26 December 2009

personal reflection at solstice

With all the holiday preparations and celebrations going on, I have been a bit neglectful of my blog. Almost all of my writing energy has gone into the novel as of late. On one hand, it feels productive to have that body of work nearing completion. At the expense of everything else. Current submissions are down to almost nothing. Multiple small projects suspended in varying stages of draft. Two larger projects waiting in the wings for time and space. A drawer full of post-it notes with story lines, scenes and snippets of dialogue.

Don't get me wrong. I remain grateful for it all.

There was a time when I was not writing anything. Given up the dream. Lost all faith. For almost ten years, I wrote only business letters, marketing copy, or technical web instructions.

Ah, I lie. I did find a set of song lyrics that I wrote during that time - angry, hurt, and emotionally broken. My old friend Craig Shell once said that professional musicians often made their best money on lyrics like these. No money here. Mine never made it out of the yellow pad stashed in a box marked "Personal" along with legal papers from the divorce, old resumes, bus schedules, and random news clippings ranging from the Oklahoma City bombing, local crime stories, and the 1995 NBA playoff standings - probably more of a story there.

But I digress.

December 31, 2003. The end of a most trying year. My husband was working two states away and only able to come home every month or so. My children were in varying stages of crisis and teenage angst, flailing around to find their way in the world. One of my nephews was living with us as all of his parents were away. I was in the early stages of what turned out to be a deep cycle of depression. We lit a handful of fireworks that night to send out that old, bad, sad year. My nephew said, "If it doesn't get any worse, it will be a better year."

And then it was worse.

The strain and the pain of that next year pushed me to a point where I had to write again, if only for my own sanity. Which led me to meet Christy Krug. Who directed me to Stevan Allred and Joanna Rose. Who in turn connected me to many, many other very talented writers who continue to guide, support and inspire my ongoing writing practice.

For every anxious writing session, rejected draft, or sleepless hour in the middle of the night spent agonizing over some character detail, I equally celebrate the process. The act of writing has given voice to something deeper, powerful, intimate. Something previously lost. Call it faith or inspiration. Call it love or light. Whatever it is, it is restored to me, and in turn, has restored my being.

Over this next week, I am doing a final sweep to complete a first draft of the current novel for its first full review. 40 hours of work, at least. I am at the same time anxious and hopeful.

And grateful.


About the photo: the analemma is the path of the sun throughout the year. The shape can be tracked by taking one picture per day, always at the same time, with a fixed camera.

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