Sunday, July 5, 2015
I left writing for a time twice, the first leaving showed me that it could be done, while the second nearly severed our love affair for good. Word love flooded into my hormonal world at 16 in a creative writing class. I wrote stories until there were enough to freely give to classmates struggling with sentence structure. It didn't occur to me to charge them, since having someone read the pages felt more sublime than being paid.
At 18 I set forth to seek my fortune with little more than a dream of writing plays. The quest quickly failed, sending me back to my complicated childhood home until I had more money and a car. This time I morphed into grown up life, shoving my round wordy peg into the square notch of the restaurant business. There was no time to write or dream, my curves began to corner until they neatly fit in. Decades passed, the arrival of my marriage to a good man, a pair of incredibly opposite twins and a new career in massage therapy. There was an absence of writing until a day when there were no words, no adjectives or nouns or verbs to describe the anguish of losing my best friend.
This great companion was a beautiful mutt named Bonni Blue. She, unable to speak out loud, managed to remind me that words are a spiritual river without sound. The motion of expression is alphabet-less, dancing from one to another. Bonni's love for me rode a circle from her to me and back again without complete sentences. I found this to be true weeks after her death when the silence of loss was deafening. In an effort to be reunited with our relationship I began the process of thinking about writing, which every writer knows is the necessary precursor to actually writing. My brain fondled words as though I tasted expensive champagne, allowing ideas to bubble up through synapses until some measure of Bonni eased out from under the grief. I continued to think about writing until a title exploded into existence while I sweat none to delicately in the sauna.
20 Gurus and a Dog
I wept alongside my overflowing pores until finally I was ready to write. For eight years I did just that. I wrote, edited, added in, took out, deleted, rewrote, revised, burned, fell in love and fell out of love with writing, until finally I declared the opus complete. Which brings me to why I left writing for the second time. Agents and an editor did not appreciate my scribbled efforts, they in fact were full of thoughtless words, the kind that stab a knife through the heart of a book about love and healing. So I stopped. I thought about writing but not in an effort to write again. I thought about how to go back to the time of no words. The time when letters were merely for lists or instructions not for sounds expressing the motions of my spirit. After a few months I checked to see if my reverse direction had taken and found that not only could I stop thinking of words, I was unable to write at all. Sitting in front of my laptop brought on a tidal wave of anxiety that lasted for hours. My efforts had been successful.
This would be the end of the story if I were into sad endings and it wouldn't have been written down (quite obviously), I'd instead have shared the experience with friends over a Panera lunch. In earlier blogs I've offered my belief about how directed intentions can use the leftover fuel from the Big Bang. On the day I gave up writing, my desire must have harnessed a jet pack version because not only did I have anxiety near letters, it encapsulated every breathing moment in a day. I gasped waking up, while working as well as working out, with my feet up in front of the television, after several glasses of wine and standing in our wooded backyard with the wind gently caressing my hair which was rapidly falling out. My skin looked sallow, I slept for no more than an hour at a time, in other words I was up to my eyeballs in adrenaline. Instead of getting a drug to cover up this anxiety, I went back to basics, my basics. 20 Gurus and a Dog was about healing from my complicated and abusive childhood in a non-traditional manner. This crushing anxiety needed the same quirky approach but with a new component. I went into the deep end of my memory cesspool, with a therapist specializing in EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing). Basically I decided to discover the whys around the words and reroute those synapses into peaceful coexistence. What I found has changed everything.
Somewhere in the coagulated spaghetti between my ears lay an aspect at the center of why I stopped writing.
I believed that if I was strong for myself someone else would lose.
The motivation to write 20 Gurus and a Dog had been for my own healing. As the chapters unfolded a broader idea arrived to help other people going through loss or healing from trauma. This was the useful purpose that went beyond my own recovery. After agents and an editor left me with little hope of publishing, writing no longer seemed to have a reason for existence. The book had already healed me, thus it became no longer worthy of my time. If the business world of words found little use for my pages, than why should I?
After several weeks of leaping into the murky memory pond I have retrieved what is actually true.
If I'm strong everybody wins.
This is the first time I've sat down to the computer in months without a jitter bug dancing in my chest.
What I learned is that words are the translated current coming from spirit, a simple offering in an effort to help heal humanity. Healing isn't about arriving at a less painful piece of earth on which to stand. It is about the plethora of discoveries along the way that set us free to experience the miraculous view from any place on Earth.