Have you ever been in the middle of telling a story, a really good story (at least you think it's good) and then some real world thing happens, something important, some earth-shattering event that stops the whole world in its tracks and everyone drops everything and runs off? And later on, when people say oh yeah, what was the rest of the story? you say you can't remember and say you can't tell it, that it don't matter and why doesn't someone tell a joke, mainly 'cuz you can't remember it and don't remember what you were saying but also because trying to tell the story later on feels different somehow, like the moment that was, is now broke open, hollowed out, like no matter how big a finish you put on things, no matter how you try to pick up where you left off, it'll never ring true, never be the same, not again?
I'm feeling a bit like that coming back to this blog.
The reasons why I left off writing in this space are many and varied and frankly I've learned (slowly--sorry I'm not always a quick study) that you, dear reader, aren't really interested in hearing about my bellyaching and excuses. I don't blame you. I'm pretty sick of hearing them myself.
The fact is I haven't written fiction in months. And you've heard this story too: "not because I didn't want to." But at some point facts become facts and the fact of the matter is that one can no longer call themselves a fiction writer if one does not write fiction. That's the sad idea that I've been very slow to come around to, and I suppose it's the reason why my behavior has been so erratic and nonsensical.
If I had understood the problem better, I probably would have had the presence of mind to put up a nice hiatus post, say I was taking a break and so on, and at least exit stage left gracefully. But that would be too easy, right? I had to do it the hard way. Somehow, no matter how much sense it made, I couldn't bring myself to do that post. It felt like quitting, you know? But the evidence was right there in front of me, dog: what real fire of fiction in my belly could I still be tending if I wasn't finding a way to get fiction on the page?
And another stumbling block was that I felt I created a sort of persona for myself here, someone who was knowledgeable and wise on what writing fiction was about, and yet I couldn't come to grips with my own demons. The more I tried to put on a face as a blogger, the more I felt like a fraud.
It feels really weird to say that out loud.
But, well, there it is. I suppose the reason why I'm writing about it now is that I feel like I owe you--the one person who's probably still reading this (Hi Mom! *waves*)--some sort of explanation, some sort of repayment for your loyalty. I feel I've served you all poorly, as silly as that sounds, and it's been a hard path finding my way back.
I feel like I can still contribute to the conversation, somehow, but I don't know what form that will take. I'm on new ground, and maybe that's a good thing, but it's going to take me some time to get my wits about me. The last thing I want to do is build another house of cards.
And, well, at least there's this note, from the other side of midnight.
I have no idea what my writing future holds, or if I have a writing future. I don't know if the last few days' posts mean there are more on the horizon. I wish I could tell you more, but I don't know. It's pretty much one day at a time right now.
Thanks. Thanks for listening. I suddenly feel the need to quote a Tennessee Williams line, but I'll refrain. What about you? How's life at your end of the universe?
Thinking about you guys today. I know NaNo is in full swing and I hope everyone is having a blast. I miss you guys. Truly. Hope you all--every one of you--are rocking it, whether it be NaNo or something else. Life's too short, you know?
DJ of the Soul that I am, I can't not stop in without offering a song. Enjoy!
I sometimes have conversations with my ideal self.
"We live very different lives, you and I," I say, trying hard to keep the false drama from coloring my words.
He ignores me. Hunched over the keyboard, he stares into the illuminated screen like a mage studying the fog, then continues typing. He is lost in his story and I resent him for it. He has no time for me, for lost souls with mouths full of excuses and hearts full of uncertainty.
"I suppose it doesn't matter," I say to no one in particular.
Perhaps I should offer a correction. These interludes are not so much conversations as hollow soliloquies cast like spells into the discarnate air.
If he were to relent, to offer some breadcrumb of understanding, I might not feel so lost. But his commitment is unwavering, his dedication pure. When he faces an obstacle, he plunges on, undeterred. He has no time for me and those like me.
I talk. He works. I think. He works. I breathe. And still, he works.
It's one thing to know in every nook and cranny of my being that there are good reasons I am not accomplishing certain of life's critical pursuits. Being OK with it is another thing altogether.