As I have warned friends, my blog posts are going to be ugly things for a long time. Not the highly polished, focused pieces that are the bread and butter of so many to make a living doing this blogging thing. I’m not even sure I’ve ever written a highly polished, focused blog post ever. Mostly because formulas chaff me.
Some will probably say the same of my story writing, to which I will say…meh. I write what I enjoy reading and what I do NOT find out there because everyone else writes what they are told is the “proper and good” form of such things. (Who knows? I may be the renegade who becomes an icon of storytelling because I stood out in a sea of similarity.)
Anyway. What is going to appear here will be essentially streams of thought. No stressing on topics. No stressing on grammar. No stressing on form. No stressing on pretty pictures or graphs or whatever. My craft is words. I save the cat in my own way. (And if you get that reference, you know what is wrong with entertainment media today.) Not that you can’t get good stories from a formula. Formulas exist because they work. But the thing with formulas is you have to be good at wielding them so the audience doesn’t even take notice of it. Eventually, they turn into potato chips. Sure, people can’t consume just one, but they will be starving for substance and the more they consume, the less satisfied they become.
My muse is dead. No sugar coating. No positive thinking denials. She was already having issues before my husband died, and she went with him when he left. She’s dead.
This is not to say this is a declaration of defeat or a claim that writing will never happen again. No. Why? Because the muse does not exist in the same reality that we do. (Honestly, we do not exist in the reality that we think we do, but that’s an entire other train track that this is stream of consciousness is not about.)
I do believe, even if there are times I don’t very strongly or don’t at all because I am an impatient bitch, that she will revive herself and I will create in my worlds again. I just need to find that thing that will bring her back.
So. What happened before my husband died? By the time that I had gotten to writing The Unforeseen One, I was struggling with my muse. Where I had been able to weave together an epic tapestry with multiple characters and individual threads, it was a fight to keep things together and moving. What I ended up with was a stuttering, clumsy story that, while still enjoyable, did not have the smooth flow. (Also, a hideous amount of errors because I was fool enough to think that I could edit while dealing with my husband’s death. They will be fixed with its move to my new publisher.)
See, my writing had been my escape. My creations, my explorations, my adventures and friendships and struggles and loves and hates. Things I experienced mirrored in my stories. Stories that I just reallyreally wanted to read in books or see in movies or on TV that just weren’t happening. They were where the magic I wished was in our world existed.
But reality had been crushing me. My husband’s health had been deteriorating after his car accident in 2006. My daughter’s MIL was a bitch and kicked her own son and grandson out of her house. My guess assuming that either her parents or grandparents would make sure they were okay. (They moved in with us. Crowded, but family takes care of family and I adore them and I see that bitch I’ll whack her with my cane.) My son ended up with his father’s and my debilitating inability to decide what he wants to do with his life, a keen antipathy towards humanity because of school bullies (somewhat from me,) and a lack of faith in the American education system that he could get a job to pay back crushing student debt. Mine was the only income and despite being well above the average, still wasn’t enough to get ahead because I just couldn’t catch up to when our income was well below the average.
On top of that, I pretty much did everything. I took care of most of the chores, I paid the bills, I did the shopping…hell, I did most of the driving. I was the only one employed and work stressed me out. Just the commute is two hours out of my day, and my day is ten hours long so I can get a three-day weekend. (My non-work weekday being dedicated to appointments for the doctor or other errands that weekends were not good for.) Don’t get me started on healthcare. You’ll be needing it yourself if you do.
The political environment was depressing, too. All the hate and divisiveness from both sides of the aisle and them too blind to see or too heartless to care about actually helping all Americans instead of only the well-heeled ones.
I have depression, and with all the stuff weighing me down, it just seemed hopeless. What was my writing worth anyway? It didn’t help pay bills; my books just don’t sell that much. I’m no J. K. Rowling or Stephen King. I have no budget to pay for someone to market me. It’s damned near vanity press levels of why I have books out there, at least in my mind. I might have broke even over the years of what I have spent to what I have earned with the earlier books, but not now.
And I am hopeless when it comes to social media. It isn’t that I don’t understand why people enjoy it, it’s that I don’t enjoy it. At all. I’m not a visual creator. I can’t create pretty pictures for the graphic driven sites like Pintrest or Instagram. I don’t do witty snippets of twitterings. And blogging. Well, just look at how long it’s been since I’ve posted. The aforementioned reasons are why I don’t post more because gods. Worrying that I’ll drive potential readers away because I can’t structure a proper blog post because it’s not the same writing I thrive doing? Yeah. I have hang ups.
And I’m not that flexible. I don’t like taking pictures because it’s just awkward and unnatural for me to do. I can’t think graphically because I can’t visualize at all. It’s called aphantasia. I don’t enjoy talking about myself because I’m boring. It’s my worlds that are interesting. Those characters. Real world me? I have watched eyes glaze over and fidgeting start when boredom begins to set in when I talk. (If you’ve read this far, I’m honestly shocked. Are you a masochist?)
Only a handful of people care at all, and the one I loved and planned to spend the rest of my life with, that I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with, left the scene too early. (Yes, I had 25 years with him. I hate that I am jealous at people like my parents who have been together for 50 or more. I wanted that and it was stolen from me.)
I can’t even bring myself to read because right now, I just don’t care. Nothing really lures me in to want to invest in stories because my own fairy tale got snuffed. But I want to write. Gods above and below, how I want to write. But I don’t know how to find the spark.