Monday, November 14, 2011


Over the course of the last 24 hours I have just re-read Stephen King's "On Writing." The last time I read it, or attempted it, was almost exactly 10 years ago. I came to it then exhilarated, full of hope, and generally assuming that just by reading it I would be able to sit down and crank out a best-seller. 'Hey,' I thought, 'this is great! An instruction manual from a highly influential person in my life on how to do the one thing I have always burned to do but have never quite managed to follow through with.' I have spent most of my life knowing a few things: I am a writer, I want to write and I need to write, and I am inwardly (and hey, let's be honest here, outwardly too) terrified that I will suck at it and therefore mostly avoid doing it.

I never finished reading "On Writing" 10 years ago. Something in what he wrote in the actual section of the book that deals with the craft of writing deeply offended me. At the time, I think it was the fact that I interpreted something he wrote as this: "To be a writer, you must read a lot and write a lot. If you can't or aren't willing to do both of those things, if you can't or aren't willing to set aside a chunk of several hours each day, then you may as well give up."

The key word here is interpreted. Of course I was deeply offended; my literary hero, the man whose works I have read more often than any other, the writer who has enriched my life with the power of his words over and over and over again, the man who began changing my life with his words when I was 13 years old and read "Pet Semetary," basically just told me that since I didn't have the time that he deemed appropriate to devote to the craft that I couldn't do it. I was 24 years old at the time, working full-time, and way too concerned with whether or not I would die alone surrounded by all of the cats that I would surely have to set aside several hours every day to write. I never made it to the last 20 or so pages of the book, if memory serves. I set it aside, discouraged and a little bit heartbroken.

As it turns out, my interpretation was way off. What King accomplished with "On Writing" was a fantastic read. Part memoir, part instruction, all of it a love letter to the craft of writing. Part of it written after his accident in 1999 and subsequent brush with death. (And remember kids, this is just my interpretation, yet again).

A lot has happened to me in 10 years. The most obvious is that I'm 10 years older. I have more experience, I've been married, had a few kids, I've gotten divorced. But I am still, in my heart and my soul, a writer. I've come back to that simple fact lately. I've had a lot of time to think about it.

I realize now that I did myself, and my hero, a great disservice in not finishing the book 10 years ago. I missed a lot by putting it down and not opening it again for a decade. The description of his accident and the time that followed spent healing moved me to tears. But it was this that made me weep, with joy and hope and possibility, and yes, not just a little fear:

"Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up getting well and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. Some of this book - perhaps too much - has been about how I learned to do it. Much of it has been about how you can do it better. The rest of it - and perhaps the best of it - is a permission slip: you can, you should and if you're brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.
Drink and be filled up."

That's magic. Pure and simple.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some writing to do...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There is no possible way to come up with an appropriate title for this.

In my last blog, I brought up the fact that the judgment from and rejection by one person in particular has been a negative factor in my life that I need to move away from. In order to do that, I need to let go of some things. The most important of which would be my anger. My furious, buried-deep-down-in-there-somewhere-because-it's-easier-than-dealing-with-it, lava-like, burning anger.

It has come to my attention recently that this person has been, presumably by way of other people running back to her and reporting that I have blogged something new, stalking my blog. Let me assure you (all 3 or 4 of my dedicated readers, ha ha) that this was not my intention. My decision to post these entries to Facebook was not a capricious one; I consider that option long and hard before I click that little blue button with the "F" on it. I write here to unburden myself. I write here to get the words out of my head. I realize that simply by posting these words that are no longer in my head on the internet I am displaying them out in the open for everyone to see. But isn't that kind of the point of a blog?

But I digress. So...this person is apparently still quite bothered by the turn of events that led to the dissolution of our friendship. She has been tweeting recently (and yes, those very tweets were brought to my attention by someone else running to me and letting me know. No judgment in that or in my saying that others have run to her to let her know I have blogged. We're women, it's a complicated situation that indirectly involves many people, and we're gonna talk about it. It's human nature. And possibly estrogen. But I digress. Again.).

I've seen the tweets. Should I have read them? Probably not. Am I certain that she is cryptically referencing me in her oh-so-sad, victim mentality infused words? Yep. Pretty fucking sure. anger. Let's just get it all out in the open, shall we? Because I'm quite sure that she's going to read this eventually.

You rejected me. You rejected my choices, my lifestyle, and pretty much everything else. I came back here last November hopeful for this new chapter in my life and hopeful for our friendship. And you rejected me. You found fault in pretty much every choice I made. I fully and completely understand your reasons for being less than thrilled about my decision to stay in Phoenix, what I don't understand and probably never will understand is how you could completely turn your back on me for that choice when I needed you the most. You were like my sister. And I have a fucking sister.

So I came back. That decision pleased you and you began instructing me on how to live my life. At first I overlooked it. I was so happy to have you back in my life again. Then, as you brought to my attention, things got "weird." Of course things were a little weird. I thought it was all part of the healing process. But no...I shouldn't have rented the house I rented when I rented it. I didn't need a TV, so-and-so went without a TV for several months when she first got her house. I shouldn't be smitten with the boy I was smitten with at the time. I didn't give enough of my time to you and when I did it was to talk about the boy I was smitten with. I chose to sleep with people you didn't deem as acceptable. Or maybe it was just that I chose to have sex. I'm not really sure. Well guess what? It's my life, my credit rating, and my fucking vagina. Not your vagina.

A part of me will always miss you and love you. I will always be grateful for what you've done for me. I am not without fault in this situation. It took me way too long to repay you what I owed you, mainly because you don't accept Visa or Mastercard. I disappointed you on many levels. I get that. I fucked up. Repeatedly. I made bad choices, and I have to deal with the consequences of those choices. But guess what? I'm human. We all fuck up. I would have stepped in front of a bus for you. I don't care what you would have done, I would still have been your friend and stood by you. Because to me, that's what friendship is. Friendship is not based on whether or not the other person in said friendship meets your expectations on a regular basis and always makes the decisions you sanction as appropriate. Friendship shouldn't be conditional.

I'm done with this now. I'm done with the anger and the sadness and the bitterness and the have's and have not's. I'm fucking done justifying my choices to people who chose to do nothing but judge me. I'm just done. Live your life, find your peace. I really hope you find it. But don't tweet about friendship and not being able to let go when you are the one who chose to not allow me to be a part of your life anymore.