The last couple of days, I’ve been bingeing. Monday, I stumbled across Grace Burrowes’s FAQ section, which led to glomming on her blog, a couple of years’ worth of entries, full disclosure. I haven’t read any of her novels -yet- but I know I have some in my TBR bookshelf, some waiting in my Kindle, and they take up a significant amount of the B shelf in the romance section at my local library branch. I started with the About Writing section of the FAQ page, and fell immediately in love, which may be a good indicator it’s time to dive into the actual books. Thankfully, there’s a suggested reading order on the author’s website, because there are a heck of a lot of t hem.
Tuesday, I investigated the Bad Girlz Write blog, whose members include the fabulous Jeannette Grey, a CRRWA chapter sister, and Heather McGovern, whose workshop on the big black moment I have heard-but-not-actually-seen, because the day she presented at CRRWA was also the day my former pair of spectacles died, and my valiant attempt to hold them together with electrical tape and a binder clip A) did not work, and B) hurt, because electrical tape, when folded, has sharp, pointy corners, as well as C) made me dizzy and gave me a headache. I took notes anyway, but will not vouch for the legibility of same. Here, as well, I hit the back button to read blog entry after blog entry about wandering and, heck, the entire section on writer life in one go. There may or may not have been actual tears in either of the above.
There sure as anything have been a lot of tears in my other binge, Parenthood. Not the life state. The TV show. Yes, I do live under a rock, and no, I do not know how I somehow managed to never ever see a single episode of this until Netflix, but I needed a show to binge and Netflix said I might like it, because Netflix knows me, and yessssssssssss. Oh so very much yes. Only a few episodes into the first season, I had to check to make sure my OTPs (from the adult generation, that is; everybody shush on the teens, because I want to experience it myself) were going to be endgame (they were) before I could allow myself to get as deeply attached as I am wont to do in these situations.
All three of these binges brought that same reaction in my writerheart: YES. This. This is what I want to do. This is what I’m shooting for when I write. This connection. This emotional impact. This need to stop everything I’m doing and check to see if Crosby and Jasmine are going to be all right, because if they aren’t, there is no good left in the world. Also Joel and Julia. I already know a couple of things about the finale, and I am fine knowing them, but the rest, I want to discover as I go. I want to take all of this in and use it as food to fuel my own work. The tightly-knit family, made of people who aren’t perfect, who do get mad and lose their tempers and yell at little kids and shove their elders and say horrible things and lose every last shred of hope, and yet don’t give up because that’s not what they do; I love that stuff.
In the midst of all this, I noticed one interesting thing. The more I binged, the fainter and farther away the voices -and influences- of the Hypercritical Gremlins became. Maybe Ms. Burrowes, the Bad Girlz and the Bravermans are taking turns helping to barricade the Gremlins’ closet. Shutting out the “shoulds” is one thing, and a good thing, but there has to be something to move into the old “should” place, or they’re only going to come back, with more “shoulds” and more Gremlins, and that only leads to paralysis and anxiety and literally ugly crying in the middle of a critique group (yes, that actually happened, and yes, in public, and yes, to me) and miscarried manuscripts and…you get the picture. But replace the “shoulds” and the forcing and the gnashing of teeth with the things that elicit that YES in every fiber of my writerheart? That brings back the joy, lifts the weight and, well, of course I can do this; it’s as natural as breathing, and I’ve been doing that for a few decades now, right? Right.
What could go wrong? Well, plenty. That’s part of life, but the encouraging part, thanks to reading accounts of others navigating the often treacherous writing waters, is that I’m not alone. I’ve done this before. I’ll do it again, and I have no shortage of fuel for the journey.