New Eyes and Extra Colors

Yes, that’s actually me. Photo by Matthew R. Best

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”  ― Terry Pratchett

Sorry it’s been so long. Coming back here, at times, feels almost like peering into someone else’s window. I see the curtains drawn, and so much light within … I can smell things baking in the oven, all full of gooey, sugary goodness. I know pleasant things await me here. But, at the same time, it’s not my home anymore. Everything is different. The curtains are the same, the glass, the sill. I know these things like the back of my hand. I recognize the weathering on the wood and can still vividly recall each storm that made it so. I remember sitting here, looking out at the world, and wondering what it would be like to be on the other side. Wild, and free and changed. And while it feels incredible … this changed state of being … there is a sense of sadness too that I can no longer ignore.

I miss home.

Familiarity was always a good thing. It was safe. I couldn’t be hurt, or so I thought, from the inside. But, I was shut-off from so many wonderful, exhilarating experiences. Unchecked beauty. And aren’t those the deepest longings of our hearts? Those dangerous wishes for a life unfettered by fear and hurt and regret? Luckily for me, the decision to leave was taken out of my hands. I didn’t have much choice in the matter. It was leave or cease to live. I didn’t have the luxury of that slowly swelling need to set off on my own course. My path was set before me, then just as swiftly, it was sealed off and I had to forge a new one out of what I’d spent a lifetime cultivating, collecting, depending on. All I can say with any certainty is that I didn’t hesitate. I didn’t stall and beg and plead like some do, asking for the impossible. I simply … let go, when the time came. It was a shockingly simple thing, really. And not an action that I did in my own strength.

So much has happened this year, to the point where August 21st marked a permanent meridian line in my life. Everything is lumped into a categorical ‘before and after,’ my time neatly divided into what was, and what will be. I am not alone in this. Many, many lives were affected by the actions of that night. Well, technically, the actions that preceded also, but for the sake of conversation, we’ll draw the line there. My mind certainly did. My ex-husband’s infidelity didn’t ‘exist’ until he confessed it. Not in my mind, and certainly not in my heart. So why am I talking about it here? On a blog that was originally intended for writing talk only?

Because as I have said before, I am a holisitic writer and that means, whether I like it or not, that I am deeply, deeply affected by everything that goes on in my life. We all are. We can say that we’re nicely compartmentalized … that these parts of our lives are separate and contained, but the truth is that they aren’t. Not even close. My writing, and my ability to dive in and out of these make-believe worlds, is hinged upon the peace or lack there of, in my real life. These last twelve months have been the best and worst of my entire life. I have crafted new worlds, and composed some solid narrative, but the worlds I used to frequent so freely have been more than a little difficult. I have had a rewrite hanging over my head for months now, with a new deadline of January 1st. And it amazes me how much writing on what was once such a beloved work, is now akin to drawing blood from a vein that has little left to give.

At some point down the road, this will all make sense. I have to keep telling myself that. I have to believe that I will one day be able to eloquently pen all of my emotions and hem up the damage done to my soul with beautiful words and perhaps even a story that will bring salve to that which seems unfixable. Today, however, is not that day. I will always grow (God willing), and while I will never be ‘done’ with that upward mobility, I will at least have found some semblance of normality. I can say, that things I put on the back burner years ago … things I turned my back on, are beginning to come back into focus. My faith, is chief among them. I cringe at some of the things that have come out of my mouth, or rather, my pen. I have not been publicly living in any way whatsoever that would even hint at the fact that I am a Christian. Some of you knew, those who have known me in real life or had intimate contact with me at some point (phone, etc). For my lack of being a proper witness, I owe all of you an apology.

I used to sympathize with those suffering writer’s block, and thought my infrequent affairs with it were meaningful. At times I thought it a crafty excuse not to create (even for myself). I’ve now come to the painful conclusion that it’s not, in fact, something made up. It’s not that I don’t long with everything in me, to write as often as I did before. I simply … can’t … find the words. I journal like a madwoman. I journal all day, every day. My classmates laugh at it because frankly, it’s hilarious. I’m forever scribbling in my notebooks. But, WRITE? Rarely these days. Yes, school for the last nine months has had something to do with that, seeing as it is a full time job. I did have a writing trip a couple of months back where I was able to crank out a good 8,000 words … and believe me, it might sound like a tiny tiny bit, but it was a landmark amount of writing for me this year. I used to write 11,000 on a good weekend. Now I’m lucky to crank out 2,000, and those weekends (where nothing else comes between me and my peace of mind) are so few and far between. I miss Adoria and Avalar, and Michael and Ariana. I miss Jacelynd and Jessica (though her foul mouth needs some reconsideration). I miss everything about living a life meant for writing. I miss home. And that has, and always will be, home for me.

 

A Thief of Nightshade is slated to be converted to an audiobook by Christmas. I have my first signing at our local Barnes and Noble on October 20th. BIG things are still happening for me career-wise. In the past twelve months, three of my books were released, including my first hardback. And yet, this dream of writing for a living has never felt more distant. Maybe that is where some of the heartache is coming from. That, and all of the ways that my life has irrevocably changed this year … ways I didn’t anticipate. Friendships have changed, familial relationships have changed. Everything. Some of it WONDERFUL. Some of it, confusing and heartbreaking. I’m still reeling, twelve months later; trying my damnedest to understand and safeguard against things that are totally out of my control. I realize I’m being vague, and you might wonder why I’m bothering to write about this if I’m not going to be detailed. I suppose just to let you know that I’m still here, still plodding along, and to ask that you keep faith in me.

 

Don’t give up on me. I haven’t gone away for good.

I’m merely learning how to see through new eyes and how to process extra colors … and that’s not entirely a bad thing.