There Most Pure

“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.

21 responses

  1. I am so sorry you have had to suffer through that terrible act of betrayal!I know your pain and hope you take the time to heal yourself.I look forward to when you can write again.You may not see it now but you will be stronger person.Best of luck,Kathy

    • Thank you Kathy! I appreciate the sentiments. I’m moving slowly but surely in the right direction. And you’re right, I definitely think I’m stronger for having gone through this. Some days are just easier than others.

  2. Hey Bre, I’ve also been finding closure on a few hard things recently. I think that our writer selves are an extension of who we are. What is the point of lying to the world about them, and therefore us? It is always best to be who you are, despite the uphill battle. People won’t understand that–they’ll give you crap for it–but you’ll have remained true to who you are, who you were made to be.

    I’ve been thinking about you a lot recently. Don’t hesitate to ask for anything. I’ll do my best 🙂 I’m really excited to see what’s coming up in your life, what God has in store for you. And I know you’ll keep us posted. You’re honest and forthcoming that way.

    • Hey! I’ve been thinking about you too! Are you going to be able to come out to Salt Lake in June? I SO hope you can. What’s going on with you? Email me. I know I’m not on FB much these days, but I check my email every day. 🙂

  3. “I am always careful not to be a burden to anyone, not be intrusive or clingy or more trouble than I’m worth. ”

    Well, I try very hard you know, but most often I fail miserably, as you’re well on your way to finding out :p And I’ve got to be one of the most oblivious people around. I’ve been crushed in a lot of ways, my eyes have been opened to a lot of truths and what have you, and some things just still go right over my head. These things in your life are hard to get back on track from, but you still portray yourself so strongly that I get an exaggerated view of how you’re doing as a whole. I’ll try to behave myself, or act like I still have a semblance of control over my diseased head. :p

    I’m currently writing a chapter in my book that I didn’t know would be so hard to write, and I’ve been looking forward to it for something like six years, so it’s been with me a while. I’m plodding along much slower than I would have imagined. The chapter is called “The Confrontations of Darkest Thought”, cool huh? and sort of fitting for what you were talking about here. Well for one thing it’s one heck of a long chapter, I’m thinking when it’s finally done it will be the longest in the whole book. Maybe it just feels that way? I have seven characters all being drawn to the surface into some kind of grotesque showdown, a few view point switches, lots of physical fighting as well as internal battles. It’ll be awesome when it’s done, pretty good reading I think, but it’s getting there. I never understood the task I was setting up all those years ago, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

    Then perhaps another reason for my behavior of late is getting people to help with beta reading and such for my book, or lack thereof. A lot of people said they would. Maybe it’s just me and my delusions but I thought a couple chapters a week wouldn’t be putting people out. It’s just like other things in my life. I’m back burner for just about everyone, so while I might need to count on others I rarely can, even if it concerns one of the most important things in my world. Ah well enough with that crap, you’ve got enough of your own.

    But another great blog.

    • Rachel, I don’t think you give yourself nearly enough credit for being as awesome as you are. I got your email the other day and just haven’t had a chance to respond. Between school and everything else, I’m lucky to have time to breathe these days. But sincerely, there’s nothing to apologize for. I’m just super busy these days. It’s as simple as that, and I’m super picky about what gets left on my FB page. I’m OCD …

      • Well just so that’s all cleared up, I’m happy. I didn’t know you were currently going to school either (probably should have?) so I guess whenever you can get to my emails, that’s okay. I am really hoping you can still do the creativity coaching thing with me, especially with the state of my readership as it is. I can understand if you can’t. Life’s life and it’s not like we really know each other well enough for me to warrant special consideration. Sometime in March (preferably before the midpoint) is when I’m thinking the first draft will be done, and I’m still shooting for getting my edits done by early June and getting the submitting process going. One thing in my favor I think is I’ve talked to Emmaline and she says to let her know when I submit to Rhemalda so she can have a copy of my submission sent directly to her. Puts my mind a little at ease, especially since I have the main part of the cover visualized already :p

  4. I think your bottom line and be attributed to most things in people’s lives. Listening to your heart and make touch choices. When I was at the crossroads of post-high school, I was about to head into acting. I (unfortunately) listened to my father and didn’t take that step. “How can you make a living as an actor,” after all.

    But now, I’m not listening to others in that regard. I will make a living as a writer. And I admire anyone who is willing to do what it will take to see their goals met.

    Looking forward to your future work. Good luck.

    • Yup, agreed! Thanks for subscribing too … I get a little email when someone new subs and it made me smile. I appreciate that! Welcome …

  5. Stand Tall? Oh shit, Bre’s gonna get a 2×4 soon! (Yeah, I know it was Walking Tall, but I wanted to make the joke).

    Stay strong, sweetie. You are your writing. G-d knows my mistakes have made mine what it is. Just know that Mary and I are always available whenever you need to talk.

    • Man is it ever hard to keep. Being a mother, wife, writer, etc. I don’t know how you do it all. I admire you and Michelle and so many mothers out there who manage to juggle it all. Really.

  6. There have been many days that I’ve wanted to drop you an email to check up on you, but I wouldn’t because I felt like I was bothering you. I’ve wanted to tell you how my writing has been doing lately. It’s because of you that I’m still plugging away at it. I’m still torn if I want to go through a publisher or Kindle though.
    I also know a little bit of what you’re going through with the family health issues, with DH’s father, and can understand fully why you would have to take a step back to reevaluate things in your life. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing massage therapy now . Can I come to Georgia to get one from you? *grins*. You are a strong woman and I’m grateful to call you a friend.

  7. I often look into the heavens and give sincere thanks that we can never know what’s in our future. I too have gone through similar shocking, debilitating, soul-shattering events in my personal life and there is NO WAY on this earth that you can ever prepare yourself. You might think you can, you might think you know how strong you are, how supportive your friends and family will be, but nothing – NOTHING – can ever really save you from the dark, soul-eating maelstrom that results from such life-changing events.
    And I think that’s a good thing.
    Yes, really.
    I think we can’t grow as human beings, can’t fully empathize with others, can’t fully experience life until we’ve faced, conquered and grown stronger through adversity. It might sound like a cliche but I believe it’s true. And I fully believe we hold no real credence as writers, when writing such experiences for our characters, if we are not writing from a scarred heart.
    I’m glad to hear that there is joy on your horizon, and I suspect its cause. A ripped heart can certainly love again, and love second time around can be stronger than you ever imagined. I should know!
    I wish you peace, love, joy and success, in all you do.

  8. Sounds to me like your are learning — and quite painful — what it is to be human, I mean fully human. Your story is not unique; I’ve had lots of setbacks in my writing and I’ve never been encouraged by anyone which is why it had taken so long for me to reach a point where my writing is not only good, but considered worth publishing by others.

    But hang in there. You have the support of many people. And I am more than willing to listen and give support the way you helped me. Will you be naive again? No. That’s true. But you’ll get past that and learn to love and trust and write and maybe — if you are lucky — happy again.

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