The only thing harder than beginning is re-beginning.
I’ve been gone a long while, I know. I’ve wanted to write many times, wanted to share some thoughts that never materialized into words. I’ve also wanted to skip over the bit about me taking such a prolonged leave of absence and pretend no one has noticed or wondered what has happened to me.
But these questions, ultimately, need to be answered.
I really wish I had some teriffic reason – something other than breath being breathed, work hours being put in, writing fitting in the cracks. But that’s the story; I’ve been busy meeting people, finding a place for myself once I looked up from the page long enough to regognize how much life there was here for me.
I’ve been finding new friends, taking a weekend trip to Las Vegas, staying out too late dancing, working long hours on aching feet, discovering local bands, planning grand adventures and having a few of them here in my own backyard.
I spent 2012 learning a good deal about writing–maybe almost as much as I need to know for a while. Certainly all I need to know about getting shit done and on time at all costs.
But I needed more. I needed to have mistakes and make experiences, find passionate nighttime arguments over whisky, travel long coastline road trips, giggle all night with friends. I needed a new kind of bravery; the kind that lasts when all else fails. And all time I spent writing, I kept wondering:
I could write, but could I live?
Could I live vibrantly enough to shake off the fears, the rejections, the heartbreaks, the joys? Could I live wholy enough to save it all in my heart, to make better art with all I experience with compassion and fearless perception?
Could I be a person and a writer, both?
So I have been existing, hibernating, practicing being whatever this creature is that I call Myself, and trying to do a better and better job of being the truest version of me, practicing being awake to all of what being a human means.
I wish it didn’t have to be so poetic, but life in motion is poetic. My last six months aren’t a novel, but the part we skip over in a montage, a summary of what the hero is doing when they’re not being the hero of any story but their own.
As I live, I am a better writer. My understanding of my characters deepens as I find greater intimacy with myself, as I watch others do things that make no sense unless I know that they are human and confused just like I am. The richness of my descriptions comes from the places I’ve been, foods I’ve tried, books I’ve devoured.
And because I am a writer, I live more fully. I must, I know, remember every twinkle in an eye, every flutter of excitement in my chest when I meet someone new, the bitter taste of secrets. I am awake and accepting to the discomfort of living because I need to know these things – I need to know what it is to be alive. So I can write true.
I have been gone because I have been busy being myself.
Until now, I’ve been doing these things in silence. Noveling and pondering and learning.
But now, I want to share, to open back up and bring you with me.
The greatest adventure of my life approaches, and quickly. It’s immense and magical and intense. And I’ll have to save the details for another post.
Next month, I’m going to Japan.
To meet new friends, to research my novel, to play with swords, and to feel what it truly means to be out of place – a stranger in a strange land.
I’m terrified and excited and even reluctant.
But it’s happening. I’m going to Japan.