I sometimes forget the lessons of my past. We all have them. But don’t worry they come back to remind you that your journey isn’t over.
I normally don’t do Throwback Thursday, but blogging three times per week is one of my goals, and since I am not going to show up at my next CR-RWA meeting (especially because I will be the speaker) on February 14th and say I did not meet my goals (if I make a goal public, I will meet that or die trying; it’s something I do) and because Sue Ann Porter has a way of encouraging me, today, you get to hop in my wayback machine.
The year was 2013, our family newly arrived in Albany, my writer brain in a constant state of shock and caught between projects. I had only recently discovered the joys of Hudson River Coffee House, where I am writing this entry. On this particular day, date lost to the wilds of time, Housemate banished me there after one of my mild freakouts (“What on earth am I doing, thinking I can write anymore?” variety) and said I had to write something. So, there was this:
2012 was one of those years. Family health issues. Planning and carrying out an interstate move when one family member was not physically able to make any of the apartment hunting trips. Carrying out said move in stages, one of them involving sending one family member into a hurricane to carry out said stage solo because another did not want a third anxiety attack that week. A first trip to the hospital from our new home. Changes in important relationships. Buying a second snow shovel because we live in Albany and it’s winter and one shovel is not going to dig us out properly.
2013 is an unknown quantity. I’m letting one ms settle and diving into another. It scares me. What on earth am I getting myself into? Fear. The bad kind. Fear. The good kind.
What’s the difference between the two? Good question. When I find out, I will let you know, but I’ll give it a stab (and stabbing does seem like a good option at times, the object of which can vary.)
Bad fear = what if every bad thing anybody ever said about my writing is true? What if it’s true and I have no other marketable skills? What if I really do suck? What if I suck and there was something I could have done to not suck but I didn’t do it and now it’s too late to fix it because I really do suck and it’s all my fault? What if I have to live with the wanting to write and the needing to write and never being able to write for the rest of my life ? DOOM! DOOM!DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!
Good fear = I have never done X before, but it could be fun. Am I really doing it right?
:pokes X with a stick, then scuttles back a safe distance to observe:
:comes back, presuming the poking of X did not result in personal death or obliteration of all humankind; pokes X again. Repeat until done, then poke something else.:
Do I have all the answers? No. Do I have my answers? Maybe. Let me look around the bottom of my purse a while longer. Or fumble my way through manuscript B and occasionally poke A with a stick. There is fear, both kinds. There are times I feel like I can’t find my way back to my normal writing self any more than I can find my way to Apartment Four, 738 North Anything Street in Duluth, Minnesota. At night. In a snowstorm. On foot. Wearing earplugs. During a blackout. In the zombie apocalypse. One thing is sure, though; if I never take one step, I’ll never get there.
So. This is a step. Today, I wrote. Is it a completed work of fiction between eighty and one hundred thousand words in my chosen genre? No. Is it real? Yes. Is it true? Yes. Is it finished? Yes. Did it bring me one step closer to that mythical apartment in Duluth? Yes. Are the residents expecting me? Maybe. I’ll find out when I get there. So will you. We all have a Duluth. I firmly believe that, and I firmly beleive that putting one foot in front of the other will eventually get you there. Maybe you’re on the right track now, and maybe you’ll need to circle the world a time or two, but the surest way to make sure you never get there is to not try. Right foot, left foot. Right foot, left foot. Right foot, left foot. Dress in layers. Stay hydrated. Rest, and then continue. Fill the well. Write something. Ask for directions. Right foot, left foot. Right foot, left foot. See you there.