The Kitchen Sink

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.”  ~Henri Nouwen

As idealistic as I may come across from time to time … in reality, frankly, I’m pragmatic to my core. I’ve never been a huge believer in fate–not in real life, in the world we literally live in. I’ve always loved the idea and the ideals that go along with it, but never really believed in it literally.

I’ve changed my mind …

I can’t go into all of the reasons why just yet (patience grasshopper), but on a writing level I’ll elaborate: The recent trials that I’ve been through have given me a whole new understanding of the grief that book three in the Guardians of Legend trilogy opens with. I merely thought I understood what it meant to see your whole world fall away. I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that feeling of utter hopelessness and the absolute definition of the word ‘hollow.’ I have to turn in Eternal Requiem sooner rather than later, and after months of being unable to pen a single meaningful word, I’m suddenly able to see clearly through the fog and the wall that was blocking the rewrite even before my life took a turn for the catastrophic.

Everything happens for a reason?

Perhaps. Seems too coincidental that right when I need to have a solid grasp on life and love and death, that life would take this route with me. Too convenient. Well, okay, there wasn’t anything convenient about it. Still, you get the drift. I’m not the same person who penned all the posts before August. Perhaps this was always so, each day brought a new person, but I certainly feel as though my personal evolution is far more pronounced now than it’s ever been before. Yes, we all change and grow—especially through trauma and crisis. But, for a writer, there is a special type of growth that we alone are privy to. Allow me the pleasure of sharing my thoughts on this.

I wrote this morning for the first time in a while. The music played in the background, epic and somber, and I got chills as I reached the pinnacle of the scene. I could feel the draft in the room where Garren stood. I could feel the weight of the blade in his hand, and the gravity of his coming actions. It wasn’t like it felt before—this was something entirely different for me. And I don’t know that I can totally give it justice here.  If anything … I think I’ve been freed of a great many things, and that has allowed me to enter unforced into a whole new world.

The most unimaginable event, for me, happened. Thus, everything else paled suddenly and fear no longer became a contender for my time. In the past three months, I’ve done things I never thought I’d have the guts to do. Ever. Even if bribed. And that mentality is apparently shifting over to my writing as well. I used to get eight shades of bent out of shape over bad reviews or drama with fellow writers, industry kerfuffles and the like. Ask me if I give a rat’s bald ass now …

A couple of friends from Boston came down to spend time here in the good ol south, last January. One of our many wonderful conversations dealt with meeting “your full potential.” I think it spawned from a handwriting analysis, where Vin said my Bs and Ds clearly show that I don’t, in fact, give a damn about what other people think. Funny enough, my pen was telling the truth of the matter … stuff that my actions and behavior hadn’t figured out just yet. In other words, I barked louder than I bit.

This is no longer the case.

I was fearful of flying because it had been years since I’d been on a plane. Back in September, I flew in a helicopter without the doors on. It was AWESOME. I used to fear Atlanta traffic and could never have imagined driving through it on my own, but a couple of months ago I drove through Atlanta and up to Athens, GA to visit two of my closest friends. I feared stress and heartache with an ill family member, but spent two weeks by my father’s bedside after his surgery and instead of being a basket case, I found that I was calm and useful and had some of the most meaningful moments that I’ve ever had with him.

Things I wrote about in my novels, that I have always longed for, had long since been put away because they simply weren’t realistic to me. Things I’d wanted in life had been put aside because I refused to reach for that full potential.

You may now consider me awake, and I wonder at times, if I ever really lived before now.

I’ve been terrible at answering emails and taking care of personal stuff and for that I’m quite sorry. Just know that I’m doing my best to get around to being productive on a personal level. Right now, I’m so focused on getting this rewrite done before my publisher kills me for missing a deadline, that I don’t even have time to market my current stuff. So, if you’ve emailed me or called me or Skyped me and haven’t received a reply, at least know that there is a damn good reason for it.

Bottom line: Everything can be applied to your writing. Everything. Even the kitchen sink. And heartache. Perhaps especially heartache.

9 responses

  1. Well, if it makes you a better writer, honestly you’ll floor anyone who even touches your next books. I totally understand where you’re coming from, not that most of the slings and arrows of my life are really anything, but they were something for me, so I guess that’s what counts. In my case, I most likely wouldn’t be such a loser without them, but they have given my writing a depth that it wouldn’t have had otherwise. Maybe if certain things hadn’t happened as they did, it would have been like sticking my arm in a pond whereas things as they have happened, I’m standing in the water. I’m not close to drowning, but I would say it’s coming up rather high. But what do I know? It’s so hard to gauge things on your own. But anyway, the short response, I get what you mean.

    Sorry to have been been such a dork, I know you’ve been through something hard that I could I never hope to understand at this point. (I’m your age, thereabouts, I don’t exactly know how old you are, and I’ve never been in a relationship. Pathetic, but I just haven’t cared to. Short answer, a relief because did you really need to know that?) I do hope to hear from you whenever you can, if only to be my last set of eyeballs.

  2. *Doing a very happy dance for you!* Don’t worry about not replying. I know the deadlines are looming. Maybe, when you find a chance to breathe, we can talk :) Until then, know that I’m cheering you on because, well, you’re just awesome like that. Hang in there and finish what you have to do. Even a person with eyes wide open can only tackle so much at one time.

    (So glad to hear that your dad is doing better.)

  3. Cheering as well and breathing a sigh of relief for your dad. I know whereof you speak when it comes to the writing. I expect your new work to be awesome.

    The book I’m doing now is pulling chunks of me out and splattering it all over the pages. I keep going, “Really? That’s so personal, Lion!” It is, but the writing is brilliant. It takes courage and gritting teeth, and encouragement from a great writing partner (thanks, Leah) who won’t let me be any less than the best I can be.

    I guess that’s my wish for you, too. Be the best you can be. I’m thrilled with your progress, even hard as it is. I’m sorry you have had to go through it, but I love what I see emerging out of it. You are an awesome woman.

  4. That was a LONG time to hold my breath! I am happy to see you emerging from the flames, changed and tempered. Now you know yourself better, and everything else you produce will come from source and be filtered… polished… by your experience and wisdom. Welcome home. As always, I will be there when called. ;)

  5. My personal feeling about your post is that no one can truthfully and meaningfully write about deep emotions, tragedy, personal loss, the death of someone close and loved, betrayal – any of the deep, life-changing events we suffer, without having experienced them. How can you even begin to understand the hopelessness, shame, depth of grief, self-blame, guilt, loss of faith, etc that stems from such things if they have never touched you? Yes, you can perhaps write about what you have observed in others, but such writing will only ever be on the surface, it will never possess a meaningful depth to it. Readers who do have those experiences will always be left feeling something was missing from the writer’s words, even if they don’t actually realize what it is.
    So it is with perfect understanding that I empathize with what you are going through now. If you can use those emotions and experiences, and turn them into great writing, you are at least helping your inner self come to terms and assimilate what has happened to you. It will also make you better able to connect with others you care about who are going through similar pain. And writing THROUGH these terrible experiences is a cathartic – some would say necessary – process, which can eventually lead to healing.
    Grow and be strong. :-)

  6. Those were some of the most profound words I have ever heard. To truly LIVE is one of the hardest things a person can ever do.

    I have the priveledge of reading ICARUS and A THIEF OF NIGHTSHADE before the rest of the world. Both of these novels are profound and amazing. After reading that your mind and emotions are now more open and intune and that your writing is becoming even better all I can say is “Watch out world, J. S. Chancellor is in the house”.

    A THIEF OF NIGHTSHADE ripped at my heart. I can’t wait … yet I fear … reading Eternal requiem. Will my emotions be able to handle the magnificence of it.

    I can’t wait to read ETERNAL REQUIEM when you fianlly finish it.

    May your fingers be swift upon the keyboard.

  7. Not to diminish what you are going through, this is classic Saturn Return stuff. You go through Hell and when you look back, you realize it was the best thing that veer happened to you. You cannot be an artist of any merit without going into the dark, confronting your shadow, having your head held under the water until just before you think you’ll die.
    It takes courage to face these things.
    I know you will get to that light at the end of the tunnel and fly up into the light and much better writer.
    More power to you!

  8. I’ll take this post as a reply to my email. Glad to know you are plodding along. It will be hard and you may feel that things are hopeless but if you remain strong and true to yourself, you will find a better day in the future.

    And, of course, if you need a shoulder or a friendly ear, I promise to listen and help any way I can. It is the least I can do for your help to me. Take care.

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