To write or not to write? Or maybe just what to write is the question.

I have a favor to ask. More of a question to pose, I guess. Although I’m realizing as I type this, I think this might be more of an existential crisis versus a casual inquiry about writing.

I’ll preface this with the fact that I’ve never considered myself ‘a writer’. Sure, I could write a decent academic paper. My travel stories seemed to amuse my friends. (But seriously, the insanity I get myself into on foreign land can’t help but entertain.)

I’ve had people tell me I should write a book, but mainly because my life has been an extraordinary string of adventures interlaced with a good amount of tragedy I’ve had to overcome. And there’s always been an undercurrent of magic that makes us all look around and wonder what the hell just happened.

All to say, I was never compelled to write until I fell in love. I had been in love before, clearly. My love for ‘E’ is deep and enduring. But the most recent fall left me no choice. The words filled up every part of me, demanding to be released. I gladly submitted, believing ‘our story’ was one that needed to be shared. I wanted people to know it exists- magic- so they wouldn’t give up on it or dismiss it as “too risky” or unrealistic or bad timing or whatever other reason we come up with to cling to safety.

That was my intention, anyway, to write a love story. But that clearly didn’t happen. This blog happened instead.

The words continued to make their demands, but this time I was a hostage, at their mercy until I offered up everything I had. It was a hostile but necessary takeover: their release is gradually leading to my liberation. I think.

I’m convinced these words, and you all receiving them, saved me (along with a handful of angels that swooped in to keep me from going under).

So here I am a year later with a blog- surrounded by a community of brilliant writers- a few published articles and this ‘book’ I’m writing.

But I’m not writing a book. I have the beginning of a story that I don’t want to tell- a few short paragraphs about what I believed to be magic and then an endless series of desperate pleas and incoherent attempts to get my head around a fall that was anything but magical.

I’ve tried to salvage it, condense the story of  ‘us’ into just a chapter that would serve as the Supreme Ordeal in the heroine’s journey, the point when I seize the sword and rise back up on my path to redemption.

But it’s not working. I suppose I’m still too close to it all to provide an enlightened perspective. I can rattle off the gift and lessons learned from it, but I feel my heart squirm every time I do it. The truth is, it still just fucking hurts and I feel like I’ll never make peace with it.

I can forgive myself, for the most part. I made some bad choices, but I made them because I followed my heart, I loved someone with everything I had and truly believed that would be enough.

And yes, I still wrestle with hurt and anger. I still regret that I didn’t get to have a relationship with him, that I had to go to war with his demons instead. But I’ll always hold him in a space of love. His essence, the part of him I know to be his truth- is loving, compassionate and beautiful. That is what I carry with me.

All to say, I know, ultimately, this is my story. I know it’s extraordinary in many ways and isn’t reduced to just that part of my life.

So herein lies the problem. Can I really write a story while it’s still unfolding? I know, our stories are always unfolding. But I mean the ‘happy ending’ is missing, that point of redemption when the reader can exhale because the heroine proved it really does all work out in the end, that everything really does happen for a reason. The reader can take solace in the fact that, no matter how shitty they might feel right now, they will, in fact, rise up and return with the elixir.

I believe we will…most days. But I can’t actually prove it at this point.

Well, that should inspire the shit out of everyone…

“Yes, do as I did: leap, take a risk, follow your heart. Okay, I crashed and burned, but you might not. If you do, though, just know the ‘rising up from the ashes’ phase will most likely be excruciatingly painful and take way longer than you want it to. But please, read my book. I’ll give you a play by play of what heartbreak, pain, and destruction look like and exactly how you, too, can make a complete mess out of your life.”

Yep, that will definitely have any potential readers earmarking their favorite pages and passing it on to their closest friends.

This is where you come in. I just need you to tell me what to write.

Should I take the whole ‘build it and they will come’ approach? Just start writing and trust that redemption or the happy ending or at least a promising new chapter will manifest? Is the thing I don’t want to write about with every fiber of my being the very thing I have to write about? Is it too soon? Do I just try to have patience and wait for divine inspiration?

Yes, I recognize this is a bit rhetorical. You can’t answer this for me.

But any words of wisdom are welcome…

maya.untold.story

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A Love Story of Sorts

In keeping with the theme this week, I’ll offer up a love story of sorts.

Okay, it’s not really a “love story”, in the traditional sense. But it is a story, and it does involve love.

In the romantic sense, love has proven itself to be a fickle companion. I’ve lost myself in it and also found myself. I’ve sworn it off completely, and then blindly plunged back in. I’ve felt it with a force as powerful as breath, and now find myself wondering if it even exists.

But I’m a romantic and seem to be incapable of giving up on it completely.

So that brings me to Valentine’s Day. I admittedly get seduced by it all: a day dedicated solely to celebrating the person I love and being spoiled by the person who loves me. It’s a subject I believe worthy of its own holiday.

But I’m also acutely aware that this day can place loneliness and heartbreak at center stage, making the absence of the person we love as consuming as their presence used to be liberating.

That’s the side of it I was on, once again. There was no lover to spoil. And besides the sweet guy at the coffee shop, I wasn’t the object of anyone’s affection. (okay, that didn’t prove to be entirely true, but we’ll stick to the subject at hand.)

All to say, I expected to be in the same place I was last year: front and center.

I am, in fact, front and center, but not in the same place.

It feels more like equilibrium.

There was no huge revelation that occurred. I didn’t even realize anything had changed until the sweet boy at the coffee shop gave me a chocolate heart. It made me happy. And I didn’t want it to be from anyone else. And I was completely content with the fact that I had the whole day to myself. And there wasn’t anyone I was missing (not entirely true, either. I miss Biscuit terribly but “subject at hand”.)

It seems I unknowingly declared a truce.

Despite the fact that I desperately wanted to move on, I kept looking back. I’ve recycled everything possible- memories, relationships, behaviors- all of which kept taking me back to the exact same place I was before…which was the last place I wanted to be.

This isn’t to say that my mind has completely stopped reminding me of what’s lurking beneath the surface. But I finally understand its tactics. I can catch it now, reel it in and release what has clearly been sustaining my demons all along.

Okay, confession.

There is this one last relationship I’m trying to rekindle. It’s risky to be sure. It was extremely messy before and full-on destructive when we parted ways. But I really do believe it will be different this time.

I think she’s finally realized she had something special that she came really close to losing.

and-suddenly-she-found-herself-grateful.

And the Nominees Are…

 

versatile-blogger-award.1

To be honest, I don’t know much about this, other than it’s a vehicle to give accolades to our fellow writers.

So, thank you very much, LemonZest, for nominating me.

Now it’s my turn to celebrate some of the writers I’ve come to love- those who have inspired me by having the courage to open their hearts, tell their stories, and share their insights with talent and grace…and/or just make me laugh.

Oh, and I should confess, I’m not following the rules exactly (shocking, I know). I chose a select few because I wanted to showcase why I chose them. So this list doesn’t include all my favorites, but since we tend to run to in tight circles, I know the rest of the names of writers I love and admire will quickly surface.

So, my nominees are, in no particular order:

  1. The Incurable Dreamer, for her gift of always making me laugh out loud while tears are simultaneously streaming down my face. Her words effortlessly express her humor, huge heart and uplifting perspectives…always with a solid dose of hutzpa to keep things interesting. “I silently wept. Not from sadness but happiness experienced in its purest form. The kind of happiness that makes you see colour for the first time, that ignites your soul and makes you not only feel like you can fly but that you already are.”  My Surgeon thinks I’m a Whore
  2. Flowering Ink, for the way her words flow, inspire and reveal all the layers, textures and depth of her strength and character. “For me, poetry is the ultimate expression and exercise of language. It is the bones, the blood and the heart, uncovered and untethered.” Stretching my Voice
  3. Desertcurmudgeon, the unassuming prophet, who always leaves me in awe of his sheer brilliance, huge heart and capacity to express his insights with wit, “Be exhaustive, be brave. Become the warrior this sad and scary world so desperately needs. In the depths of our unconfused minds…We’ll realize that we create our own reality and that everyone we meet in this place is just us with a different temporary mask. That’s where empathy begins. That’s where true, indestructible love resides. Everything will be okay.  It can’t be otherwise.Warrior Mind
  4. Brandenwulf, for never ceasing to amaze me with what he can do with words, always rising effortlessly from the page and enchanting me with their richness and texture.  Morning Kiss                                                                                                                 “Little by little it comes;
    Building drip to falling drop.
    Tiny explosions shatter, rippling
    Into a thousand points of their self.”
  5. My Dang Blog, for always making me giggle and feel more at peace with my OCD tendencies and quirky idiosyncrasies. Please know, I say this with the utmost reverence, because these characteristics just make her more colorful and interesting…plus, she’s charming, witty and should seriously consider giving up her day job and pursue stand-up.                                                                                                “She kept using the good tea towel, you know, the one that’s for show…There was another tea towel, a plainer one, that was close to the stove and sink, and simply screamed out, “Use ME!”…I would come back after a weekend at home to find it hanging all crumply and stained. Why didn’t you just tell her, you ask? Because that would be the most ridiculous conversation in the world, like “Can you not use this tea towel? It’s for show.” Driverless Cars, the ‘Good’ tea towel
  6. Tom Being Tom, for writing in a way that makes me feel like I’ve always known him, and at the same time, like I’m listening to an old soul from another time and space… “I will chase the reality and the fantasy of life. I will be broad and bold; utterly complete and evolving still.”: We are Not but One Thing
  7. Writing to Freedom, for his eye for beauty and talent for capturing it with his captivating photos and words. Peace Prevails (Note: Brad’s site is award free, but this is more about sharing his gifts.)

I’m supposed to share 7 things about myself. So, here goes:

  1. I am determined to save the elephants and gorillas and pangolins and sea turtles…(this list continues, but your time is precious.)
  2. I move around a lot.
  3. I like good coffee, kale, beer, chocolate, avocados and whipped cream.
  4. I hung out with Jane Goodall for a day. (okay, it wasn’t just me, and I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t recognize me if I was standing in front of her, but still…)
  5. Paris feeds my soul, Sevilla awakens it.
  6. You will never hear me say the words ‘I’ and ‘baked ‘ in the same sentence (talking pastries here, people).
  7. I believe in magic.