(or: the time it took to wrap my head around the decade this year has been)
I’ve been quiet, but it’s not because I have nothing to say. Quite the opposite.
I’ve been told I was a quiet child – whether or not that’s entirely true I can’t really say, whether or not that statement alone formed a part of my identity, I’d whisper a soft ‘maybe.’ Maybe it’s the writer in me, or the pondering introvert, but I prefer to work through things internally before externalizing them, so I tend to disappear when overwhelmed, and… well.
2020 has been the year of Things.
Every day, something new. Every day, a weight sinks from my heart down through my feet, or a knot clogs my throat, or a worrying numbness fills my entire abdomen. Every day my heart cracks more readily and wider with every new story, and every day even mundane things get to be Too Much.
But the stories aren’t just that. They’re people’s lives. And it’s easy to separate the people living these stories, if we let it.
The point is, I’ve been quiet. I’ve been reading, I’ve been watching, I’ve been thinking, and pondering. I’ve been feeling, I’ve been enraged, and incensed. I’ve been drained. And I’m not living those stories.
Black Lives Matter.
In an ideal world, it shouldn’t have to be said. But our current reality doesn’t reflect that. We have a lot of work to do.
The second half of this post is my original (super edited, this is version 25??) writing oriented draft. I thought it important to separate the tones and ideas, even though everything overlaps in a messy whirl of overthinking in my mind.
Read on to glimpse a fraction of my soul searching process.
The title was meant for my Happy (Lunar) New Year post, which became my blogiversary post in March, which transformed yet again to its late May form, which is now evolved into its final form: September. (How. How is it September already!?) I couldn’t have dreamed my straightforward title would be quite so literal. Hindsight, right? (Too soon, I know.)
I’ve learned a lot of things these past two years. One of which is that time is a treacherous thing, it’s so smooth and comfortable you don’t notice yourself sliding until you end up in bed at 3am wondering how you got there. Confinement seems to have warped it to extremes, where days disappear faster than my appetite while my to-do list gathers literal and mental dust. (What even are things?)
I first drafted about goals/resolutions for 2020, and I gotta admit, the sense of vagueness gives a prescient vibe, doesn’t it?
Whether you make resolutions and manage to keep them, whether you’ve tried and failed more times than you’d care to admit (ahem, hello, hi 👋), or whether you keep going down your never ending to-do list, why not make this year be different?
Because it could be.
Too bad it hasn’t been the ‘could be’ I thought it would. I’d say that’s true for most of us, but don’t quote me on that.
such grand plans for 2020, but as the meme goes…
My plans vs 2020
(Narrator: Everything was not fine.)
I know we interpret the world based on ever changing circumstances, but this is a tad too close to a short story, which I’m adapting to a screenplay For Reasons (also known as, Why Not?). Aside from it being a thrilling new endeavor with everything to learn, it’s a win-win because it’s forcing me to put the story under a microscope, find strengths and weaknesses, and to fill the gaps for a stronger draft. And I end with a brand new draft??
Yes, I’m excited. I don’t know about you but creativity has been really touch and go. I did finish my longest draft to date (yay fanfiction!), but I’ve gone months without writing new things or even creating new things. It’s been a weird year. Decade.
Then in July I wrote two new short stories – editing is still needed, and in progress for one – jotted a few new exciting ideas for possible future projects, and envisioned a collection of my short stories (with a title and everything). I know that’s vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué, (putting the cart before the horse), but I tend to do that a lot. 🤷♀️ I’m just happy to be excited about writing and creating again. It’s like drinking water after climbing up the hill on the hottest day of the year and relishing that familiar yet brand new taste that is hydrating. (Note to self: drink at least two more cups of water today.)
I’m behind on where I thought I would be with my drafts, but I’m more bothered and preoccupied by the resurfacing doubt. You know, the doubt that has me questioning why I write in the first place.
My doubt says crap like:
- Who am I to write stories?
- What can I possibly offer?
- Why am I the best person to tell these stories?
- How can I contribute when it feels like I’m taking someone else’s place?
I don’t have answers to those. Yet. But my newest short stories enthrall me by the sheer possibilities they contain. Will readers see the same things in them as I did while writing them? Will they find them enriching? Overly abstract? Perhaps puzzling enough to illuminate their own light?
Are those questions good enough to keep writing? I hope so. I don’t think I’d stop writing, even if I never shared my stories.
And maybe that’s an answer to a question I never even considered.
Would you ever stop writing?
If the answer is no, you, my friend, are a writer.
(Addendum: even if it’s a temporary yes, you’re a writer. Life and circumstances can make you feel otherwise but don’t let them lie to you. If you write, you’re a writer, no matter how frequently or how much you write. Take it from a slow writer, mkay? 😊)
Welcome to the party, make yourself at home.