“Love withers under constraints: its very essence is liberty: it is compatible neither with obedience, jealousy, nor fear: it is there most pure, perfect, and unlimited where its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve.” ~Percy Bysshe Shelley
It’s interesting to me, how obvious the disruptions in my life are when I read back over the last 24 months of this blog. I went from only writing about writing, to getting far more personal than I’d ever, EVER intended to get here. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I know for sure that my existence has undergone such a dramatic transformation this year—with my father’s cancer, my grandmother’s death and the divorce (which is finalized, by the way)—that I had no choice but to put the brakes on a lot of things, and focus on my life as a whole instead of just the writing aspect in and of itself. And yes, I’ve said in the past that being a holistic writer means acknowledging that everything in your day-to-day affects who you are as an author … but I’ve begun to see that reality in a whole new way lately. The application of it feels different than it once did. Was I compartmentalizing? I didn’t think so at the time, but maybe I was. Who knows.
Long story short … I retreated from the internet to a large extent some time back to focus on family and recovery. This has changed me, just as much as the events that necessitated it did. Because of the immediate nature of marketing, and the vigilance necessary to keep up an ‘in-the-now’ career as a writer, this act of pulling back for a time has hurt me career-wise. I doubt it’s permanent, and I’m banking on the long term benefits of both my sanity and the bettering of my writing through listening to my spiritual and emotional needs before my ego’s needs. Still, it strikes me on a regular basis that I’ve momentarily stepped out of the game. It’s an uncomfortable feeling until I see that my world hasn’t quite stopped spinning yet. My father went back into surgery on Monday (one of two more surgeries). I started school three weeks ago, full-time, for massage therapy (I graduate in August). I have two books due very soon, that both need a significant amount of work.
And there are things going on that I can’t blog about yet … and those are the biggest things. It’s killing me to not be able to share with you guys what all is really going on behind the scenes. But there are very good reasons for me to remain tight-lipped for now. All I can tell you, is that my heart is in a place I never thought it could be. Especially not given the events of the last five months. Well, I can tell you that and I can assure you that I’m learning how to trust again … how to open my heart again on a personal level. It’s easier than I expected, and yet in other ways, it’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done. Naturally, I have moments where wounds I’d like to ignore open anew and freshly bleed. It’s no one’s fault except my ex-husband’s because he’s the one who chose to betray my trust and our ten-year marriage by having an affair.
I want to be immune to the aftershock. I want to be naive and innocent … but I can’t be that girl again. Period. I wrote the first drafts of that entire trilogy while I was in a particularly tough place in my marriage, working on what would eventually convince me that the weakest and most painful parts of that particular relationship were strengthened and ever better for the strain. That was obviously not the case, so I find working on that series, right now, too overwhelming to give it the dedication it deserves. I couldn’t have seen this coming. And I suppose, in some ways, that’s why I’m blogging about it now. I hope you never encounter anything even remotely close to the reasons behind my having to place Eternal Requiem on the back burner for a little while, but I can’t promise you that you won’t experience something, at some point, that may affect your ability to work on a certain novel or project. I figured the least I could do was prepare you. I mean … I knew this sort of thing could happen. I’d seen it. But, knowing it … and knowing it … are two different things.
It ferments my thoughts on what being a holistic writer means. And in a way, it ties into my studies in massage therapy, which are also quite holistic in nature. We are whole human beings … and as authors, we are tied to our spiritual and emotional selves in ways that perhaps non-artistic people aren’t. We feel and experience things differently than other people. I’m sure you’ve figured that one out by now. Maybe you already knew all of this and I’m rambling on for nothing. Well, not for nothing … it’s giving me some peace of mind. If even one writer out there needed to hear this, then it was worth the time. Be prepared … and know that it’s all right to take a moment to protect your heart and your soul. They are all you really have in this world. Little else can be depended upon, I’ve found. Like the quote I posted above, about love, your love of writing has to be treated the same way you would treat your love of another human being. That love will wither under constraints. Let it free to do what must be done, however uncomfortable … however painful. Don’t let it become burdened by jealousy or fear.
See … I always have a point for writers … sometimes it just takes me a minute to get there.
There are still moments when self-consciousness strikes me like a hot poker. I mean this on a personal level. I suspect, naturally, it will take me longer than I care to think about, to stop feeling insecure. Which … is a really new feeling for me. I mean, hell, you guys read this blog. Would you describe me as being anything even remotely close to the words, ‘shy, reserved or uncertain’?
*Insert laughter for effect*
It’s not arrogance. I’m just used to being solid in where I stand. And despite the ground being pulled from beneath me, I’m damn determined to stand tall—sorry for the cliche. But man, when those moments hit, it reminds me that I’m indeed human and not immune to needing others. I am always careful not to be a burden to anyone, not be intrusive or clingy or more trouble than I’m worth. So … asking for an extra hug now and then, or opening up emotionally, has never come easy for me. Giving those things, encouraging that behavior from others is what I do best. Hence the reason I have focused in the past, here at the asylum, mainly in helping other writers by sharing my own mistakes and missteps. So when those moments hit … I find myself sort of frozen, unsure of what to do or say to back out of the corner that I’ve invariably put myself into. I feel the same way with writing. I’m SO used to knowing that no matter what goes on in my day, I can hit the keyboard running. Yet … here again … I’ve discovered that unfortunately I’m not immune to needing more than I know how to ask for or receive, and I’m having to consciously watch my actions to make sure I’m not overcompensating somewhere or ignoring something that I shouldn’t be.
Speaking of which, all of my recent personal drama can be applied to writing and that symbiotic relationship. You have to do whatever is necessary to foster faith in yourself and your love of writing. I’ve come to the conclusion that most major decisions in my life, the ones that are really worth making, are almost always met with serious negativity from those who love me and mean well. In fact, if I don’t get crap from someone … I start to wonder if I’m indeed making the right decision.
I SO wish I was kidding about that.
Bottom line: Listen to your heart when it comes to your writing. You know what’s right and what’s wrong, and there may be tough choices for you in the future. Be prepared for that reality. Know who you are as an author ahead of time … know who you are as a human being ahead of time … know what the essence of your writing soul consists of ahead of time … and it will make those decisions much, much easier.