I Never Promised You A Rose Garden – or Why I Write…..


I read that book when I was ten.  Back then, I loved reading – anything to escape my lackluster (at best) and chronically chaotic (at worst) childhood.  My mother was / is mentally ill.  Addiction is my family’s middle name. Needless to say, CONFUSED should have been my first. (Side note: due to yesterday’s discussion, I must say – I do not blame my mother!)

Author, age ten (circa 1984 Ceresco, MI)

Author, age ten (circa 1984 Ceresco, MI)

I don’t recall much about that book – except it was about a girl in a mental institution.  I liked the name.  We didn’t have roses, let alone rose gardens, at my house in Michigan.  We had dogs.  And dog hair.  And mosquitoes.  And dirty dishes.  And fighting.  Lots and lots of fighting.

When I was younger, I read about crazy women.  Because I somehow KNEW I had issues, that I felt and thought different, or maybe it was the same – except I was the one person who actively knew and tried to talk about it. I read about crazy women because I wanted to identify, to feel less alone, to hear the same thoughts I heard in my tiny skull expressed through another person’s lens.  Words and thoughts and experiences I could hold in my hand at night.

The debate that has been raging on What’s Broken has made me question things.  Namely: why the hell do I write? Because I love it? Have to? Compelled to? For sympathy? As a grown-up (sorta), I don’t know how to answer that.  But if I ask my ten-year-old self, she’d say maybe it will make a difference to some girl sitting at a depressing home in the woods, in the city, in a crappy and bored suburb who needs someone, anyone to say – “Hey, kid, I’ve been there, too….. You can survive this.  You really, really can.” Except, she’d say “like” every other word.


12 Responses to “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden – or Why I Write…..”

  1. 1 Created ~ Create.it

    This is a very good read…inspiring. Keep writing for all the little girls out there 🙂

  2. I am that little girl too.

  3. 5 MBC

    Why?…is a tough question. Can haunt you, make you question yourself. Takes you away from the moment. Makes you crazy. Watch where you go with it. Life is way to precious to spend it wondering why. You’re awesome, just go with that….MBC

    • Ohhh… I like that. Anytime I get stressed or stuck, I’ll hear your words “I’m awesome. Just go with that….” You’re great MBC. Just great.

  4. Good questions about why we write. The idea of being able to inspire and console another human with our stories is magical and empowering. Thanks for sharing your story.

  5. It sounds like you are writing to help others feel seen and understood. I have the same sort of goal in writing music — to write a piece that has people feel as if (or know that) someone understands their inner life, which in my experience is what people fundamentally want.

    • Perhaps that is true. At this point, I write because it was I do. I find it complicated and challenging, the ability to hone in on specific details and emotional information perfectly (or as perfectly as one can).

      I like the way you put it best. A successful piece (music, art, etc….) involves the audience feeling understood on some level. Whether that is loss or anger of empathy, something must resonate. Thanks for the clarity Chris Edgar!

  6. Why? because ‘the stiring of the imagination never rests, and because we can never stop trying to make feeling felt.’ (Eudora Welty) I was reading this today, and then I read your post and it made sense!

  1. 1 Surrender My Slave « Think. Speak. Tryst.

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