More musings on writing from the month of August.
There is nothing more powerful than a story. Certain stories stay with you long after you turn the final page or the credits have rolled. A child learns the easiest through listening to tales as they are spun. Jesus taught in parables. Our own histories become stories in our minds as we soften or sharpen the pains and joys of the past. There are often truths that are much easier to view through fiction than they are through the harshness of reality. Stories shape us, squeezing our hearts or making us laugh or grabbing us hard around the throat. They show us both who we are and who we want to be. The best stories give us the courage to try. We all have a story to tell, each completely unique. Never underestimate the importance of your own.
My heart is saddened for the girl I used to be. Today I read a story (Broken Castle) I wrote eighteen months ago when I was going through a chemically-induced menopause that caused a deep depression. I couldn’t even read, which had always been my solace from pain. My mind had truly felt like it was breaking. So I wrote about it. I wrote of a woman trapped inside her mind, shattering herself as she tried to break free. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever read. I can’t believe that something that dark came from my mind. The setting and names were fictional, but it was my deepest fear that what I wrote would happen to me. I wrote in hopes that I could purge the fear. It was one of the last things I wrote for over a year. It hurt me to read it today, but I’m so glad I found it. And I’m so glad I wrote it. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have such tangible proof of how far I’ve come. There were battles that I thought I was losing while I was in their midst, but now I can see just how victorious I’ve been. God has brought me so far. The work put in to healing me definitely shows. So even though the story is heartbreaking, I’ll keep it as a reminder to myself of where I used to be.
My mind is wiped clean. I can form no original thought. I feel as though my mind has been rebooted without my permission, restored to factory settings. How can I create when I have no blueprint in mind? I can’t stand stream-of-consciousness, and I pray to God that’s not what this is. I scan again for signs of life, but my brain is non-responsive. How do authors write day after day, year after year, without ever running out of things to say and stories to tell? I’m sure that my tales are still somewhere in here, but all of my characters have gone to sleep. So I guess I will, too. Goodnight, brain. Hope you’re more helpful tomorrow.
What am I supposed to do when my mind’s too excited to think? I try to tame my thoughts into submission, but it bounces around in a game of anticipation pinball. I get to see my husband in less than 24 hours! It’s been far too long since our lips got to meet in their favorite hello. Did I pack everything? Did I set my alarm? Did I deliver keys and plants and take out trash so everything will smell right when I return? Check check and check. Nothing left to do but fly. Now, if only I can will myself to sleep so that 4 am comes sooner. Hopefully tomorrow I find time to write in the midst of airport chaos and jumping into the arms of my best friend. I hate that I produced nothing of worth today, but obviously my mind isn’t upset enough to help me out. But at least a few words wound up on a page. So I’ll shut the laptop down, pack it up, and hope that I can shut down soon, too.
Frantic scratchings of scattered thoughts. Time is limited and I feel the pressure. But if not now, when today will I press my fingers into keys to let my musings breathe? I’m flying to see my love, neglected for too long. Our minds are heavy with the unknown. The ability to focus has left me completely. I want to add to my fiction, but my own life presses too strongly for me to hear the cries of my characters. But while I have a few minutes, I’ll see how their lives are playing out, and help them take shape if I can. Better than worrying over things out of my sight and beyond my control.