Back in early December I decided to take a break from writing this blog. I’d run out of things to muse on, I felt as though I had nothing left to say about anything to anyone, ever and mostly, I didn’t like the person I was writing about. aka me.
Nothing like reading a years worth of random posts to realize that you sound like a man obsessed, trivial whiner.
7 years of dating had generated a lot of ‘funny stories’ and ’embarrassing incidents’ which while a gold mine for source material, didn’t speak well to my judgement or the willingness of any man to ever date me in the future. After all, who wants to be with someone who’s likely to openly mock you on the interwebs? I’m not a cruel person, but in sharing the anecdotes of other’s failings (while delicately ignoring my own contributions), I found that with hindsight… I didn’t feel comfortable telling those stories any more.
Plus while I may have been all too consumed with the idea of meeting a man and falling in love for the last few years, this has been a year of moving that fantasy into retirement and bringing other fantasies to the fore. Like creative expression. Exploration. Conversation. Friendship with women AND men. Oh, and finally paying off my lemon house debt. None of which makes for exciting or amusing reading.
So, I thought I’d take the advantage of having very few readers, upcoming holidays and my creative Sahara to take the next step.
Aka.. writing some fiction.
After all, the whole point of writing my blog was to get back into the rhythm of writing every day, honing a voice, and developing some good writing practices.
All of which I did.
So, as I closed down my blog, cracked my knuckles and stood in front of my white board I figured ‘no biggy’. Just write a story.
People. They don’t tell you this but writing a story, a made up, straight out of your head story is HARD. I can write a 40,000 word essay on Deindustrialization no problem, but even 1000 words straight out of thin air??
They really need to rethink torture methods in this country.
I sat and I imagined. I wrote out timelines, drew mind maps and outlined characters. I figured out ‘A’ and ‘B’, but couldn’t figure out the denouement of ‘C’. I could define ‘B’ and ‘C’ but couldn’t figure out how to start. I hated my characters as soon as they’d had the opportunity to move beyond a single chapter and I realized that a year of daily blog writing was essentially no preparation for fiction writing. Instead of typing like a fiend, words flowing out of my fingers, I could barely string a sentence together. And when I did? Yikes. I think my 6 year old niece could do better.
2 weeks later I had 9 different ‘starts’ of 3,000 words, all of which sucked. Even I was bored with the characters and storyline. I didn’t have a single thread I wanted to pursue and, after 3 vodka martini’s I resigned myself to the fact that I may not actually be a fiction writer. Period.
Cue mental breakdown.
You see, since the age of zero I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first story about a hedgehog when I was 6. It wasn’t much (though in hindsight, it too lacked a finale or ‘C’), but it was a story. And throughout the years I’ve always had this small voice in the back of my head that one day, one day.. sometime in the future I’d be an author. One person, just one, would read a book I wrote.
(At this point I may need to resurrect my hedgehog story from 1977 if its going to happen.)
I just always assumed I had it in me to be writer. I love fiction, I read about 200 or so books a year (more if I take a vacation or head back to the EU), and I love the act of writing on a tear as I had been for most of the past year. Grabbing an idea or a thought or even a word and wrestling it into something. The hour or so every day I spent writing my blog was some of the the most fulfilling hours of my year.. and yet when I sat down to actually write a story…. nada.
After three nights of dreaming my teeth were falling out, I headed to my therapist for my latest first world problem. WTF? I had a lot of my current and future identity wrapped up in the notion that I was, and would be a writer. I’d accepted professional ease and flexibility to give me space to think and do. So what if I didn’t have a stratospheric career, the white picket fence or rug rats..I had others priorities and pursuits. Like writing.
Then here I was, facing the fear that actually, maybe I can’t. And if I can’t.. what does that make me? Who am I, what will I be if its all just been a fanciful idea in my head?
Am I really just another version of the delusional American Idol contestant wailing Mariah Carey songs and thinking of future fame and creative fulfillment?
Well I can’t sing and I won’t be pushing any dreadful fan fiction on the public anytime soon, so hopefully that analogy is null and void, but the fear remains. Am I just wailing out of tune, same old, same old, crap into the wilderness? What’s the point of creating anything if its crap?
Lets just say its been an interesting few weeks.
So after much thought, and a few more ideas about writing pursuits, I’m going to resume writing this blog. If only because it does give me joy – whether anyone reads it or not. I’ve also started writing a story. Not the type of story I thought I would write, but its joyful, silly and I can get lost in it. Its not good, and I’m finding myself wide awake at 3am scribbling down notes of things I’ve forgotten to include, so its hardly well organized. But if only two little girls read it, then I’ll be one happy aunt.