It’s not as you see in the movies, at least not for me. How many scenes have you watched on the big screen as a writer meticulously arranges his desk; there is a hot steaming cup of coffee, pencils sharpened and nice stack of crisp clean white paper next to an old manual typewriter. He pulls out a chair on wheels and scoots himself up to an old wooden desk, takes a piece of that paper and rolls it into the typewriter, fingers slowly placed over the keys and ….. nothing, he has nothing. He leans back in his chair, takes a sip of his coffee and realizes that he has absolutely no words. In the movies you see writers sitting down with their agents over lunch trying to explain why there is no manuscript, why months and months have gone by and not a single word has made it to the paper.
I only wish this was how writers block played out for me however it is quite the opposite. There are so many words and they come so fast that I can’t keep up. Every emotion, every thought, every action of every day comes out on paper all at once and even I can’t edit through it to tell the story. There isn’t a day that I don’t sit down and try to make sense of the words that swirl through my head and my heart. I think that is why it has taken me so long, the letters that make up the words that make up the stories live deep within my emotions. It’s not just some words on a blank piece of paper but real life that so many us live.
My real life came about 5 months ago when someone told me that what I was writing was not very nice. It came in the form of a text, and as I stood there and read and reread those words writers block began to set in. I had one thing to say that turned into years of feelings that I had decided to tuck away, let life play out and accept that sometimes you just have to let go. I poured through the blog, was she right? Had I really hurt someone with what I had written? For days I would go back and read each post knowing that I had carefully written every word in such a way that would not draw negative attention to the story or those who, whether they liked it or not had become a part of the story that was going to be told.
I had a friend send this to me in hopes that it would encourage me to write again …
You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better …
So even with that it was hard to get back to the blog. There was the transition from job to home, finding out that love doesn’t mean the same to others as it means to me, the holidays and realizing that life in your 40’s is really hard sometimes. I had so much going on and much to say but knew that it didn’t belong here, not in the way that it came out on paper. I have this crazy way of writing, it works for me but I start with a journal. I love, LOVE the feel and smell and look of a leather bound journal with those discolored pages that stare at you and challenge you to just let go and write anything knowing that it stays between the two of you. It’s from those words that the story comes together, but the last few months the pages, while full of words was not the story I wanted to tell. Looking back over the months I found missing pages, tear smudged words and a lot of scribbling and red marks through blue words.
So how did it come together today? How was I able to make sense of the words, the pages filled with stories? Well, there is a little girl named Elizabeth who has given me a story to tell, a very powerful story. Because I realized that real life isn’t about the fairytale we dream of as little girls, that real life happens everyday to everyone of us and that we have the power to say at anytime this is not how the story is going to end.