This morning, a tiny rock, stuck between my wool sock and my boot heel stopped me in my tracks. At first I thought I could ignore it until I’d turned the horses out. The horses were already snorting and pawing at their stall doors, impatient after a night indoors. I was feeling a little guilty for running late with the barn chores. But, Oh la! The rock!
I leaned against the barn door, tore off my boot and sock, and there it was; not a rock exactly, more of a pebble, tiny, no bigger than a snow pea. Still, I had to flip my sock inside out and shake good and hard to loosen it’s tenacious grip. Pain free at last, I realized that trying to ignore the rock had been a bad idea.
When you’re writing a personal essay, pay attention to the rock in your boot, that something in the back of your mind that chafes or rubs you the wrong way. Maybe you’re writing something nice about your Aunt Lucinda. She was so sweet and generous and she always threw the nicest holiday get-togethers, but a memory surfaces; that time she stole a pair of sunglasses from Woolworths. You think, “I can’t write that…it’s not nice.” Write it anyway.
That’s the rock in your boot. Whatever you think you can’t write, is exactly what you should write.