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…