Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 • 5 Comments on Learning to Read the Signs
The universe is conspiring against me… or… the universe is trying to tell me something. Pick one. I can’t.
I have had a series of events recently that feel like physical blows. Some of it, like the back pain, has been physical. I hate back pain. I simply cannot deal with it. And I’ll tell you a secret—it’s not because of the pain, which hurts like a sonofabitch, but I have a high pain threshold and can handle it. No, I hate back pain because it makes me feel utterly, miserably helpless and I do not and cannot handle feeling helpless. I have nightmares about it. I cannot be helpless. It is not allowed.
Other things, they leave no physical marks but they wrench and hurt and make me feel helpless just the same. Just when I think I know who I am and it is all falling into place, I wake up and think I don’t know half of what or who I think I know. Blah. So I observe the signs and try to interpret them. Then I read brilliant, insightful writing by Alana and Jess, and I think they’re talking to me and that’s a sign, too… Madness, I tell you. It’s all madness. Or perhaps I’m the one who is mad?
I have not been writing. I have been blogging and I have been e-mailing and I have even been working on my script for screenwriting class, but the regular writing languishes. I read about Shanna‘s novel-writing progress and Jeremy‘s latest appearance and Sommer‘s newest release and Alison and Rachel‘s reports from both the editing and writing trenches, and I’m happy and proud to know these fabulous people, but I also feel horribly guilty because I’m not doing enough of my own writing.
I have been given a bounty of signs with regard to my writing lately. Happy signs, positive and reinforcing signs that I need to redirect my mental and physical anguish into my writing. Pour it out, open a vein. In the span of one week:
—I received a request to reprint a story in an anthology that I did not know about and probably wouldn’t have submitted to even if I had, just because I have been so damned lazy (sick, in pain, whatever) lately.
—Found out a story of mine was nominated and then short-listed for an award (I will post the official news and link once they make it public).
—Received some lovely, amazing notes about my writing:
I’m very pleased when I fine your stories in other collections… You have a wonderful talent!
and, this from a long e-mail explaining how my story Skin Deep brought back a bittersweet experience:
Thanks for a great read and for reviving a wonderful memory.
These little notes, telling me that something I wrote meant something to someone, they are signs. Signs I need to heed and remember when all the rest is swirling out of my control. This, this one thing, I can control. I can write about experiences and feelings that everyone has, whether they admit to them or not. I can write and put those stories out there and that does not make me feel helpless at all.
This, I can do.