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Friday, August 1, 2014

We Meet At Last...

"Coming Home" by Anne Magill

“I miss the days when I was alone with my characters and no one else knew them except me.”  --- Lian Hearn

A couple of weeks ago, the unthinkable happened. My computer, my very first computer, my darling, my companion...crashed

I survived the tragedy, as I'd already bought a new PC and only went a few days computer-less. 

But, in one of those beautiful twists of life, the computer's dying turned out to be a blessing. Kind of a rebirth, if you will. 

And I'll tell you why.

Okay, I'm going to go to a forbidden zone here. But it's a foggy zone I've been lost in for quite some time. A miserable place. A scary place where lack of confidence and loathing of my talent lurked like creepy banks of trees in shadows.

Or better known as disillusionment.  

I'd cry to fellow authors who, for a fleeting moment, would try to understand before backing away. Afraid, maybe, because I was treading in a murky swamp of the writing world where no author likes to have to be.

The point had come in my writing career where I realized---hard, brutally hard---that I was not going to be the rave of the literary world that I'd imagined when I began writing. I saw, with aching clarity, that what I wrote just was not going to be it. I landed in a genre where I found myself to be the proverbial square peg in the round hole. 

Dawning came when I understood there was a formula for genre markets. There just is. No matter how it was sliced, it was the reality. 

This broke my heart, this feeling of not being good enough, not having the whatever-it-takes to become sell-able in the market. I, like most authors would naturally do, figured it was my writing. And, when a writer feels this way, it's so easy to succumb to the insecurity and just...stop

I was tempted to stop. 

But, first of all, I had to look deep into my own writing. IS it the writing?

Oh, hell, what do I do, then? I write fine, I honestly believe in my own talent. I really do. But so few take to my style, my voice, my stories. I've committed literary suicide by not having a voice that can be highly marketable in my genre.

I have enough confidence in my writing to know the the answer was: no, it is not my writing. It's not about who's a good writer or a bad writer.

So what does the computer crash have to do with all this?

Ah. It's really kind of beautiful, it is. 

My passion is music. I've never been able to listen to a song---any song---and not hear a story in the notes. Particularly the clasiscs.

When I began to set up files in the new computer, there came the tedious task of re-loading all my music from my Amazon cloud. And there---how, oh, how could I have forgotten them?---were some tracks I'd completely forgotten about over time. How I ever could have abandoned them, I don't know. 

But these pieces---all classics---brought memories crashing back to me. Memories of my very first plunge into writing. 

Canon in D, The Poet and the Peasant Overture, Zampa Overture, Moonlight Sonata, Hungarian Rhapsody, William Tell Overture to name a few. Music that, when I lost myself in it, was rousing, extremely potent, very sexual (if you listen, you do hear the sex in it, too). 

And the moment was rapturous. 

Back again I was to my first stories. Stories that---if you don't count my experiment in Russell Crowe fanfic which wasn't so bad, by the way---are likely to be the foundation of the stories I am meant to tell. The characters I was born to write.

Oh, gods. The days, nights, writing these men back then. Countless tales, but these guys were the core of all of them. Trying to find their niche, to bring them to live. But, hell. I finally gave up. These fellas' time was not yet to be. 


Why, after almost five years, did the discovery of these old music files rekindle that desire? It had always been there. 

Timing, I think. I had a lot to learn before I would be ready to embark on bringing to life---in the written word, that is---these men. They are, I believe, the characters of my heart. They were born from these beautiful classics. Every time I hear these pieces, I see their faces. Their faces, no one else's. 

Guess what, though? As much as I love them, as much of my heart is going to be bled into the writing of them? I am going into this with full knowledge that even they---as hugely as I love them---are more than likely going to be highly marketable in my genre. 

But the beautiful part is: it makes no difference to me. 

And that....that....is the point. 

This desolate feeling of uselessness in my genre, in any genre for that matter. This sinking discouragement because I'm not swimming in moolah with my writing. The tinge of jealousy that I'm not popular. 

All these discouraging, almost-to-the-point-of-giving-up feelings somehow evaporated the moment I put on those ear phones and heard the sweet, sexy, passionate strains of The Poet and the Peasant, the Zampa Overture

By some exquisite miracle, I was taken back to my beginnings. To those men, those very first men who owned my passion. And I started their story. Finally. And I love them. With all my heart, I love them. 

I have loved every character I've ever written. 

But there are some---and you know this is true---who own you, who you know are going to tell you the stories you were meant to tell. 

For some reason, during this awakening, I stumbled on the artist Anne Magill and her powerful work. Her painting is the way I want my characters to be. Real. So real that, like in the painting above, you can reach out and touch them and feel them. Yet simple. So human and so simple. Hell, the man in the picture looks like someone I would write. I recognized him from my soul. 

And then I knew. 

These characters and their tales are what matters. The beauty and love they draw from me will be powerful enough to drive me, to give me purpose, to make me know it is all that matters. 

With this revival of my writing spirit, I feel like I did in the old days. Passionate, fire-the-fingers excited to write. 

It's their time, these characters. It's time for their tale to be told. Finally. It's as though they're sighing with relief and approaching me, waiting for me to hug them. And they're so happy. And I can feel them, 'So we meet at last.' Yes, we meet at last, because the time for them has come.

Cannot wait for you to meet them. 




Janice Seagraves said...

Go for it, my friend. You've honed your skills, and you have the ability.

Your passion is back.

Write and bring those characters to life!


Vastine Bondurant said...

***HUGS*** Janice!