Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Going Dark

This was recently the title of another post written by a lovely young woman who was/is having trouble with her writing life. She feels it has taken over her other life and she can't seem to figure out where whe wants to be. She, I think, decided she was going to give up the writing for awhile. She explained how it, the writing, was consuming her and that she felt she didn't have anything left for her family.

Been there, done that. I am much older than people would think and I've lived a lot of life. Some good, some not so good. I've made choices that I don't necessarily regret, but somehow, I wish I never made. I wanted my life to be different than it is right now. It wasn't supposed to be this way.

Gloria Steinam taught women of a certain age they could have it all. But at what price? My mother went to work full time when my youngest brother was in school full-time. That left me as the oldest girl to care for them when they (my other siblings) got out of school. Start dinner, finish the laundry, check homework, and to make sure there was no blood or head wounds. I missed my mother's presence and resented her at the same time for not allowing me the freedom I needed/wanted as a teenager. My mother has always maintained she worked to support us and give us the extra's that my dad didn't. (They were married, still are, but should have been divorced 10 years in.) It was the choice SHE made but it also forced me to make choices I wouldn't have otherwise.

I believed everything Gloria Steinam said. I am a self-actualized woman of extreme independance who is raising a child on her own. Good for me. But at what price?
I am a writer. I am not wealthy. Does the lack of finances affect my daughter in any way? Not really. The only thing we haven't done is go to the zoo.
Does the choice I made to let go of her father affect her in any way? Sometimes, although, HE would have to be a whole other blog. Is the choice I made to stay home with her full-time and write the best possible choice for me right now. Yes, I believe it is.

When I first moved to the Piedmont, I was broken, literally, physically, and stayed in bed for almost a year. I had no choice. I put up with a bunch of crap because I had no choice. But then you know what, I read something. I can't remember what it was, but it was like a beacon, a lighthouse, beckoning me away from the darkness, away from the rocks. I got out of bed. I stopped taking the crap. I got rid of all the stress and the shit and the complications. I felt so much better.

That's when I made the decision to write a book. It was last October. My first anniversary moving to the Piedmont. I finished that book in July. In August I started querying. By the end of September I was doing a major revision ripping out chapters, adding, subtracting scenes, rearranging dialogue, going crazy. I sent out only about 10 queries and of course they all came back as rejections.

For Nanowrimo I started something I know I'll have to finish. It's too good not to.
Maybe that will be my gateway to fame and fortune. Maybe it'll be another manuscript that sits in my folder after a round of queries. Maybe I'll have missed the market push again. There is not one vampire in it so who knows.

But these are the choices I'm making. I even gave up the offer of a part-time job so I could write full-time. Which is kind of backfiring on me now. But still, it's a choice. It's my choice and one I made with my daughter in mind.

Life is all about choices, some good, some bad, some we're not sure of. Who knows where this writing life will take me. I've been hoping for a miracle that I'll be found and published but it's just plain hard work to write the best possible book you can. It takes a lot out of you, and your family, and your other life.

But as much as I love this life I have right now, which I do, I'm free kind of like Hemingway...kind of...I would trade it all in for a decent job and a decent man, and a nicer house in a better neighborhood. If I had the life the lovely young woman describes and I had to choose between my writing life and my real life, I would choose my real life. Hands down. I know that my daughter will suffer in the long run, even though I'm home all the time. I'm turning into my mother for something I'm not even sure will come to fruition.

But that's my choice, isn't it.

1 comment:

Lady Glamis said...

Wow, thank you for writing this. Now I know why you started writing! It certainly is a choice we make, and I'm not giving up on my dream or on writing. I just need to take a step back. I wish us both luck on this writing journey. It certainly requires sacrifices, even if they're small ones.