NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST by SHEILA HOLLINGWOOD
Authors come in two varieties.
There are those who say “I can’t NOT write.” They have an inner drive (perhaps inner demons?) pushing, compelling them to write.
The second group, including me, say, “I can write or I can choose not to write.” It’s similar to this— I can sing; everyone can sing who has a voice. It’s the listening that’s the problem. Many do not want to listen to those who sing off key.
And so, I ask myself, is that true of my writing voice? Am I off key? I am not compelled to write, so I have a choice. Perhaps the effort is not worth it. Writing is difficult, one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.
The world is full of things that command my attention—my 93-year-old mother who is in the nursing home; my three precious grandchildren who are growing up in a twinkling of an eye; the mountain of laundry that grows even faster than the grandkids; friends or family who are sick or need my assistance—and the list can go on and on.
When I do choose to write, I immerse myself in the process, living and crying and laughing with my characters. Interruptions are like yanking me up from a scuba diving expedition, leaving me weak and confused.
And so the question is: Should I immerse myself into the writing process?
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before,” Neil Gaiman has said.
And I agree and so I have written. And yet, more often, I haven’t written.
People need me and I don’t write. I need a quiet mind and I don’t write. I need to see one more TV show and I don’t write. I need to fold the clothes and I don’t write.
The words swirl in my head, but never do I put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard…at least for the last year.
And the keyboard, the putting down of words, becomes a frightening thing, something to escape, not something to embrace.
Writing leads me farther away from family and friends, those who need me and depend on me. For even when I’m with them, if I’m writing, I’m immersed in my world. Immersed as if I was a scuba diver. And family and friends view me, as we view the animals at SeaWorld, with an invisible wall between us.
And my laundry gets mildewed. And my mind gets stressed.
Life is short; life is fleeting. Everyone knows except the very young. And do I want my life to be spent in solitude, scribbling or pounding keys? Is my gift of writing of more importance than the ties to family, friends, and Solitaire? We each have 24 hours in a day. And some are disciplined enough to devote three or four hours to the writing of words, while those of us who are undisciplined know not when to stop. And our imaginary world pulls us deeper and deeper, until the faces pressed against the glass are dim, ghostly, shadowy figures. And do these shadows think the gift is worth the distance? And does even the scuba diver begin to feel the isolation and notice he has drifted far out to sea, farther than he meant to go?
And yet if he stays too close to the glass, he cannot explore the riches of the sea. Too close and the bright faces pressed against the glass will keep him tethered there, instead of searching after that elusive idea.
Life is short; life is hard; life is meant to be lived. Lived immersed beneath the sea? Or lived among those who walk upon the land?
Is the treasure flung deep beneath the waves worth pursuing? Or is it as Solomon said, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”
Ah…but later Solomon said, “the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.”
And so the question now—Are the words to be written words of truth? The fictional stories? They are. Someone once said fiction is truer than fact.
And the truth shall make us free, will it not? Shouldn’t truth be pursued?
Perhaps it is time to don the scuba gear, to rid my life of all distractions and all nuisances. No, that doesn’t include family and friends. I will surface occasionally to connect or reconnect. However, I can’t promise my laundry won’t become mildewed.
Sheila Hollinghead is the author of a four-book series, the Cedar’s Shadow Saga, based very loosely on her mother’s life. She has also written a thriller suspense, Moonbow, and the first book in her new cozy mystery series, Southern Pines. She lives in south Alabama, near the place her ancestors struggled to scratch a living from the ground.
Sheila Hollinghead, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Clothed in Thunder, Thunder’s Shadow, Fading Thunder, Thunder Snow, Frail Branch, #NaNoWriMo2016