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Lions Roar : September 2019
Sharon Salzberg named her inner critic “Lucy” after the Peanuts character. She says to her, “Chill out, Lucy.” percent of the audience who are poets, and they really need it. They really want it. They’re really there to get it. You’ve got to show up for them.” SHARON SALZBERG : I agree with you about craft and disci- pline. There was a Thai monk who used to say, “It’s not a question of following your heart. It’s a question of training your heart.” ROSANNE CASH : You talk about self-love in your book. When seen through the lens of a performer and artist, this whole concept of self-love makes me a little nervous because where’s the line between self-love and self-indulgence? SHARON SALZBERG: I don’t feel like I need to love what I’m writing. Often I don’t even like it. I feel like I have to tell the truth and I have to get simple. The advice I always got was to just tell the story—don’t try to embellish it so magnificently. So that’s what I always tell myself: “Just tell the truth.” When I was writing Faith, there were many times when I was really struggling and couldn’t see my way forward. At one point, this fabulous writer, Susan Griffin, said something to me that was really amazing: “You have to stop thinking of yourself as the person writing this book and think of yourself as the first person who gets to read it.” That was tremendous because I had so much fear about doing the book justice. Faith is such a highfalutin topic, so I thought, “I’m not going to hit it. It’s not going to be right.” But with her encouragement, I thought, “Sharon, let go of that.” Then words would appear on the monitor, and I would be so excited. “Oh, look, words! I get to read them!” ROSANNE CASH : It’s interesting that you experienced that same insecurity. I mean, insecurity is the definitive experience of being a writer or an artist—those moments when you think this is crap and why am I doing this? It’ll never be as good as so-and-so’s book or song or whatever. I say to my songwriting students that the inner critic can dismantle you, so in order to get your work out of your body, you’ve got to silence your inner critic. You’ve got to get it out and objectify it and get it outside of your body to see what it is. But then I tell them something else: bring your inner critic back later, when you’re editing. LION’S ROAR | SEPTEMBER 2019 53