A post by Giselle Renarde.
Lately, I've been devoting a lot of my time to creating audio versions of my books.
Until this fall, when I bought myself a tablet (which I refer to as my "tip calculator" because I have no idea how to use it), I would record audio by reading from hard copies of my works.
But there's one book, in particular, that kept getting pushed aside.
I'd pick it up. I'd look at the table of contents. I'd flip to a story of particular interest and I'd read a paragraph or two. My words--words I wrote more than a decade ago--hit me in the heart. Like a punch.
They're too real. They're too true. I can't say these words out loud.
The book I'm talking about is Audrey and Lawrence, my collection of short stories inspired by the relationship I had with a married man. The stories aren't true--not strictly speaking. Well, some come pretty close, but most are completely made up.
The emotions expressed in those stories? The emotions are true. They're probably truer than anything else I've written. That book is my heart on the page. I can't get away from that. How can I tell those stories out loud? How can I say the words all these years later?
Audrey is not the most flattering depiction of me, but it is an honest portrayal. I hope I'm not so much like her now. I hope I'm a little less needy and a lot less jealous. I'd like to think that's the case. But reading those stories reminds me of my faults--of my character flaws and my missteps.
A lot of people from the romance world hate me because I write about adultery. And not just readers--authors too! I understand that they're not fond of cheating, but I'm not a romantic. Nothing I write is really romance. You aren't safe with my work. It's not safe. I'm not safe.
My reputation precedes me, and not just online. One time I was hired for a job only to discover that my boss went to school with my ex. I guess he did a little digging, asked around a bit, and discovered my true colours. After that, he started warning all the married men in his employ to steer clear of me.
I was a bad girl. I couldn't be trusted.
It was really such a shame, you know. I loved that job.
Anyway, here I am, many years later, wondering if this post is starting to sound like a cautionary tale. It's not. At least, it wasn't intended that way.
I just started re-reading Tristan Taormino's Opening Up and, as much as I now strive to live my life with honesty and integrity, I understand why people lie. I understand why people cheat. I've lived that life. Honesty is easier and even less hurtful, in the long run, but we cheat out of fear. Fear of loss. Fear of hurting those we love. Fear of admitting what it means when we love more than one person. Fear of opening up.
What fear is holding me back? Why can't I bring myself to create the audio version of Audrey and Lawrence? After all this time, why can't I say the words out loud?
Am I too scared to tap in to my inner Audrey? Am I too scared that she's still me?