Decompress? Well, I’m trying

Well, this is going to be kind of short. Why? I’ve been just plain ole’ distracted. That’s why. 

Part of it has to do with the fact that the book launch is a little over a month away. And it also has to do with the fact that yesterday, the manuscript was cleared to be turned into a book.

So, while I’m not literally bouncing off the walls at this development, my brain is revving at a really high rpm right now. It’s doing its own bouncing around. To be honest, I don’t remember being this geared up when I was getting the first novel ready and getting my shit ready for that book launch.

Maybe I’m just more excited about what I’ve written this time. Because I know I’ve done what I set out to do when I started working on this novel. Because my mentor has said my writing keeps getting better. He’s not one to lie. That would be a disservice to me and to him if he did.

I just feel confident about what I’ve written. It’s not a brag. It’s a feeling. It’s hard to explain. Regardless of how people will receive this book, I know I’m on the path that’s right for me in my journey as a writer.

I’m also feeling ambitious. I want to really start figuring out and mapping out how to go about working on my next writing endeavours after this book comes out.

But it seems my brain needs to decompress before I dive into another long-term project. I started decompressing awhile ago. Just kind of fell into it without thinking about it. I had hoped I would have been done with decompressing by now but apparently my brain isn’t done yet. Maybe after the book launch I’ll be done decompressing. But I’m thinking that’s probably a lie. 

What to do, what to do. Maybe I should actually try to decompress after the launch is done. Yeah, good luck with that.

One way or another, I’ll figure something out.

Knowing yourself

Learning who you are is really a part of the process of becoming a writer. You can’t skip it. Knowing who you are as a writer takes trying things to find out. There is no wrong path to getting there — anonymous

Last week, I was talking to a friend — well, it was more the case of being interviewed by friend for a personal passion project of his — about the process of writing and being a writer. That was one of the subjects we discussed but not the main subject although the two are linked.

Anyway, it was great speaking to someone who is a fellow creative and interested in the writing process. I can’t remember the exact question he asked but it led me to make the remark that in the process of becoming a writer you end up learning who you are as a person.

It’s true. Every time you work on a writing project, or anything creative, you learn things about yourself — not in an epiphanous kind of way (though it could happen with other people, just not me), but in a slow burn kind of way that you don’t realize it’s happening until it’s staring at you, giving you a smart-ass smirk.

After I wrote The Raven Sonata, I came away with a more defined sense of what I wanted to do for the next story. No specifics, just certainties. I just wanted to become more ambitious with regards to story and character. I wanted to walk the path towards becoming a more complex storyteller.

In the process of writing the second novel, the more I learned about myself, the greater the clarity I had regarding the kinds of stories I wanted to write in the future.

It’s one part refining, one part clarifying and one part keeping the mind open to ideas that seem whimsical at the moment, but could gain the kind of traction you would want to take into the next writing project. It’s constant evolution. 

One of the interesting things about writing is learning about yourself. The characters you create, the world you want to build for them and the research you put in before and during the writing process reveal more to you about who you are. The process opens you up to embracing your true nature. This is more than just discovering you’re really good at playing beer pong or knitting slippers.

And another thing: your 9-to-5 job (or whatever your shift hours are) doesn’t define you. And I know there are folks out there who will disagree with me about that statement, but this is my opinion. Your passions define you. Everything outside of work is a greater determinant in defining who you are. The different passions/interests you have, reveal parts that create the whole that is you.

The time period where I was a horse owner and equestrian revealed a lot to me about the person I am. The good and the bad. And what I learned, I applied to the rest of my life more purposefully. Well, most of the time.

There were other interests I pursued between the equestrian life and the writing life. But they all revealed other aspects of my character.

Now, as a writer (I’ll never get used to referring to myself as an author), there is so much more clarity as to who I am because of the kinds of stories that interest me. In order to explore those stories, I have to embrace all the reasons I want to tell those stories. Some of those reasons speak to the true nature and complexity of my character.

In facing the true nature of your character, you accept who you really are. This isn’t a case of not liking what you see in the mirror and wanting to change it. This is different. This is the effortless acceptance of knowing who you are. This is embracing the fact your true nature doesn’t scare the shit out of you and it never will scare the shit out of you.

The people around you might have a different opinion about that but fuck ’em. You can’t live under their microscope.

I know who I am. Knowing that doesn’t scare me.

Crossroads

To slightly paraphrase Flannery O’Connor: The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet. His or her problem is to find that location.

I think I’ll always be at a crossroads as writer. I think that’s how it is when one finishes writing a book. Aside from getting the book ready to be published, the question will always be ‘what’s next?’

What is the next story worth telling? Is it going to come in the form of a novel or will be in another form like a screenplay? Who knows.

I’m pretty comfortable with that kind of crossroads. The more interesting crossroads are the ones that have nothing with telling stories. Well, not directly.

I spent the last week hanging with my best friend as I juggled with pulling the elements of getting the book ready to be published and trying to figure out my next moves once the books become tangible objects. I’m still figuring out the next moves. 

In trying to sort out the future, I was given the opportunity to revisit a part of the past that had been the most memorable and cherished time of my life. I can tell you it had nothing to do with a man. All my exes were necessary mistakes. But memorable and cherished? Yeah, right. Don’t make me laugh.

This time period involved a relationship with a creature who stole my heart the moment I laid eyes on him. He grounded me. I learned a lot about myself with him. He was everything to me. Everything had its place when he was alive.

I revisited a place yesterday afternoon where a lot of memories were made with him. I got to see others make memories with their creatures. I was asked if I missed what had taken up 12 years of my life. My response was not really. But I have my moments where I still desperately miss him.

Things made sense when he was alive.

But I was at crossroads at that time. A change was about to happen and that change didn’t include him as part of the future. I knew our paths would diverge and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I had accepted it but it didn’t mean it didn’t hurt like a fucking son of a bitch.

Ten years later, it feels like I’m heading towards another crossroads. Instead, of feeling like I’m being pulled along, it feels like I’m responsible for some energy that seems to be to leading me to the crossroads that I can’t see in the horizon yet.

Sure, they might be dreams and desires for something I want to taste and touch. But dreaming about something, wanting something is half the battle, right? You’re halfway there. It’s the other half that’s tricky.

More contemplating. Great. I guess I’ll be in contemplation mode for awhile.