Most of us live.
Some of us LIVE. Britt Skrabanek is one like this. She’s a life enthusiast, and for the unitiated, that doesn’t mean she runs with the bulls or skydives (without that goofy guide guy strapped to your back, either.)
(She doesn’t do those things, but she could.)
Britt is classic and new all at once. She writes to live and lives to write, always hopeful, never satisfied, forever pushing her own boundaries and exploring the outer reaches of others’. She’s been with me for much of this blogular journey.
Her page, Britt Skrabanek, bears her name because it bears her words – the professional side, the novelist side, the dreamer side, and sometimes, more than one of those.
I’m honored to honor her as a #GirlsRock interview. #GirlsRock is my conversation with compelling women who do cool things. Britt certainly qualifies. Please give her a warm CD welcome, and be sure to visit Britt Skrabanek (the page, not the girl) soon.
Although, you *could* visit the girl …
CD: When you were little, what did you think you’d grow up to be?
Britt: My favorite stories tend to strike an interesting balance between love and war. I read all kinds of fiction because as a writer, I find just about anything interesting. But, my favorite stories invariably are the same – a romantic WWII story that is written lyrically and honestly.
Examples are All the Light We Cannot See and The English Patient. I recently finished the latter and I was floored by the intensely beautiful story Michael Ondaatje masterminded. I mean, when you read this…
“There are betrayals in war that are childlike compared with our human betrayals during peace. The new lovers enter the habits of the other. Things are smashed, revealed in a new light. This is done with nervous or tender sentences, although the heart is an organ of fire.”
…you feel something and you go somewhere. That, to me, is winning the writing game.
CD: When have you felt you were winning the writing game?
Britt: Oooh, that’s a toughie but I’m going with the truth here and saying…never.
I don’t believe writing is that cut and dry anymore, that there is winning and losing. Every high point meets its match at a low point, like spending years writing a book to publish it (win!) and see sales peak at 22 downloads on the weekend it releases (lose!).
Writing is like the most humbling teeter-totter you’ll ever play on. The ups and downs are constant.
For me, trying to chase that winning feeling with writing only leads to disappointment. Then, the doubt comes—and the thought of giving up is right on doubt’s heels.
Writing isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about loving it or not loving it. If you love it, do it…just write. If you don’t love it, find something else you love doing. Life truly is too short.
CD: Tell us about a time you loved writing most.
Britt: Ah, man. There have been so many awesome moments, but one particular blog post stands out to me.
When I found out my mom had breast cancer again, I immediately wrote a blog and published it. I needed the emotional release, but I also wanted to tell her all the things I couldn’t say on the phone when she gave me the news (obviously, I was shell-shocked).
I wanted to tell her how much I loved her, uncensored, without it being a two-way conversation. I wanted to let it all out and ask my kind community to send her good vibes—I wanted to give her strength somehow.
[See Britt’s post about her mom, here]
That may seem like an outlandish idea to some, that a blog could have the power to do all of that. But, it did. I think it was my aunt that read it first and told my mom. The post was shared throughout my community and hers, and it continued to ripple beautifully.
Writing is so very special in that way. Writing allows us to unleash the words we might never say out loud. It allows us to be more bold with our ability to love.
CD: Britt, thanks so much for sharing your story with us. What advice would you give to girls who like to write, and want to do more of it?
Britt: Write constantly…doesn’t matter what it is. Growing up, I wrote in my journal every night about what I was feeling and thinking—as an emotional release more than anything. Often it was gibberish, but it helped me work through a lot of the tough stuff. I “talked” about things that I would have never said in real life to anyone.
The only time I ever wrote anything official was in school when it was an assignment, but there were always stories inside my mind. I never thought I would write one novel, let alone four.
There’s no point in trying to BE a writer, trying to be whatever that image of success is in your head. If you love to write and you’re writing, that’s what makes you a writer. And when you embrace the beautiful simplicity of it all, it feels awesome.