Though I Walk thru the Valley

I am back. I have to admit how sad it is that it has taken me this long to come back. I have no excuses really. And, just like a sinner who only talks to God in times of strife, I am back to recount the past few months.

I had found a job. It was wonderful. I carpooled to work every day with a close friend. We had lunch together. I was getting to know people and learning the ropes. It was challenging, it was all new, and it was glorious. Hell, on top of all that, it even paid well. A week before Labor Day weekend, I sat down to lunch with my boss and we talked about my prospects to continue. My contract was going to be renewed. I had the prospect of a full time gig. I had options.

 

Three weeks later I was fired.

 

Excuse me, as I was corrected at the time, my contract was terminated. Fucking semantics.

The reason? The purpose? My writing. No, the irony is not lost on me. And, in the truth of the anonymity, my first draft was bad. It was an attempt at a tone and a topic I shouldn’t have tried. But I was given a chance to rewrite it. I did with every bit of my craft behind me. I even recruited beta readers and critiques to understand where I had gone so horribly wrong the first time. And it hurt, but I went through it all and examined my mistakes and honed my words.

It didn’t matter. After reading through the entire second draft, my boss looks me in the eyes and tells me it’s still horrible. My world shattered, exploding apart like fine crystal in slow motion frames. In the span of 24 hrs, I lost my wonderful job, the time with my friend, and the paycheck that was allowing my husband and I to make progress on our debt. I was damaged goods and the company wasn’t going to keep me if it felt like I couldn’t perform.

So three months before the holidays, I am jobless and searching for meaning. But then, most people are one or the other, if not both. 

My writing…sits. The 76,000+ words of progress I had made on my first, rough draft of my NanoWrimo novel lays unedited. A unknown ground that lays fallow as the farmer has lost the will to deal with the seasons. I can’t even give it a proper title. Ceara’s story is still that “NanoWrimo” work. November itself looms monstrous in my mind. Whereas up to my termination, I was looking forward to triumph again, to continue this novel, and to learn who Nathaniel is and what he means to Ceara. Instead, I dread the 30 days of writing for the joy of writing, because I am too afraid to lock my inner editor away again. I doubt my abilities and the editor keeps me safe.

It’s such a simple thing to doubt, but it grows like kudzu in the heat of a Georgia summer. 

And the hardest part is that to get better I know I need critiques. I need to continue to write, but its something that I hold so dear to myself that it is hard to hold it out for the world to bludgeon. I don’t try to pretend that I am perfect, that I am some artist. I am just a singular soul who can’t NOT write. I only want to tell a story and being told time and time again how wrong the semantics are wear away my foundation to believe I have a worthy story to tell. 

A new job search it is then. Maybe somewhere along the rocky way I will stumble across the sage who knows the words to restore my faith to write again. Ceara deserves that kind of faith. 

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Clarity and Calling

I once read that some famous author said that if you ever are faced with writer’s block, simply have whatever character is at hand walk through a door holding a gun. Not necessarily something that comes up too often in non-mystery/thriller/noir. But handy nonetheless. So my main, male, protagonist walked through the front holding a compact submachine gun with the crazy idea to save the world (ok there’s more than that, but you get the picture) and blam. The heavens opened up, light shone down on my keyboard, and I saw with the clarity of the clarion call of angels that I knew where I was going.

I had the twist I had been looking for how to put in since I found that these people might have more than a simple save the world story to tell. There’s this whole history and idea of a secret cult society I thought was simple fluff for Ceara, my lead female protagonist, to have an interesting past. Hell ya, it’s interesting. So Atlanta is getting a invasion of cult Demon hunters. This ought to be good.

And so to end the post, with another little over 1,100 words, I will do what I did when our NanoNapped group on Facebook needed some encouragement during November. Which is, post the last line you wrote, and I will take artistic liberties and add a few more sentences for dramatic effect:

“The dull metal blade glinted in the failing light. The stars were twinkling into existence and they lent a silver trace to otherwise boring steel. If I faced them, I could very well be forfeiting my existence. If they knew of the blood I had split, whether for the sake of saving a life or not, I might already be hunted…

…I wasn’t going anywhere fast without transportation though. I needed to see if any of our yappy, dog walking neighbors were trusting enough of their neighborhood to keep their keys in their unlocked vehicle…”