How the fuck is it past mid-April already!? Arrrgh. So much for a whiz-bang start to the year. I was hoping that 2017 would be less stressful than 2016, but so far, it’s been about the same. Yeah…
I’m hoping beyond hope right now that we’re on an upswing though.. that some fucking stars or planets (or shit, I’ll take some black holes at this rate) will align in my favor any minute now and life will just calm her shit down so I can get shit done.
However, as I keep getting older, I have come to realize there will be no better time than now. Funny how that works out. I cannot keep pushing my writing, my desires, my goals to the background of my day to day life. If I had a “real job”, I wouldn’t be doing that. I’d be sucking it up… the aches, the pains, the fatigue, the stress, the other stupid life shit that pops up from time to time, and I would just deal with it as I do my job.
I was once a young woman in her early 30s who dealt with a heart-wrenching breakup, a move to a new place back on her own again, more work responsibilities, an emotionally draining relationship with a mother two hours away who had broken her hip and needed assistance, AND a new romantic relationship all within a span of about three months. I look back on that time now and shake my head in amazement. Did I take speed and not remember? How did I have the energy and stamina for all that? Both my brain and my body must have been thriving on pure adrenaline and endorphins.
So, why the fuck am I treating my writing for this website as well as my dreams of finishing a novel as if it’s just some inconsequential hobby? It’s important to me. I have never wanted anything else so much as to be able to say to myself: “You did it. It took you a long-ass time, but you did it. You wrote a novel. Fuck yeah, bitch.”
And after that moment of self-congratulatory goodness, I high five myself but miss and in the process knock my artsy, cat-eye frames off my smug face. And like a baby giraffe taking its first steps, my legs get entangled with each other and begin to buckle as my glasses evade my grasp. I then stumble for a few more steps, miraculously regain my balance, and feel a brief second of triumph for not falling on my ass before hearing the inevitable crunch that makes every nerd cringe with despair. Broken glass and shards of hipster plastic lay beneath my feet.
Because being a klutz and accidentally hurting myself or breaking something is all I know, people. It’s all I know.
Anyway, so yeah… where was I?
Oh yeah, this thing called writing that I’m supposedly doing. Yeah, I gotta start doing it. Like for reals. It’s now or never. And ya know what, now is as good as time as any.
It’s time for me to shit – er… write or get off the pot.
Actually, I may have to shit now too. The husband and I are currently torturing ourselves with a slightly modified Whole30 bullshit diet. (We’re only eliminating wheat, dairy, sugar, and alcohol – fuck the system for saying no to legumes and a limited amount of healthy grains.) We just thought our stressful lives could be made more fun without cheese, beer, and a fucking cupcake sundae for a whole month. Hahahahahahaha.
In reality, a new doctor recommended I try Whole30 to give my tummy a rest and a chance to heal as well as to see if it helps with any of my ailments. But I tell ya, if I eat any more goddamned eggs, I’m either gonna hurl or be sittin’ on the toilet for a long, long time.
And with that, I leave you.
I think for a lot of us, we think “Uh, duh. Of course.”
It would take the rest of my life probably to count how many times reading has helped me throughout my life, but I can definitely recall the major difficulties. And without fail, I always resorted to books and not just any books but those that could shed light, give me insight, and make me feel not so alone in whatever troubled me at the time.
Both reading and writing have always been a part of me since the days I first knew how to string letters into words and could also sound out the words others had arranged for my viewing pleasure.
I was a quiet, withdrawn child, but I poured my heart out in words and immersed myself into the pages of the books I ravished.
I still do to this day.
My childhood wasn’t the worst, but it also wasn’t the best. At the best of times, I’d lounge around the house or outdoors wearing my heart on my sleeve and daydream. Or relish book after book.
At the worst of times, I would essentially hug myself in attempt to close off the world around me and protect myself. I’d wrap my arms around my body and make myself as small as possible and retreat into the worlds of those books.
I imagine in the not so good times that if I had grown up with siblings, we would have huddled together in a fort of blankets while reading books by flashlight.
Reading helped me to escape the outside world… the drama… the noise. I realized early on that not only could I live in these awe-inspiring worlds of the books I read, but I could also live inside my own head. My little ol’ mind had the capacity to create! And not only did my brain thrive on it but from time to time, it desperately needed that escape. As a child, I daydreamed and made up worlds where I imagined myself living out scenarios ranging from the ordinary to the dramatic to the fantastical.
I still do to this day.
I don’t read though because I enjoy it. (Sometimes, I go for weeks without reading a book.) Although I do love it, I read because I feel like part of me is missing without it. A great part of me lies dormant without those words… those mysterious words that turn into fascinating stories after being swirled around and placed in the right order.
I am a reader.
The same goes for why I write. Without it, I don’t feel whole. And, I’m fascinated by the process of writing… the letters of the alphabet… made into words… made into paragraphs…. made into stories. Stories that can evoke any and every emotion in the reader.
I am a writer.
It’s the only way I know how to stay (somewhat) sane.
It’s the only way I know how to make sense of the world and to make sense of myself. Or to realize that really nothing makes sense whatsoever.
The stuffy corners of my mind are similar to climbing up some rickety stairs to a dark attic, stairs where you have to find the perfect balance between flying up them and going slow so as not to risk one step breaking beneath your feet. And with feet safely planted on the attic floor, pulling a string to a single lightbulb that as it swayed back and forth cast shadows looming in a frightful, ‘jump moment’ kind of way, But in brief glimpses amongst the cobwebs and dust particles swirling in the air, the light shows all sorts of old treasure filled with stories waiting to be told, waiting to escape and live their own lives.
It’s a leisurely afternoon.
It’s a brain de-clutterer.
It’s a cross I bear.
I don’t do it for the glory.
I don’t do it for the fame.
I definitely don’t do it for the money.
I don’t do it because it’s the romantic struggling artist thing to do.
I don’t do it to become a pretentious artiste. Fuck that. I’m no better than any other writer.
My reason for writing may be different than your reason for writing, and that’s lovely.
I write for the peace that washes over me after I have written even just a few words, the same feeling of serenity I felt as a child diving into a new book.
When I am writing, I am always alone but never lonely.
Once upon a time not too long ago, I thought for sure my dream job would encompass photography. I do love photography… so much so that when I thought about selling my DSLR, I couldn’t go through with it. I felt some serious anxiety and sadness when I was about to list my camera on Ebay. I am so happy now that I didn’t sell it! *whew*
However, I know now that I don’t want to make money with photography.. at least not actively. A lot of people have told me to sell prints of some of my work, and I may set up a little shopping site to do that sometime. But, I love the freedom and relaxation of doing photography and not having to worry about pleasing a bride and groom or a family or a business… or anyone but myself. And for that reason, I don’t think it will ever become a job for me. I mean, let’s face the facts here. In general, I hate people. I am a recluse. I know now I am a born writer. ;)
More so though, photography doesn’t give me the simultaneous thrill and contentment I feel when I’m writing. If I were to think back on when writing became such an important part of my life, I couldn’t really pinpoint it. All I could tell you is that I was an avid journaler since I was a child. (I’m not sure if journaler is an official word or not, but I’m using it!) I always had a journal throughout childhood and loved writing out my thoughts and feelings. I also wrote little short stories and silly poems. I remember being big on haikus.
And then the world wide web opened to the public, and I discovered blogging. I have had so many blogs throughout the years… kind of goes with the territory for a gal who loves changing things up and journaling.
Brewing under the surface though has been another desire. A terrifying desire. An undying, all-consuming desire. That desire is to write a novel. I’ve written snippets of one on and off for the past decade but have yet to finish it. Life throws me for a loop. Other ideas for other stories distract me. Fear consumes me. I just need to commit. I need to want it. I need to let this novel consume me.
Committing myself to writing a novel terrifies me like nothing else. I don’t want it to be shitty. I don’t want to tell anyone I’m writing one because then I’ll be held accountable. (Which is why I’m telling everyone!) I don’t want to fail at this like I feel I’ve failed at so many other things in my life. In reality though, I haven’t failed at anything. I’m a Generation X-er. We don’t fail. We just try a bunch of things. A lot of us are late bloomers. A lot of us are lost. We wander. We get bored. We dabble. This is what we do until we hopefully realize the thing that challenges and scares us the most, and then we do that very thing.
*For those interested in the books in the above image:
The Girl Who Circumnagivated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – I wasn’t enthralled with this story, but a lot of people seem to dig it. I was drawn in by the cover art. The story is an imaginative one, creative world-building, but for some reason it left me wanting… and not for the sequel. I just found myself not caring about the character. Big words are tossed around A LOT which reminds me of A Series Of Unfortunate Events but in a more ‘trying to not be obvious but it is SO obvious’ sort of way, and I found it very distracting. It interrupted the flow of the story for me. Other readers who are into that style of writing though as well as the genre will love it, but all I could think of was this quote by C.S. Lewis…
“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”
The other book, I loved! Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World by Signe Pike is such a fun and heartwarming travel memoir. The author travels to Scotland, Ireland, and England to discover those who still believe in magic and the magical beings so many of us have left behind in our childhoods. Below the surface of the mystique and intrigue of a fantastical culture though is a woman in search of peace, happiness, and finding her way through everyday life and its trials. If you’re into finding faeries and yourself, I highly recommend it!
I saw this image on Airbnb’s Instagram feed the other day and instantly fell in love. This, people, is the type of place where novels are written… or people go crazy. Or possibly both.
I’ll freely admit I’m not doing very well with my writing. However, I’m doing awesome at not writing! Woo…
My biggest hangup is that I’m afraid I’m just gonna end up writing complete shit. And really, I should just get over it because yes, it will be complete shit. But, that’s what first drafts are for… shit.
Looking at this tiny, secluded house, I think I need to spend a good week there being completely cut off from society. I need to remove all distractions, so I can free my mind and create the world I know is waiting to come alive in my words.
If you’re enjoying snowy seclusion right now, I am quite envious.
*Airbnb image of Crooked River Tiny House in Waterford Maine
Yesterday, I walked in on our Doodlebug (one of the many nicknames for our 7 year old Chihuahua/Terrier mix) rolling around on our bed acting like the goofy dog that she is instead of the weird, aloof cat persona she sometimes likes to adopt.
She had two tennis balls up on the bed with her and looked like the happiest pup without a care in the world doing what she loved and enjoyed. She sometimes goes off into her own little world… even when our other pup looks at her like she’s crazy. For a dog, it seems she has such an active imagination.
Most of the time, she’ll stop what she’s doing when she notices one of us humans watching her do her weird things. At this moment though, she really didn’t give a shit. She was going to roll around on that bed and play with her toys, and no one was going to stop her. Well… I could have stopped her. But, she’s my little girl, and I never want to rob her of her joy.
Even if she sheds like crazy all year round… even if the sheets and comforter were just cleaned…
(God, I sound like a hypercritical mother sometimes. Aw, I should totally get ‘mother of the year’, right? Of a Chihuahua…) Continue reading
Sometimes, I’m not sure if I know how to write. It’s definitely not an easy task or profession. I can’t imagine it as a career. And then again, it’s all I imagine. Yet, I think it takes a certain kind of discipline which I currently lack. Or does it? We’re all different, so maybe what works for one writer doesn’t work for another.
This, people, is my brain.
It really feels like pieces that are scattered about, and it just keeps getting more and more difficult to figure out how the pieces fit together.
It’s a rather frosty winter morning as I sit down to the dining room table after breakfast, open up my laptop and look through what I have already written on a particular subject. I quickly read through it, tweak a few things, add a few more sentences, and then… I sit there staring blankly at the screen that is littered with a jumbled string of words that I think represent my thoughts.
I’m in over my head.
I make tea.
I spill out a few more thoughts onto the screen.
I tab over and catch up on Twitter. I should really close all these other tabs.
I switch back and jot down a few more phrases and break things down into a rough outline.
I take the pups out for a bathroom break, and we stomp around in the crunchy snow.
Words come to life in my head as I brush my teeth, and I wish I had a record button for my brain.
I rush back to my laptop and furiously type out the magical words as my brain is about to let them slip away.
My husband sits across from me. He’s usually not here. Apparently, working from home makes him mutter aloud quite a bit… kind of like Milton in Office Space. I ask him if he always works like this.
I find some music on Spotify to play.
I check Facebook. It does nothing useful for me as usual.
The “workday ambient” playlist I choose is not doing it for me. And so, I have to browse around for some other genre of music.
I think I should block out all the distractions, especially the social media.
I can’t sit in silence and work. I definitely need music and little distractions throughout my day. During the distractions is when my brain comes up with those magical words.
Hence, my futuristic sci-fi need of a thought recorder in my brain. I wonder if (more like when) that will happen someday.
I think I should clean the snow and ice off the cars. But, I’m terrified of losing the thoughts in my head… what with not having that brain thought recorder and all.
I think about scrapping everything I’ve written. Maybe I’m not the best person to write this. Maybe I’m only acting like I know what I’m talking about when really I’m just spewing nonsense pretending it’s helpful advice. Can I really live up to what I write?
I open up another document, a novel I began writing long ago… in a different time and a different place. I loosely know where I want to go with the story, but do I even want to finish it?
I sigh a lot.
I look up different music on Spotify. I land upon a playlist filled with artists such as Mumford & Suns, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers and Of Monsters & Men. It’s a really good playlist.
I finally relent in hopes that maybe I only need to empty some space in my head… to erase some of the scattered stuff my brain has actually been recording but shouldn’t… like the worries, the feelings of failure and inadequacy, the incessant questioning… the wanderings of my thoughts.
Letting it all go feels wonderful. The space of my environment closes in on me, and sounds become muffled and distant. I feel like I’m in a bubble.
I then begin to write.