Fear, a driving factor. The crawl at the back of your neck, the noise in the dark, the insecurities buried deep in your core. And yet, it’s a basic question. “What are you afraid of?” I respond casually, clowns, crickets, ventriloquist dummies, mimes, and needles. As if that’s the end. I leave out failing, disappointing, not being enough as if they don’t exist. I sweep them under the rug of my subconscious, forget they exist until I’m faced with them. I’m afraid I won’t be a good enough mother, a good enough writer, a good enough daughter. I’m afraid my lists of disappointments will run off the pages and that the people I love will see them, and be convinced that I’m unworthy.
But we don’t talk about that. It’s written on the in between. Instead we laugh and try to forget those nagging fears, replace them with big ones. What if I lost you? What would my life be like if you weren’t around. I’m afraid of terrible inevitability, of losing the ones I love in death. Age unravels us, and before we can catch a breath and look up beyond ourselves they’ll be gone. My grandfather has cancer. It’s just a matter of time. It twists like a knife, I’m afraid of life without him.
Whenever I start to feel stuck on a part in my book, I go back to the beginning. Occasionally this the cause for inspiration and pride, but usually it prompts the fervent click of the backspace button. I have a love/hate relationship with editing. In the past, I’ve seen it as a burden, as a shameful admission of imperfection. Most of my papers in high school and college were turned in completely unedited, unadulterated, pure. This was always a point of pride for me. I’m a first draft girl. I doubt I’ll even look back at this post. It wasn’t until my senior year of college that I realized that editing wasn’t a reflection of failure. A good writer should be able to review their work and willing to make changes. It’s like disciplining a child- as much as you’d like to avoid it, it has to be done to keep them from turning into a monster.
It sucks. Going over the first part of my novel, I’m realizing that there are parts that are way more show than tell. As much as I love the way certain parts are written, they show my hand. It’s not fair to my characters (or my readers, if any) to drop word bombs like that. So I’m cutting. I’m rewriting, leaving the mystery. I’m revamping too. I’ve realized that my main character is coming off a little too altruistic, which isn’t what I want. I want a flawed human being in search for herself, not an empty headed ingenue. So I’m shaping, I’m changing, I’m editing.
And I’m getting somewhere, which is what matters.
I can’t remember the last time we spoke. I can’t remember the curl of your smile, or the sound of your laugh. When do friends dissolve into acquaintances? What is the process, what makes an ending?
Inseparable. That was our mantra. It seems funny now, looking back. So naive. We were only children then, children holding onto the endless sticky summers and the short days of winter, wrapped in our cloaks, gripping our pencils like sonic screwdrivers.
You can’t change the past. Can’t redo the things you’ve done wrong. I think about it as I’m drifting to sleep, the things I’d do right. I’m sorry for the way I spoke, for the turn of my hand, for the tilt of my head, for the dissolution of our friendship. I’m sorry for my part in the drifting, in the ending.
It’s evolution. It’s the natural order of things. We grow up. We leave our childhoods behind. And it’s okay- it has to be. We grow older with the memories of who we used to be, of where we came from. You’re where I came from. You helped shape who I am. And even as we grow old and forgetful there will always be a piece of me where you are.
This is not my first blog. This is in fact, my third. My first blog, Love Letters 7.10, started out as a series of love letters to my son before he was born and has transformed into a blog about my life- faith, family, fulfillment. I will still be posting there regularly. My second blog is Tell Me A Story. It was started to give me a place to write. I haven’t really done much of anything with it, and will most likely be retiring it all together, especially with the incarnation of this blog.
This is a step into seriousness, an attempt to brand myself. This will also give me the opportunity to cut my teeth on wordpress. I’ve heard a plethora of good things, and blogger can be limiting. I have a lot planned for 2013 for myself and for my writing, and I need space. So here it is. This is my space. This is the place where I can explore myself further, explore my writing further. There are a thousand cliches in the world about writing and being a writer, and I don’t intend to add to them, but writing is a part of me. I spent the first few years of college ignoring that, and the last resurrecting it. It’s been a hell of a journey, and it’s not over yet.
This year I have resolved to reach one hundred thousand words in my book, to apply to graduate school, to make time for myself, to make time for my writing. Motherhood is like a sponge, absorbing each and every bit of my if I let it. But a happy mother is a happy son, and I need to work on me before I can be the best for him. I am grateful to have the support of my husband in this, the support of my family. Writing isn’t just a pipe dream, it’s my passion.
It’s over. NaNoWriMo is over. After thirty days of nonstop writing (though admittedly, I didn’t write eight of those days) my novel is so much further than it was before. I didn’t make the 50,000 word goal, but I surpassed my personal goal of 25,000 with 30,067 words. 30,067.
I feel incredible. I feel proud. I’ve accomplished more writing in this month than in almost two years. Some of it is crap. But a lot of it is real, good writing. My characters have grown and changed so much. It’s not done, not even close, but I’ve finally hit a good stride.
The best part is, it’s not over. NaNoWriMo is one month, but the days after belong to me. I plan on making and then doubling the 50,000 words and finishing my book. Not for me, but for the characters who’s stories desperately need to be told.
I am a writer.
The outside world is a mess today. The sky is milky, and I can’t see past the rocks that guard our home, like a fort, like a castle. Anthony is off chasing his dad. He’s singing to him today. Will he still sing when he is older? I wonder.
Either way, it feels good to be home. I can fall into a couch cushion and never recover. I don’t, but I could. Instead I get to make and destroy and put away all the things in my life, turn this house into a home again and again. I can focus on God and babies and husbands, which is much better than anything else the world has to offer.
Being a parent makes you soft. It scrubs away the hard edges with lack of sleep and poopy diapers and early morning giggles. I cry at commercials now, just like my mom does. I used to laugh at her, now we just exchange glances, knowing. I wonder if I’ll be like her in a few more years. Organized, patient, loving and damn near perfect, though I know she’d never admit to it. Through it’s almond walls and stony tiles her house is a home, and it’s something I long to create here. Empty picture frames, piles of laundry. I’m still working on it.
Just crossed the 20,000 word threshold! I won’t make it to the 50,000 word mark barring some sort of miracle, but I’m so excited for how far I have come, and how far my characters have come. It fees good to write gain, and I hope that I can continue this past November, until their stories have been told, however long that takes. It feels good to be back.
Rather than writing here, I have been writing in my book. After a few days of writer’s block, I decided to break the rules and go back and do some serious editing. I ended up scrapping half of the things I wrote before and am really pleased with the results. I am no longer shaping my characters, they are shaping themselves and surprising me.
This is my favorite part of writing. I love it when you reach a point in a story and the story writes itself. It’s extremely satisfying, and can be an extremely intense experience.
One way I’ve found to help motivate myself to write is to make it a game. I’ve been working with my dear friend Randi, who is also doing NaNoWriMo, and we’ve been putting aside 30 minutes and just writing. There’s a little competition as to who can bust out the most words. We’ve been writing 900-1200 words each per session, and it’s really helped.
Since I’ve fallen so behind, I’ve shifted my goal from 50,000 words to 25,000. Once I meet that, anything more is a bonus. I’m currently at 15117 and counting!
Anyway, I’m off to go write on.
Distracted by the election. More tomorrow.