March 21, 2013

At Least I'm Never Lonely

I AM IN LOVE!!!

Yes, it's the capital-letter kind of love, serious and enduring. The kind of love that flutters in my tummy and makes me want to shout out to all who are passing by, "I'm in love and I want you to know it! I don't care if your life is boring or sad or depressing. I don't care if MY life is boring or sad or depressing. The concerns of this world no longer matter to me because for this one, glorious moment in time, I am head over heels, crazy with infatuation, besotted beyond belief, IN. LOVE!"

No need to ask his name, everyone knows that I am happily married to MC and love him more than deep-fried foods and carb-laden desserts. There is no cheating, no illicit affair I must confess to. In fact, there is nothing even remotely scandalous to tell, much to the disappointment of many of you, I fear. I am speaking of something else entirely, something I have shared before but have since put aside and let sit, gathering dust and assuring myself that the break was necessary, beneficial even. I may have put this out of sight but never out of mind. Always I have heard my name being called, the begging and pleading for me to return to that passion that once burned bright.

My passion for writing.

Cue groaning. Cue shoulders sagging with unrequited dreams of salacious gossip. Cue eye rolling and muttered refrains reinforcing the fact that I am, after all, a geeky word nerd. But I can't help it! It's in my genetic code. I grew up watching my mom tear through book after book and I inherited that same love of books, of fiction, of a really great story, of escapism. Yes, I will admit that most of my reading is a form of escape. Please don't get me wrong. I have a great life. I have an adoring husband, 3 lovely kids and I was just hired as a writer. (A writer! That's the first time I've ever referred to myself that way.) I am going to be paid to write. Do you know how ridiculous that is to me? I mean, do they know that I actually enjoy it? I know it's only internet ads but it is Writing. For. Money. Can it get any better than that? Actually, in my selfish and vain heart of hearts I will admit that yes, it can.

Instead of writing ads, I could be writing my own words. Not words meant to entice you to buy that half off deal on teeth whitening or samba lessons, but words that wisk you away into another life, another reality. Words that pull you in deep, so deep that you are lost to the story, helpless to do anything but turn the page to see what happens next. I have no illusions of writing The Great American Novel. Seriously, who can handle that kind of pressure? But I do have illusions of writing MY great novel. I dream of walking into Barnes & Noble and seeing my book on the shelf. Or better yet, on the shelf of WalMart or my local grocer. I realize that sounds like a step down in aspirations but let me explain. See, the big bookstores have lots of space to carry many books by many authors. WalMart and grocery stores have limited space, limited books. This means that they will only stock the books that are the most popular, the biggest selling, the most wanted. Having a book I wrote show up in WalMart, the home of low prices and even lower pants? I'm okay with that.

What matters to me is writing a story that connects with someone, with giving life to the characters that roam around in my head and hoping they find readers that understand them. You see, if the TV is off and the radio is silent (and sometimes even when they are not), I am plotting. At the risk of sounding a little mentally unbalanced and perhaps even schizophrenic, I have to admit that I don't do the plotting, my characters do. It started out as just one girl. One young lady named Sydney who took up residence in my head. She, of course, had to bring along Nate, who brought along his whole family. And then someone else moved in--Poppy. Poppy brought along her best friend and they had a life-changing adventure that introduced an entire town of interesting, fully-developed characters. When all these people (some of whom exist only in the pantheons of mythology) became too much for me, with their twisting, entwining stories that will go on for days and weeks and leave me breathlessly wondering what adventures I will be writing down next, I escaped--again. I had to shout over all their voices and tell them to please be quiet for a moment because I heard a new voice among the mix--someone with no supernatural abilities, no connection to things mythical or fabled. She was just a single mom doing the best she could to raise her disabled child and her resentful teenage daughter while her life fell apart around her.

As hard as I try, not one of these voices can stay quiet for long. If you ever see me washing dishes, folding laundry, basking in the sun (ha!) or simply staring off into space, you can be assured that I am in deep conversation...in my head.

I am well aware of how mentally disturbed this all makes me sound. At least, to someone who isn't a writer, someone who isn't a plotter, someone who isn't a let's-sit-back-and-see-where-the-voices-take-me kind of person. And the escapism I mentioned? I don't read to get away from my life. I read because it IS my life. I can go on grand adventures without the expense and hassle. I can get into the mind of someone who lived centuries ago without a dry history lesson. I can quietly slip into the skin of someone who lives a life completely contrary to mine and then slip back out again at any time. I can experience the other side of the fence and then I can sit back and admit, "You know, the grass really isn't greener over there."

Do I think I have anything anyone would actually want to hear? I'm not sure. The great thing about a blog and Facebook is that I have an audience, I have my very own stage. I can write and post and blog and say all the things that are really on my mind and then I can sit back and pat myself on the back while I convince myself that I am as funny as I think and that maybe, just maybe, something I said connected with someone. I have the luxury of my imagination as opposed to hearing the echo of lonely crickets.

My blog will never be a web hit--I'm too long winded and moody for that--but I love the outlet it gives me. Someday I may get the courage and discipline to see one of my constant companions become fully fleshed on paper, but until then, this will have to do.

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