Disclaimer: this is a rather long and personal post. But not too long or personal. Just thought I’d let you know.
I must confess that things with me have not gone as planned. I’ve failed to pick up a sketch pad, in order to begin practicing the basics of drawing. The desire is there. The need is there–I simply haven’t done it, haven’t committed to the act, perhaps out of sheer laziness or fear, or maybe it’s a product of my lack of time management. Alas, it’s also a case of getting my priorities straight.
Instead of binge watching television, I could be putting the sketch pad to good use. I could be attempting to read. I could even be writing more. Sadly, I haven’t committed to any one of these things.
November was great, fantastic. In fact, it was the single greatest and most exciting time of writing life ever. I’d hoped and genuinely thought that I’d take the things that NaNoWriMo taught me and utilize them in the coming months, so they may transcend my process. I never imagined that there could be such bleakness on the other side. Coming back to my point: I powered through NaNo. The chaotic undertaking was surprisingly less daunting than I’d expected. In the end, I wound up writing just over fifty-one thousand words in thirty days. (Even now, months later, the mere thought of the feat blows my mind, truly.) But I could’ve done much more, as there were a couple days that I didn’t write at all, and others that I know I could written more.
I’m trying not to dwell on the negative, though. If NaNo has taught me one thing, it’s to celebrate the small victories, and there were many of those. I DID IT, I conquered what I’d told myself was impossible for me. Did I finish the story? My story? No. Did I come close? Well, yes and no. At the end of November, I’d reached what I perceived to be the three quarters mark, but since that time I’ve realized that my story is significantly more complex than I thought; therefore, that penultimate percentage has pulled back, forcing me to keep going, to chase it to the finish line, and bask in the consequential nether. I’ve also realized that this is a good thing, that anything less would be a disservice to me, to the reader, and ultimately to the Story itself.
To quote Stephen King: “The story is the boss.”
Reading various interviews with the late Richard Adams (may he rest in eternal peace,) and legendary surf noir novelist, Kem Nunn, I’ve learned that good writing shouldn’t be rushed. But to reach said finish line (insert Rocky theme here,) I have to actually sit down and do the work. This has proven to be an equally hard and obvious truth.
Just put it this way: since the first of December, I’ve written the equivalent of five NaNo days. That’s roughly ten thousand words. That’s it. And the Story, which I’ve given a working title of Infanticide, still isn’t finished. I’ve a ways to go yet before I can type in those two iconic-and for me daunting–words: THE END.
The good news remains, though. I CAN and I WILL complete it, and the process will be fun and joyous. Paradoxically speaking, the feelings will be likened to a proud father to his newborn child.
To quote Ted Dekker: “If you want what others do not have, you must be willing to do what others are unwilling to do.”
This has been a time of physical and mental tribulation; a time of introspection and religious and/or spiritual soul searching. I’m trying to find myself again. In said time, it has also revealed the importance of re-examining my goals. More importantly, the need to follow through with them.
For example, I still very much want to attend Green River Community College. I long to draw heavenly portraits and whatever else may inspire me, for there is inspiration all around us, isn’t there? For the longest time, I’ve wanted to learn and excel at pottery making. I want to return to painting and drawing via charcoal, as I’m passionate about the ladder medium especially.
I’m interested in joining a reading and writing group, if the opportunity should arise. Those types of groups are quite prevalent here in the Seattle-Auburn area, admittedly, but I’ve never pursued them. Technically, a reading group isn’t as pressing as joining a writing group. Not just because I’ve wanted to do so for the last decade, but because it’s important to connect with fellow creatives. By perusing numerous author interviews over the years and more recently, listing to various webinars, the fact keeps coming to me in a wholly simple fashion: they’re important. Connecting and sharing your work with others is necessary, as is the fostering of those friendships. I cannot emphasize these truths enough.
Speaking of reading, it’s imperative that I schedule an optometrist appointment–asap–in the hopes of finally figuring out the cause of this dreadful struggle. You see, for the last two-plus years, it’s been increasingly difficult to concentrate while reading. My mind wanders. This struggle feels hopeless . I keep telling myself that it’s pointless to even try, as nothing ever changes. It’s the very definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. I’m sick of trying. Granted, I can read (I’m not saying I can’t,) but I’m constantly going back and re-reading the same sentences, paragraphs, entire chapters. Sometimes it takes me two or three hours to read no more than thirty pages, when I used to read an average of twenty in an hour.
At the same time, there are inconsistencies. I am deeply troubled. There are questions which desperately need answers. Like sometimes I can focus just fine, in a crowded and loud diner, swarms of patrons flitting to and fro. Yet, I’ll be at home, all alone, in complete silence, and nothing will come. One sentence or a paragraph in and I’m done for. My mind is constantly moving, latching on to word associations. But I can read articles online or in physical form, as well as e-books, and I’ll breeze through those with the utmost joy and abandon. I don’t understand what’s going on with me…
I could’ve read so many books these last two years. Instead, my numbers are minimal; my joy’s dwindling abd practically non-existent. I feel lost and incomplete.
I don’t know if the problem is in my eyes, but what else can I do? I’ve exhausted every other possibility. I’ve broken down and prayed in tears on numerous occasions, and I cannot understand why nothing has changed. Why do You continues to let me suffer? Something has changed, though: my attention span (if that’s what it is,) has lessened dramatically. My eyes grow tired-heavy–after just thirty minutes. I used to read for hours on end, with no problems whatsoever. I rarely pick up a book any more because…what’s the point? I’m just going to get my hopes up, yet again, only to have them dashed. Then I fail again.
Something needs to change for the better.
Lastly, though of no less importance, now that I’ve established my priorities, I need to discover what works for me structurally. What I mean is, I need to find a way to balance this unpredictable lifestyle. In addition to quality family time, as well as reading and writing (and the subsequent group[s] accompanying them,) I need to find time to be online again on a regular, or semi-regular, basis. Most everyone else does it, why can’t I? Over the years, I have developed close friendships with many people around the world, and they’re some of the most awesome and kindhearted individuals I’ve ever met. I am honored to call you friends.
It goes deeper than that, though. Personally, being online (whether it’s Facebook, Goodreads or blogging,) is liberating. It’s like extreme freedom because I can be myself without being self-conscious, awkward, or judged. Yes, I feel these things in my everyday life. There’s nowhere else that offers such freedom, joy, and a sense of community and like-mindedness. I genuinely miss discussing books, tracking my progress, and especially keeping in touch with you guys. I’m sad because we’ve been out of touch for many months. Sorrow flutters within my heart and mind like some cancerous butterfly.
Anyway, something has to get better–I believe that because I have to. Anything else would be giving up and I’m sick and tired of giving up. It’s counterproductive and the playground of the devil. I refuse to exist another day, another hour, in this darkness. Embrace the Light and all will be well.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.”