Writing is a very emotional experience. This is not an original thought. In fact, it is essentially a cliche. Good writing is made better when driven by emotion, but what happens when the emotion becomes more of a hindrance than a help? Maybe the emotion is overwhelming and no writing can be accomplished or perhaps the current project does not lend itself to the excess of a particular emotion. That is where I have felt myself being stuck lately and maybe writing this will help me. In the past I have written about my writing style and for the most part book related topics in these blog entries. In doing so, I have let some of myself come through, but I have held back a lot of "personal" in favor of showing the "professional" aspects of who I am, until now.
I was very close with my parents. I owe my love of books, in large part, to them. Not only was my mother my second grade teacher, but honestly, she simply loved books and was always happy to see me reading. My dad also worked in education, so growing up there was never a shortage of books around the house. My sister and I simply had to ask for books and our parents would smile and take us to the library or book store. For this foundation I am forever thankful.
My father passed away about 6 years ago before I ever decided to take up writing. When he died I was still working on additional degrees in political science and history. To this day I wish I had found writing earlier so that I could have talked to him about story ideas and discuss something that I had written. When I told my mother I wanted to be a writer she was a bit unsure at first. As I talked to her about ideas she became excited for the stories that I wanted to tell and gladly worked with me throughout the process. I will never forget her face when she saw The Gospel of Adam in print the first time. There are no words to express how much her support meant to me.
When my mom died eight months ago everything changed. The practical aspects of dealing with car, house, and billing issues were annoying, but the sterile cold nature reality of those issues gave a structure and plotted path to dealing with them. It has been the other parts of life that have been more difficult. Adjusting to living in her house has not been easy and is a constant reminder that she is no longer here, but more than anything I miss the conversations I used to have with her. In the years after my dad passed away I spoke to my mom at least once a day. These conversations ranged from politics and current events to sports and of course my writing. She spent countless hours working with me on editing drafts and talking through different aspects of the story. She was a huge part of the process creating The Gospel of Adam. Now, as I have been trying to move on to write my second project I am missing her even more. After she died I didn't try to dive back into working on a full book right away. I gave myself time, or so I thought. I recently did an interview talking about The Gospel of Adam and it brought back so much emotion that I found myself completely blocked when I sat down to write. Then, just as I was rethinking the ending of my new project, it became obvious that my mom's cat, Twilight, was not doing well. I know that to some, she was just a cat, but to me she was a part of mom as well and the loss is once again at the forefront of my mind.
In many ways I am doing well and adjusting to my biggest supporter being gone, but it has clearly held me back from writing on this new project. I have gotten some writing done and I have fine tuned the story many times, but at times there is still just too much raw emotion to write. I wish that I was done with this book already-as I had hoped, but I am not and that also makes me feel guilty. Emotion has driven me to get the work done that I do have, but it has also blocked me at other points. Maybe if I had more experience writing books I would have been able to work more despite the emotion. On the other hand, I would rather be human and acknowledge that this has been a very difficult time to write. Am I getting better? Yes, I believe I am. As I said, I have gotten some written again. Even as I write this blog I am also staring at the legal pad with my outline and thinking about which section to attack next. Balancing emotion when writing is something that I had no practice with and didn't expect to have to learn in such a way so early on in my writing career.
Real life happens, and it has taken a while, but I am looking forward to making fictional life happen again through my writing.