July 7, 2014

The Summer Series - Cameron Garriepy

I'm not quite sure how my path had not crossed today's guest's until just recently. She is another awesome writer I connected with through the Women of Midlife group. But we have been part of many of the same writers' circles for a few years now. The good news is, at least I know her now.

Cameron Garriepy is the author of Buck’s Landing, the first of the New England Seacoast romance series, as well as numerous short stories and novellas. She has been a Managing Editor at Write on Edge, where she created Precipice: The Literary Anthology of Write on Edge as an annual spotlight for short fiction and memoir writers. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Bannerwing Books, a small independent press and publishing services company. Cameron also writes for her own eponymous blog, fondly recalls writing her first romance novel in middle school on an antique typewriter, and shares her life with her wonderful husband and six-year-old son. Her second full-length novel, Damselfly Inn, will be released in late 2014.


This year, I chose a word.

I’ve never done that before, chosen a word, but this year, I just knew I needed a verbal talisman to tuck into my arsenal. 2014 was the year I was going into battle with the most frightening opponent I know: my own doubts and fears. To face a dragon like that, I needed a sharp sword and a strong shield; what better weapon for a writer to take up than a word?

Summer came slowly to New England, but it’s here, and I find that my word and I are twined together in ways I never foresaw.


Not in the skydiving, bungee jumping, running-from-bulls kind, but the looking-squarely-at-my-reflection-and-saying-hello kind. The sort of fearlessness that I remember having years ago, the kind that can erode under years of strain.

I started this year with the usual resolutions: treat my body kindly, push my writing career past its current plateau, get my finances in order. Having spent the past few years riddled with unemployment-induced self-doubt, not taking care of my body, and struggling to make ends meet, I was excited to take this year head-on, but I know myself. I needed to make it a Quest.

I started a fitness challenge, fearlessly. I jumped in and refused to let myself be afraid to fail - or afraid to succeed. I auditioned for a live performance. I signed up, fearlessly, and refused to tangle the outcome up with my value as a human or a writer. I set goals to finish my second novel, a manuscript which has been set aside for so many other projects, fearlessly, with the knowledge that wrapping it up will free me a lot of energy for exciting new projects.

I am writing this wearing a sleeveless top, shorts, and an anklet I have been afraid to wear for two summers, simply because it might draw attention to the ankles which had grown thick with unwanted weight.

In part, I am wearing this anklet because I have had some success with my fitness goals, and those ankles of mine are leaner, along with the calves above them, but mostly because the beading and the little silver charm make me feel pretty.

I had forgotten how to feel pretty. I was afraid to remember the how of it, lest I have to look at judging eyes. It took Fearless to remind me that I am entitled to feel pretty, even while I’m still working on those goals of mine.

In the soggy heat of a July afternoon in Massachusetts, I feel better about myself than I have in years. I am holding tight to my word, to my Quest. I am choosing to be fearless. This is not to say I’m not afraid. I’m quite often terrified. For me, Fearless is about refusing to let the fear lead me.

The most shocking part of all this fearlessness, this embracing of my own strength and worth, is the effect it’s had on me as a writer. I knew pushing myself to finish this book would be good for me, but I didn’t gamble on how deeply I’d affect my own process, just by embracing a word, and idea.

Fearless has helped me let go of whole chapters, wordy darlings perishing left and right. Fearless has let me drop some of the projects that were distracting me and weighing me down. Fearless has given me the perspective to see that my middle cannot be compared to others’ ends. Fearless has let me embrace a new partnership with some amazing writers. Fearless has slipped into my characters, freeing them from their creator’s fears.

This verbal talisman has infused my year in ways I couldn’t have foreseen.

I find myself taking back the working lunch hours at my day-job to spend in a shady spot, laptop balanced on my bare knees, soaking in summer heat while I dive into my writing, watching the sunlight play on the silver charm on my right ankle, and knowing that I am reclaiming something vital I hadn’t necessarily realized I’d lost.

Have you even chosen a word for the year? Found that it affected you in ways you didn’t expect?

You know,  I never have. Lots of my friends do, and I've always been intrigued by the idea. Many of my friends do this each year and I have thought about it. It's just so hard to pick ONE word! It is obvious through your post how powerful the practice can be. Thank you for sharing with us not only your word, but your truth, Cameron!

Check out the other Summer Series contributors:

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