Okay Not to be Okay

Once in a while, life drops a bomb on all of us. That’s what’s happened in our family this week, and I’m not sure how much I want to write about it here, because this is a writing blog, and this isn’t a writing thing. It impacts my writing, of course, as time spent wrangling family stuff is time spent not writing, but it is also, as everything in a writer’s life, going to end up in a story someday. But writing about the thing itself? Ehhhh, don’t know yet. It’s still fresh. Still dealing with the things-that-need-to-be-done-now and making plans and considering contingencies and and and and and…

…there are a lot of ands. A lot of ifs, a lot of maybes, a lot of we could trys, a lot of I don’t knows. Life can be scary sometimes, and it looks like this may be one of those times. Even so, writing remains my happy place. Going into the story world and closing the door behind me isn’t so much an escape -the other stuff will still be there when I come out again- but more of a respite. It’s some time away that fills em so that I am better able to deal with what’s going on when I’d really rather be writing.

One good thing about writing in the midst of chaos, besides the respite, is that it crystallizes things. I want this. I want to keep writing the main focus of my life.  I will gaurd it and chase it and hunt it down with a club when I need to, because I need it. There’s a power in knowing this is why I am here, and this is the genre I love and I have stories yet to tell, so what other people call “real life” is going to have to calm down and take a seat so that I can get down to business. Sometimes, that will mean I can hunker down with laptop and go clickety clack on the keys for hours. Sometimes, that means I can scrible in my pocket notebook or on an index card or jot something down on the back of a receipt or napkin and keep on going with whatever else the day has demanded of me, but the main thing remains. I can’t turn it off. Not even if I wanted to, and I don’t want to, so I won’t.

Which brings me to the title of this post. There are going to be times, in life and in writing, when things are going great. There are going to be times, in life and in writing, when things are going the exact opposite way and crawling under a rock sounds like a good idea…but nothing gets done there. What I’ve had to tell myself is that it’s okay not to be okay at times. Let the feelings do their job, but don’ t dwell on them. Feel what it feels like to be angry, afraid, confused, exhausted, exhilerated, at wits’ end, triumphant, defeated, whatever it is. Feel it. Remember it. This, too is grist for the mill, and because we write, because we read, we know the black moment comes before the resolution. If things are at their chaotic-est, that’s probably because it’s the middle of the story.

To be continued…

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