I Used to Be …

In reviewing how things have gone this past year, I could focus on all the bad things that have happened, and there have been a number of them, both personally and communally. However, since I have struggled with depression lately, I’ve decided that focusing on the negative isn’t going to help anyone, me included.

So I thought instead about some positive personal events and a purchase I made this last year that have had a good deal of importance for me. First, the purchase. In May, I bought a bike and named her Baby Blue. I had a bike when I was a kid but I never rode it, because I walked everywhere. But a friend of mine talks a lot about biking, and so I thought I would give it a try. I fell in love. Biking has become not just something I do, but someone I am. I am a cyclist. I don’t go extremely fast nor extremely far. I’m working up to that. But there is a feeling when I’m in the saddle that is unlike almost anything else. It calms me. It frees me. It helps me to refocus. I plan on writing a post in the very near future called “Lessons Learned from the Bike.” There have been many, and I’d like to share them with anyone who cares to read them.

One thing that I’ve wanted to do while riding is get to the point of being so comfortable with it that I can lose myself to everything else and think about my writing, that as the pedals turn, so will the creative wheels in my brain and I’ll envision scenes with great clarity.

I have been able to take a couple of trips this year, trips I call my “walkabouts,” most of them to beach areas. I love the beach. There is something about the ceaseless movement of the tide that speaks to me. I’ve had the good fortune to watch the sun set on the water, and I saw a moon rise that made me feel incredibly joyful to be in that place at that moment.

One thing I have done on my walkabouts is write. Well, that’s always been the plan. This year has seen very little writing. There’s something in the back of my brain that whispers, “You used to be a writer,” and I feel the sadness, the longing in those words, the tug which is as ceaseless as the tides. I used to be a writer. I created worlds and people and events. I miss it.

I have my suspicions of where the drive to write went, of how this particular writer ended up on a death bed. I won’t discuss that here other than to say I’m aware of it. I’m not sure it can be overcome or resurrected. There’s no going back to who I was before, so I need to find a way through it. Perhaps that means just pushing through until I tap that creative spirit again. Perhaps it means writing something different, becoming a different sort of writer. I’m hoping that writing this here will make me accountable to something or someone.

I have been unable to finish much of anything. I have the beginnings of several novels and a few short stories, and I can’t seem to find the motivation, or maybe the sheer guts it takes, to finish. I will briefly summarize the plots of various manuscripts I have begun. These are characters I have created who deserve to see the light of day, to see a finish to their stories.

The Mikes (5 chapters finished as well as numerous random chapters) is about one woman’s sexual journey and exploration. i started writing this because I knew it would sell and I’m tired of writing “literature” that no one wants. So I wanted something steamy and fun. I started it long before 50 Shades of Grey came out, and it is much, much better, even in its infancy. Like 50 Shades, it deals with the BDSM lifestyle, but unlike 50 Shades, this manuscript has actually been researched. After reading parts of 50 Shades of Grey, I have to wonder if she did any research at all or talked with anyone who actually lives this lifestyle. However, her book coming out when it did knocked some of the wind out of my literary sails. Like a sucker punch. Even if I get it published now (well, if I get it written, that is), mine will look derivative. Redundant and regurgitated.

The Sin Eater, two chapters in. It’s actually untitled so far, and while it isn’t about an actual sin eater, the concept is close enough. My main character is Moth, a young but ageless woman who does what a sin eater does–bears the sin of others as they prepare to die. My secondary character is Jasper, the sin eater in training, so to speak, except he doesn’t want the job and his drug addiction keeps him from doing what he knows is right.

The Salvatore Series, book one. Another untitled one, two chapters in. This is another one I started in order to be commercial. My plan is for it to be a series of action/romance novels, and the front for the rescue operation is Salvatores, an Italian bakery. There are hot men, sexy women, etc., etc., etc. Or there will be, once it gets out of my imagination and onto the computer. I like my idea, like where it’s going, like my main characters as well as the characters who will come later in the series.

Framing of the Shrew, comedic murder mystery, Eight chapters finished. Woohoo! Eight chapters. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Certainly compared to the others. But it dug in its heels and refused to go further. I know what the problem was. A character came in uninvited and wants to be the romantic interest for my main character, who is a college professor accused of murdering one of her students. I didn’t want him to be the romantic interest. I had someone else in mind. So I wrote part of another chapter and promptly lost all interest. (Sidebar to any writers out there–don’t make this mistake. Let your novel go where it wants to go, because like a mule, it won’t go anywhere it doesn’t want to go.)

Finally, there is the screenplay for my novel Justified Means. I’ve got about the first 25 minutes, and it’s rolling along pretty well. Except that I stopped working on it. Yes, even now sitting here writing all this, I’m thinking a great big WTF? There’s no reason I shouldn’t be done with any of these. Russell Crowe as God. It’ll be fabulous!

I’ve got a couple of others, but these are the ones that I ache for, the ones that if I abandon them, there will be a yawning, engulfing hole in my stomach, like a healthy pregnancy that’s been aborted.

I’m telling you about them so that every now and then someone might say, “Hey, are you working on that novel? You know, the great one about …” Fill in the blank. Hold me accountable. Make me feel uncomfortable with the question. I dare ya. Read the chapters that I start posting on here and either tear them to shreds with criticism or beg me for more. Oh, and if you want to vote which one I should pursue first, feel free to tell me.

I promise I won’t ignore you the way I’ve tried to ignore the little voice inside that says “You used to be a writer.”

4 thoughts on “I Used to Be …

  1. That is called hanging your heart out. I hope it helps. I know you are still a writer. Something will get you started. I’m not sure what, but something. I think The Mikes might be the one you’ve talked about the most. You might not be able to get it published, because of you no what. But, I think it might be important for you to get it out. To get it done.

  2. Go ahead and finish The Mikes, Cher, but wait for the 50 Shades craze to start to die off before releasing it. I can read the promotional headline “If you thought that 50 Shades was steamy, you haven’t read The Mikes.”

    My daughter and I have read Justified Means and will be among the first in line to see the movie.

    Truth is, Cher, you are still a writer. No one can ever take that away from you.

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