I stopped writing about a year and a half ago. My muse, which had proved impenetrable by ANY force other than my creative heart, had, over the past five years taken such a brutal assault from serious family issues, it finally passed away. The death was slow. I'd felt it coming, and had religiously sat myself down in front of my computer and FORCED myself to create even though each day less and less of my heart was in the process. The experience was devastating, heartbreaking, disappointing. The massive loss of "writing" in my life was as painful to imagine as was the family challenges I was dealing with. Both realities I could not ignore or escape.
I took a year to ponder the death of my writing. The idea was horrible. Unsettling. No matter how awful I felt, I couldn't resurrect my muse, buried so deep inside of me I often wondered if it had ever existed in the first place.
Friends kept saying, "Oh, you'll get your groove back." "Give it a rest.""You've been through so much, no wonder!" "You can't stop!"
But I knew I was done. Like a mother knows when she's had her last child, she's done. Like a woman knows when a relationship is over.
I've been amazed that, even with knowing I was done writing, how hard it's been to accept that. "Yes, but are you REALLY done?" a little voice would repeat whenever I browsed for books on Amazon, or meandered into the local B&N. Every day when I check in on Facebook and wish all of my FB friends happy birthday or check the news feed, "Yes, but are you REALLY done?"
I thought I was. But then I discovered an even more looming problem: I couldn't replace the creative outlet writing had been for me / for my life. I tried a variety of other creative endeavors but nothing stuck, nothing felt right.
Yesterday I opened my last WIP that had been sitting untouched on my laptop for over a year. I started reading it. Fixing it. Playing with it.
It felt good.
I don't know what will come of that one moment. Life is still messy at our house. My muse still feels heavily drugged by responsibility.
I'm here, though. On this blog - and I'm WRITING. Not sharing a contest or giveaway - WRITING. Perhaps that's the beginning of resuscitation. I don't know.
So I often pick up whatever Oprah has on her book list because I usually LIKE what she suggests. Ruby by Cynthia Bond started out with a writer's dream page: beautiful, lush writing unfolding the start of what seems a promising story.
But as I continued reading, the scenes literally DRAGGED on through too many unnecessary details that became tedious rather than lending themselves to the moment ( moments that stretched into what seemed like hours describing how a recipe was made, a chair was sat upon, light coming in a window.) Enough already. I've read enough overwritten books to know one when I start wading through one. I don't have the patience or time.
I appreciate and can enjoy ( as I thought I would with Ruby ) well written prose. But this was beyond flowery. This was a patch so dense you couldn't catch any one scent and enjoy it - so overpowered by perfume, if you get my 'drift'.
I read 3 chapters of Ruby and put it aside.
My opinion, of course, and every reader is entitled to their own. ( Alas: Read and let read )
It's hard to find a good read these days. Even with Oprah as a 'filter'.
I write YA books. Whatever my heart desires, I write. I don't have someone over my shoulder, in some office somewhere telling me what I can and cannot write. Or should and shouldn't write. I listen to my heart, the center of my muse, and trust my instincts.