So I'm writing a book...

I would have likely been burned at the stake...

When I started this blog a year ago, I went through this whole transformative process with my identity. I've always been obsessed with writing. I loved the romanticized idea of pouring my thoughts onto paper. Creating imagery within the limitations of the english language, that somehow translates my experience of the world to readers. It seemed important. A noble and timeless plight. Given time, and indoctrination prescribed through academia, I found that my creativity was no longer welcome. Words must be concise, and gratuitous flourish was not only discouraged, but laughable. Where once I spoke in experiential prose, I was left to APA standards and extensive lit reviews. Sure, there is value in that style of writing. People that are dedicated to research, and report their titillating outcomes (however flat in composition), are helpful to every element of society. The medication you take? Someone wrote an academic report on that study. The reason lobotomies aren't on a psychiatrist's immediate treatment list nowadays? Research. I love it. I love reading it, and enjoying the benefits of it. I don't love to write it. There, I said it. I'm a freedom gal, a limit pusher. Strict paradigms bug me. The fact is, it's a good thing I was born in this era, because I would have likely been burned at the stake or institutionalized by my husband (cause everyone had a husband back in the day) for being too "uppity." It really wouldn't have worked out well for me.

 Based on  The Yellow Wallpaper  by: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Based on The Yellow Wallpaper by: Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Singing the Teletubbies theme ad nauseum...

So my identity- right. Despite my draw to freedom and limitless opportunity, I thought of myself as a social worker, mother, and intermittent artist (as the charcoal inspired me). I never welcomed the idea of being a writer back into my world. My schema had been assigned, and I was pretty cool with that. Plus, as any parent can attest- the early years of parenting are nothing short of a blur. Survival skills are paramount to any activity categorized under "self-actualization" on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. You simply can't reach enlightenment when covered in goldfish crackers, singing the Teletubbies theme song ad nauseum. As my daughter has grown in her independence, I find more time to attend to my own personal interests. There is something good about Minecraft after all. So I found myself writing in my journals more. I've always been a journal buff. Obsessed really. If I'm in a store with leather bound journals, etched cover designs, sketch books- basically, it's all over. Some see blank pages, and are left feeling overwhelmed and frightened. I see endless possibility. I see months of processed emotions, vulnerability, and reserved moments of celebration. Many of my early adult years are perfectly documented in journals. They are littered with insecurities, and reflections of an unknown future. When I have taken the time to re-read them, I find myself laughing, flushed with embarrassment, and inevitably horrified. Some of my friends have burned their old journals for all the reasons I just mentioned. I can't conceive of destroying that chapter of my world. How cherished and beautiful it is.

Ready to take on the ownership of old dreams...

So I'm reading through my old journals, and I find an outline for a book. A book I spent months toiling over as a 20 year old. It had never left my subconscious. Of course I remembered this plan, but I hadn't been able to dedicate myself to writing it. When the idea was conceived, the internet wasn't readily available. In fact, I had a ten year old computer with a printer that needed paper fed through perfectly aligned holes you had to tear off when it was done printing. It was a lifetime ago. I don't think I even had the capacity to save a document on a floppy disk. Most of my ideas were handwritten, misspelled, and disorganized. I hadn't yet committed to my education, so my potential was entirely untapped. So here I am, decades later, reading this outline to a book I had passionately longed to write, but abandoned with age and responsibility. I wasn't sure what to do with this. So many feelings were stirred up, like younger me had returned from sabbatical- ready to take on the ownership of old dreams. Given extensive thought and reflection, I decided to channel my writing energies into this blog. I wanted to help people. Provide tools to improve quality-of-life, spread the love, all that fluffy kumbaiah stuff. It's been delicious. I've loved practically every moment of this process (the coding was a little daunting, but whatever). 

Listening to music that connects me to those moments like a time machine...

 

After nearly a year of writing on Audrey's Peace of Mind, the book came knocking again. I started recalling the stories I had to tell, and listening to the music that connects me to those moments like a time machine. The fire was ignited. For all you creators out there, you know that this type of fire does not relent. It's a taunting little bugger. You have a free 15 minutes? Let me ignite your muse, so every other task is excruciating and mundane. You have an afternoon? Scrap it, I'm taking the whole weekend. I was committed, vows and everything. When I finally uttered it aloud- "I'm writing a book." It almost sounded laughable. A book. Really? That's an average of 75,000-100,000 words! How in the name of all that I hold dear, am I going to create this? I'm already working full time, have a partial second job on the side, I blog, I parent a growing human being, and now....a book? Sigh. Unrelenting. It has to be born. Almost immediately after deciding to go with it, I found a quote that brought me to tears. 

If there is a book that you want to read,
but it hasn’t been written yet,
you must be the one to write it.
-Toni Morrison

Have you written today, Mama?

Yes. Yes. YES!!! It will be written. I am at around 21,000 words today. Many fumbles, emotions, and conceptual challenges have found their way to my computer screen. I've been blessed with generous beta readers, who provide me with honest reflections to make my craft stronger. I have a daughter that verbally checks in, "Have you written today, Mama? It makes you happy, you should take the time for yourself." I have peers and friends that reflect the magnitude of their excitement over this project, that I am unable to muster up for myself when I'm in my "focused" place. I feel truly supported.

So what's it about? What is this book anyway? It's a story. It's mine, but not in a narcissistic way. It's a vulnerable reflection of my journey through depression. It needs to be told, because so many people silently suffer. Unfortunately, some don't even know what happiness looks like. I've swam through the darkness, and I'm able to honestly say I have recovered from it. For those that have been in that shadow of this world, you know what a big deal that is. My story is colorful, entirely unflattering, and excruciatingly candid. It will be lovely. A trusted friend and fellow writer, gave me a verbal gift a few weeks ago. I had given her a new chapter to read, edited to reflect the last notes she had given me. She said my book had finally come to life. There are no greater words of encouragement that could have been given. This twenty-year-old vision has taken shape (though bare bones), and much like Frankenstein, has taken its first breath. I don't know if it will become what I envisioned, or something new and more beautiful. What I know for certain, is that I welcome this process with open arms and bleeding heart. All I need are twinkle lights, Tori Amos Pandora, and and ice cold Diet Coke. I swim in this space, eager to meet new pages with every breath. A mother's love, for her beautiful creation.

AM