:dent:ty

identity

Have you ever been in the middle of telling a story, a really good story (at least you think it’s good) and then some real world thing happens, something important, some earth-shattering event that stops the whole world in its tracks and everyone drops everything and runs off?  And later on, when people say oh yeah, what was the rest of the story? you say you can’t remember and say you can’t tell it, that it don’t matter and why doesn’t someone tell a joke, mainly ‘cuz you can’t remember it and don’t remember what you were saying but also because trying to tell the story later on feels different somehow, like the moment that was, is now broke open, hollowed out, like no matter how big a finish you put on things, no matter how you try to pick up where you left off, it’ll never ring true, never be the same, not again?

I’m feeling a bit like that coming back to this blog.

The reasons why I left off writing in this space are many and varied and frankly I’ve learned (slowly–sorry I’m not always a quick study) that you, dear reader, aren’t really interested in hearing about my bellyaching and excuses.  I don’t blame you.  I’m pretty sick of hearing them myself.

The fact is I haven’t written fiction in months.  And you’ve heard this story too: “not because I didn’t want to.”  But at some point facts become facts and the fact of the matter is that one can no longer call themselves a fiction writer if one does not write fiction.  That’s the sad idea that I’ve been very slow to come around to, and I suppose it’s the reason why my behavior has been so erratic and nonsensical.

If I had understood the problem better, I probably would have had the presence of mind to put up a nice hiatus post, say I was taking a break and so on, and at least exit stage left gracefully.  But that would be too easy, right?  I had to do it the hard way.  Somehow, no matter how much sense it made,  I couldn’t bring myself to do that post.  It felt like quitting, you know?  But the evidence was right there in front of me, dog: what real fire of fiction in my belly could I still be tending if I wasn’t finding a way to get fiction on the page?

And another stumbling block was that I felt I created a sort of persona for myself here, someone who was knowledgeable and wise on what writing fiction was about, and yet I couldn’t come to grips with my own demons.  The more I tried to put on a face as a blogger, the more I felt like a fraud.

It feels really weird to say that out loud.

But, well, there it is.  I suppose the reason why I’m writing about it now is that I feel like I owe you–the one person who’s probably still reading this (Hi Mom! *waves*)–some sort of explanation, some sort of repayment for your loyalty.  I feel I’ve served you all poorly, as silly as that sounds, and it’s been a hard path finding my way back.

I feel like I can still contribute to the conversation, somehow, but I don’t know what form that will take.  I’m on new ground, and maybe that’s a good thing, but it’s going to take me some time to get my wits about me.  The last thing I want to do is build another house of cards.

And, well, at least there’s this note, from the other side of midnight.

I have no idea what my writing future holds, or if I have a writing future.  I don’t know if the last few days’ posts mean there are more on the horizon.  I wish I could tell you more, but I don’t know.  It’s pretty much one day at a time right now.   

Thanks.  Thanks for listening.  I suddenly feel the need to quote a Tennessee Williams line, but I’ll refrain.  What about you?  How’s life at your end of the universe?

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5 Comments

  1. Lisa said:

    Oh this is such good writing, writing from the heart, there is no other kind, fiction or real life. But hearts falter from time to time, and I have learned that, taking a break made mine weaker. To gain and build energy is to push forward. To jump start passion is to force fake love.

    November 11, 2012
    Reply
  2. Jon, sometimes we get too caught up in trying to labels what we are and what we do, and quite frankly, that often has very little to do with who we really are. So what! you’re not writing fiction right now. Writing fiction can be lots of fun and lots of work, but realistically, fiction is, well, fiction. It’s a bunch of made up stories that in the big scheme of things doesn’t REALLY make a hill of beans of difference in the long run. Real life–that stuff that happens, the stuff that we have little to no control of and affects our daily existence and our loved ones–takes precedence over writing fiction any day. And that is the case whether we have a work in progress, or a finished and waiting story, or a published work. Just because we aren’t currently writing doesn’t mean we need to find a different label for ourselves.

    In all honesty, we all feel like frauds at one time or another. Even with a published novel, when people ooh and ahh over that achievement, I can’t help but wonder if my overwhelming feeling of “Yeah, whatever” doesn’t show on my face. A “published author” is not who I am, any more than a “non-writing writer” (which is me right now), is who I am. I’m a woman grappling with changed circumstances, trying to fit into new roles that seem to be consuming me for the time being. But it’s important stuff—REAL life stuff.

    You’ve been through a lot of changes and all that is just fodder for future writing projects if and when you find yourself with circumstances and desire to get back into writing fiction. Meanwhile, try to keep up with the important stuff.

    All my best to you, Jon.
    Bridget

    November 12, 2012
    Reply
  3. C.S. Severe said:

    Hey Jon, I totally understand. It's okay that we sometimes fall short of where we want to be or what we want to accomplish. The important thing is that we realize that, rediscover our motivations, channel into our inspiration and imagination, and start over again. I'm doing the same thing right now. I spent a good six to eight months not writing or blogging. Somewhere in the past few weeks, I found my motivation, inspiration, and imagination, and I've been embracing them all to start fresh, more determined than ever to accomplish my goal. I wish you all the luck and know that you're not alone out there. :-)

    CSS

    November 22, 2012
    Reply
  4. Liza said:

    We all have our ups and downs. Maybe one of the hardest things about blogging is we have an "audience." That makes us feel "accountable." Then, when we don't blog, we feel we've failed. But life is not one dimensional. We are pulled in different directions and have to change our focus…that's just how it is. Sometimes it's just impossible to do it all. The fact that you seem to feel bad though, makes me suspect you will be back writing soon.

    A suggestion? If you need help making your way back, try working through The Artist's Way, by Julia Campbell. It takes effort. But it's amazing for clearing out the tangles and getting yourself focused. For some folks, it shows that the focus might better be suited some place they hadn't considered before.

    I'm glad to read you when ever you post, JP.

    December 7, 2012
    Reply
  5. farawayeyes said:

    Finding my way around in the dark also. Hell, look how long it took me to find this. I think, or at least I hope it happens to all of us sometime. The trick is to not let life get in the way of real life. I'm working on it.

    March 22, 2013
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