An Ode to Life Signs

Sometimes there are signs in our lives attempting to guide us in one direction or another. Then there are times, like the two that happened in unison today, that are more like sledge hammers cracking your skull. This gruesome description deserves, nay, demands explanation. And since I’m shirking my NaNoWriMo duties, you’re in luck. You get that explanation.

I’ve held off taking my writing seriously. Why? The usual internal reasons “You’re a grown up. You have a family to support. Writing rarely pays bills. Real jobs pay bills”; the fact that my partner forbade me from writing fiction when we first met because my writing was awful. Most readers will read that and think, “What a horrible person!” To be fair, my writing was that bad. Notice the tense of that verb…WAS.

That same partner is still, well, my partner. We’ve married. Now? Now she supports my efforts CONDITIONALLY. She requires that I hash out my characters, understand the STORY not just the plot. Also, she refuses to read anything I write unless I have already edited it AT LEAST ONCE. Given how she beat my inner writer with a stick, this is a huge improvement. The unfortunate caveat to this love story is now my partner’s voice from when we met is my main Controller, my main Muse murderer.

Like with any great caveat, there is a silver lining to that shade of gray. My inner writing child has apparently grown up some and is demanding a voice. It’s an odd feeling. He’s like Dexter’s dark passenger. I lost control of him some time ago. Letting him out to play like any good parent should and the little bugger decided to take a mile and run like hell for the border.

But where am I going with all this? What about those Life Signs were mentioned so long ago?

Sign 1: I finally broke through the Muse Murderer’s grasp if for a moment and signed up for a Writer group so I can get serious critiques on at least some of my piles of writings floating around. I’m waiting right now for that meeting to start.

You are saying, but wait, that’s hardly a sign. Sure, we’re all proud of you for growing a set and showing up to a critique meetup group. That is not a sign. True. Not by itself anyway.

Sign 2: This morning, about 10am. I’m sitting at work doing my work thing. One of the trainers, friend and colleague, Jim walks in saying he had something for me. Uh oh. What’d I do? He said that I was nominated and awarded the most recent installment of the Fitzpatrick Writing Grant!

Never heard of it? Me neither.

A retired writer and editor (yes, I know, we never truly retire), he heard of my writing urges and deemed me ready. A textbook and workbook that changed his writing self back in the 80s. I quickly flipped through these books. They were spotless. He purchased them. For me. Because he had faith in my ability. The man has never read any of my work.

These two signs together speak loud and clear to me. I know what I have to do. I have to finish this cup of coffee, suck up my fears of other people rejecting my writing as worthless, and walk into the light. No more staring at the cave walls looking at shadows of truth. It’ll be painful. But I have a feeling it will be deeply deeply rewarding.

Thank you, Jim.

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