December 9, 2018

what became of whimsy

Last night, I began a re-read of His Dark Materials, and in the first pages of The Golden Compass, it happened again ... I was reading with an eye for craft as much as content, admiring the odd turn of phrase, trying to get a grasp on the slippery ways in which an author achieves flow and paints characters.

Today is the first anniversary of Sparven.  It began on December 9 because its origin included one frustrating evening and morning attempting to contend with WordPress, then choosing to roll the dice in the face of admonitions that technically, through using Blogger, Google owns my content.  Many of the people who work for my organization think the networking department remotes into their machines by stealth and monitors their surfing activity.  There are five of us.  Even if respect for privacy wasn't ingrained in our unspoken ethical code, who has the time?  Google is bigger, but busy.  I doubt they'd register my blog as a blip on the radar unless some lawyers found a reason to start some shit.  The lawyers are busy, too.  I chose Blogger.

I've been looking back through my posts, the volume of which is stupefying when considering that this was supposed to be a flash in that gleaming pan of Good Intention, born of a whimsical notion.  I'm looking for progress in my writing, progress in my therapy, progress in areas in my life and psyche in which writing has served as a catalyst and a nudge.  It's the New Year for me, for once not the least bit arbitrary.  I'm looking for who I am, one year later.

I have acknowledged my seed-sowers:  Leslie Perry, a high school English teacher; Dr. Sylvia Little, a college English professor; my grandmother and her scratched-out notepads and Bic pens on the vinyl dining table cover; Kate Campbell and Dar Williams, two of the most influential songwriters woven through two decades of life (and counting); those who have come to read and comment and cheer the writing on, some older, dearer friends and some newer, blossoms waiting to bloom; and my wife, whose gentle, relentless hand has rested on my shoulder as she watched me take my time and come to this on my own, for she knew she could never push me toward using a talent that she alone perceived.

I still want to find Ms. Perry and thank her.  I believe I've kept my promise to Dr. Little.  I've already thanked Kate for her example.  And when I can't write, when the darkness takes me, those who read and know my name now do not go away.  They patiently wait.  They are a boat's anchor, dropped and still in the waters that always recede.  They help bring me back.  I thank them by writing again.

I wrote earlier of my longing to see progress after a year of therapy and processing those internal workings through writing.  I intentionally dissociated the child part of me into Lille, and have since reintegrated her, and speak of her less and less.  I have wrestled with my perception of my Teacher, and in doing so, have moved it down the line toward an adult perspective.  That hasn't stopped the pattern of preoccupations, but I rarely, if ever, think of her and the town tantalizingly close by where she retired.  Together with Therapist Gumby, we've taken on learning to navigate the bi-polar disorder and self-injury episodes, treading water during suicidal ideation, spelunking for a core that is me and not the chemical slosh of my medications.  If he had asked me to journal during this past year, I would have refused, or agreed to it and then exactly failed to do it at all.  But he hasn't had to ask.  He reads this blog every day.  After all, it's my journal.

I've processed relationships in what has often been a clumsy fashion, primarily what lies between my mother and me, all that is not, all that unfortunately is, and how I move forward.  I've delved into the significance of the abuse I suffered at my sister's hand, the infuriation and enjoyment found in what constitutes a far more normal relationship with my daddy, and the undeserved celebration of the precious jewels spilled into my hands, my wife and my son.  We laugh and strive and enjoy the hell out of profanity.  We challenge each other, form each other.  As he grows up, so do I, and P.J. is my oxygen.

And in between, I've had the luxury of writing the humor that has come my way, simple stories and commentary on having dogs, loving music, being an atheist, being an acceptable human, and having a stomach the size of an egg.  I can make others laugh, and there are few joys that compare.

If I abandon false modesty, I can say that I think I've developed a writing voice.  I omit articles where they belong and place them where they do not.  I have to be careful because in the same way that I inadvertently begin to mimic someone when speaking with them by phone, picking up their accent, I find myself slipping into the style of other writers whose material I read for more than five minutes at a time.  This is a critical point.  I wonder how much Philip Pullman's voice will creep in over the next two weeks.

My pace has slowed to one that is sustainable.  This is to be expected.  And I am willing to write a book, but I cannot.  Many of my scars and defense mechanisms are the very things that prevent me from conceiving fiction and fleshing it out.

But I am forced to say this, albeit grudgingly:  I do not know what my second year of writing will bring.

1 comment:

  1. Neither do I - know what the next year will bring. But, I will say this, I'm looking forward to it, the laughs, the sadness and loving you through all of it.

    You still are, no matter how many times you try to deflect it or deny it - the most courageous person I know. I am in awe of you, every single day.

    Hugs and much love

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