Prompt #9:

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.

(Prompt Author: Mary Jaksch)

My Response:

The Emerson quote used today is part of one of my favorite passages from his “Self-Reliance” essay. To me this passage means that we should not be afraid to change our minds as we mature, or stick to ways of thinking simply because we have always thought that way or are afraid of disappointing other people. We should also not be scared to reveal who we really are or new parts of ourselves merely because we worry about censure.

That said, I read this prompt this morning and audibly gasped.


Now, there is not much that I am afraid to write about. I don’t mind people thinking I’m an oddball now and then, and I don’t worry (too much) about whether or not people approve of my taste with respect to the arts. I love Lady Gaga. There, I said it. Not too many in my immediate circle find her too acceptable for one reason or another; however, I really respect her as an artist and as someone who is clearly a very bright student of music, sociology, and performance.

There are some topics, too, that I do write about but not publically. I can’t really say, therefore, that I am afraid to write about them; rather, I think I am just showing discretion and discernment. Obviously, certain issues that might involve other family members (particularly in a negative light) or the intimate privacy of friends are not appropriate fodder for a blog. I think it is in poor taste to air things like that out for the public eye, and it doesn’t put any kind of goodness into the world.

Just as I was lamenting this to my husband Bill this morning, he came up with a different way to look at this topic. He knows me through and through. “What about something that you don’t write about because you fear that you do not know enough about it intellectually to make a conclusion?” He asked. “Like how to fix the economy or something political?”


After a good thirty minutes of thinking about how to fix the economy and having absolutely nothing intelligible going through my mind, I knew Bill was onto something. I get mired in thoughts of, “But there are so many variables that factor into economics! How can anyone account for all them at once?” and “Man, thinking about all of this feels like work…This is not fun!!”

It’s true. I do not have the temperament of a political pundit. While there are some philosophical issues (issues that may coincidentally also be political in today’s climate) that I do think strongly about, most of the time I find myself entertaining many shades of gray. It can be amusing/fun for me to hear other people discuss politics, and I enjoy reading editorials on various political/economic topics from both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times (two different points of view there!) from time to time. Yet I, for myself, do not like to discuss politics at all. I feel that too often these types of issues become divisive and a means for heated debate, when we really need to spend time trying to find intelligent  and workable agreement.

So, I don’t really ever write about topics like that even in my non-public handwritten journals, and yes, somewhat out of fear. I am afraid to make strong claims when I know I lack enough experience and information to really support those claims well. Shouldn’t we all fear that to some extent?

So, trying to write about “how to fix the economy” is the next step in this prompt. Here goes:

Classic economic theory suggests that…

Bleh! I am sooooo done!