved, I met someone I thought I could have a measure of both with. The hope was short-lived, but a child followed (my son, the light of my life). Now, some twenty years later, I find myself looking back, seeing my need in a clearer light; basically, the need for Expression.
For communication of thoughts and ideas gurgling inside, rushing to the surface, demanding to be dealt with. Demanding voice. Demanding I come up with a suitable language, precise definitions, clear pictures. It is a part of me that can only be shared through prose, since I finally found my voice. And, as I look at my need for expression, I see it is partly a need to hold onto an experience, to know what it is, from one end to the other. It is similar to the need I once had to draw people, wanting to know them in a fuller sense, with every particle of my being. Which in a way is a kind of determination to rescue us all from oblivion.
So I salute you, my fellow keyboard devotees. I salute us all for our big hearts and big minds and big spirits continually searching and seeking ways to translate thoughts and feelings and ideas into prose and poems piercing the darkness that more light may enter in.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Nancy Wait was born in Chicago in 1949 and grew up in New York City where she studied acting at the High School of Performing Arts. After two years in the theater department at Carnegie-Mellon, she moved to London and attended RADA. Nancy had a career in England during the 1970s under the name of Nancie Wait, working in film, theater and television. When she returned to the States after seven years she took up painting, and during the 1980s she was a freelance artist doing portraits and architectural renderings.
She also painted a series of paintings from her imagination she called Journey to the Deep, the final one being that of a young girl looking very much alive at the bottom of the ocean. It was after that painting that she received an inner message telling her she didn’t have to paint anymore, and it was time now to put her story into words. Eventually she went back to college to study writing and finish her degree at the New School, continuing onto grad school at Goddard College. Fourteen years and an uncountable number of revisions later, her memoir, The Nancy Who Drew, will be available in the summer of 2011.
Find out more about Nancy’s work on these sites: