Author, Fiction, Musings, My Books, Novel, Publish, Reader, Reflections, Writing

Sometimes, it feels like drowning

Photo by Toni Frissell, 1947. Public domain.

I love losing myself in writing, entering that otherworld, absorbed in transforming the thoughts, feelings, sights of my mind into words. Beautiful words. That dimension seems like a watery place to me. Yet, air-breather though I am, it feels natural to be in that muted place, suspended between the real and the imagined.

It’s been awhile since I experienced that. I still write. Nearly everyday. But I’m just not that into it. Too much of my mind is snagged on the last novel I wrote. The one I’m querying at, possibly, the worst time in the history of print publication. I can’t let go of that dream, though it’s a heavy weight, and my oxygen supply is dwindling. Hoping is beginning to feel like drowning.

Why did I write that novel? That question always floats to the top. Really. Honestly. Truly. Why?

My primary reason was never to make money, which is good considering today’s publishing economy. Yet, I never planned to give it away. I didn’t write it just to see if I could because I’d already done that with another novel. Did I want to publish this one for the prestige? For the right to call myself an author? No, not that either. Though, like not considering it bourgeoisie to earn money from my writing, I wouldn’t be offended to be touted as a novelist.

But imagined money and fame aside, I do seek acclaim of a sort. I want someone—no, I’ll be honest—I want as many someones as possible to read that novel and feel it was worth their time. I want to hear them say Well done. You gave me a gift. You taught me something. You enriched my life for a moment … today … forever.

I want it to matter to someone else that I lived for a while in that otherworld crafting the best story I knew how.

But now, I’m tired of floating at the bottom. I need to consider the options for rising back to the top. There are dangers in these waters I didn’t see before plunging in. These depths are murkier than I first thought. I’m seeking the clarity.

 
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Life, Musings, Reflections, Time, Writing

Fitting the Pieces Together

After my father’s sudden death four years ago, my mother spent nearly every waking moment working jigsaw puzzles. For more than a year, she sat sorting, moving, fitting piece after piece to create the final picture. Hour upon hour. Like a Buddhist monk creating a sand mandala. As soon as she fit the last piece in one puzzle, she tore it apart and reached for another.

Her life was in chaos. She created order out of a thousand one-inch pieces because she could not, was not ready to create a new order in her life. As her hands worked, her mind let go. As much as possible, she ignored the present, even listening to WWII music, the music of her youth, the music she danced and sang to before my father entered her life.

Gradually, her puzzle obsession waned. My father was gone. She was not. Life would go on.

The death of a loved one is surely the most severe disruption of our lives, but no matter what has knocked us off kilter it takes time and patience to get back on track. We have to sort out what went wrong and then, piece by piece, form a new picture.

Time and patience. I need them both.

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Update: After a couple comments, I see this post has caused some unintended concern. I am all right.