Art, Heartache & Other Things that Scare Me

by P. Braithwaite

So we’ve already discussed that my idea on men and God stemmed from a breakup. Have I mentioned it was a break up via text message?

Probably not. I really really really hate writing about my personal life.

The more I work to write (and rewrite) my text, the more obvious it becomes that I have to “go there.” I have to talk about this relationship and discuss how it affected me. It’s probably the only way to make the entire book come together. So why am I so reluctant?

I think it’s scary to publicly talk about your personal humiliations. I mean, no one wants to lament about the guy that broke up with them. Especially because, well, I’m certain that he’s moved on with his life.

 He has a wife and child. I have a book project and a blog…you can see why dwelling makes me feel pathetic.

Anyway, while writing (and deleting) my manuscript, my mentor told me about Sophie Calle, an amazing French artist and fellow woman scorned. After receiving a break up email from her boyfriend, Calle created an artistic installation. She sent the email to 107 women – including a copywriter, a psychiatrist and a lawyer – and asked them to analyze, interpret and respond to the email. She then used the response in an art exhibit called “Take Care of Yourself”

Isn’t that amazing? My mentor told me that Calle’s ex couldn’t leave the house for a month!! While Calle’s work seems strong and powerful, my own journey somehow seems pathetic. Talking about my ex in my work makes me feel like a sad lonely girl who hasn’t gotten over a breakup.

But I have. I swear….haven’t I?

While I ponder that, let me share what Calle says tells the Guardian about turning her personal life into art: “It’s the right method, turning things to my advantage in order not to suffer from them.

I’m going to put that on my vision board and keep on writing.