Saturday, July 15, 2006
An Anchored Boat (part 2)
We all need to believe in something. What it is may be besides-the-point, as long as there is that something that helps us stretch our figurative wings and soar into a path of a passion of some sort.
As a continuation of the "How long have you been a writer" question from two entries ago, I reiterate that I always have been. I believe there are certain things we are meant to do, that we all have some type of gift within that should be used to reach out to and help others. Now, I feel that even a gift has to be nourished and practiced in order to grow. Mozart had a gift. If he had sat around eating chips and salsa all day instead of using that gift and working at it, however, he wouldn't be in the history books and we wouldn't have all of that gorgeous music he left behind.
During my school years, I heard others complain about essays and other types of writing. I quietly enjoyed them. Senior year, I had an English teacher who made us keep daily journals. It didn't matter what they were about. We could show her that we wrote something and ask that she didn't actually read it, if we wanted to keep it private. There was much fussing about this assignment. I thought it was wonderful and couldn't believe I could get an A simply for writing my thoughts and brief poems into a little spiral notebook. I never asked her not to read what I wrote. To the contrary, I wrote for my little audience of one and glowed in her comments. Quite the ham, I suppose, but at that time, it was the only way I was. Otherwise, I kept my thoughts to myself and stayed at the sidelines. My writing let me continue growing in the midst of a figurative drought.
Trying to decide what path to take in my college years, writing was foremost on my mind, but my practical side told me majoring in English would be pointless, as I didn't plan to teach. What else do you do with an English degree? So, I made the more practical choice of commercial design, except it was a bit too practical and bored me so I couldn't even get through the first class. I continued poetry and journaling in my private time and hit upon a love for psychology accidently: it was a required class for my Liberal Arts (do you want fries with that?) degree. I joke about having a degree in Liberal Arts, but in reality, it was a wonderful stepping stone.
With another love to add to my list, I went into my four-year school heading for an Art major/psychology minor. Again, my practical side won out and I changed it to be opposite. What was I going to DO with an Art degree? (If I had found computer graphics by then, I wouldn't have changed gears, I think, but I hadn't even touched a computer at that point.)
Then I got married. I moved. I moved again. I had a beautiful baby girl. I travelled. I moved again. I had a beautiful baby boy. I travelled more. I moved again, and again. During this time, I worked as I could, other than the normal work of kids and house and packing and unpacking. What I didn't do was write. At all. Other than letters home. My ship started to sink.
And then I returned in my head to a story I had been working on since I was a young teen, a story of music and inspirations and changes and relationships and loves and loss and dance. It helped keep me sane through the years by developing this story, throwing in things I was learning along the way, things I wanted to talk about. As it turns out, I was writing, although it wasn't on paper. When the ship started going down within all of the constant floundering, I put the first few paragraphs of the story, one of the key scenes, onto a sheet of loose-leaf paper with a sharpened pencil (they have to be quite sharp or they annoy me). Then I kept going.
Before long, I had sheet after sheet, front and back of different scenes taken from my head and described as well as I could into print. And I kept going. My husband thought I had lost it, I think, as I didn't talk about my love of writing. Suddenly, it was the only thing I wanted to do.
I dealt with the beginnings of carpal tunnel when it hurt just to pick up the pencil, and I kept writing. The pain spread up to my elbow and into my shoulder and I finally had to give in and wear a brace on my right hand full-time until it calmed down. I didn't stop. I went to writing with my left hand, as I had to do during high school when my right finger was broken and in a cast. Turns out that I'm fairly ambidextrous.
Then I learned how to write with the brace on my hand and wrist and to stop and do other types of movement with it as it bothered me.
My husband said I should use the little computer we had instead. I balked at that, and then gave in. Turns out I could be much more productive that way, except that the big spiral notebook full of handwritten pages had to be typed into the word processor. It was my first edit, as I changed things as I typed. I loved this process almost as much as I loved writing the original.
For a while, he began to regret turning me on to the computer, as he had to share time with me and the debate began over game time versus writing time. Long story short: we now have our own computers. I still wear a wrist brace to type, as well as a keyboard that forms to my natural position better, and the first novel that began all of this 'madness' -- although I wrote and published one in between trying to perfect this one -- is sitting here beside my desk telling me it was all worth it.
So this is the story of Rehearsal, my obsession and my anchor. It is an amazing feeling to have it out there and my nerves are on edge waiting for the first reviews. Here it is: