Grace and Space

The work on “Ghost Stories” has begun. Step one: unshare them with everyone I shared them with in Google Drive. A lot of these were written for a class, and I don’t think they need to be in my professor’s hands anymore. I got my grade; now they’re mine.

The next step will be to take the scripts and convert them to short stories. Turning the short stories into scripts was a cinch, but I’m expecting I’ll need to do more to get things the other way around. Still, the lion’s share of the work was done a year ago, when I wasn’t in the right place to appreciate these pieces for what they were.

Aside from this, I’m giving myself “grace and space.” That is, the grace to feel the emotional trauma, and the space to heal myself and purge the toxins. It’s a slow process, and this is certainly not how I anticipated spending my midlife crisis, but with my 40s just a few flips of the calendar away, I suppose this will have to do.

Ginger asked me recently when I was going to go back to writing Uprooted. As she’s more mathematically inclined than literary, it was a weird question to get from her. I answered honestly that I didn’t know, and followed up with “Why?” She said she misses my characters. I think that’s probably the best compliment I’ve ever gotten on my writing, and it helped me decide that Uprooted shouldn’t stay in the drawer for too much longer. A writer I admire recently went through a retreat where they wrote an entire first draft novel in three days. That sounds very intense, to say the least, but she did it, and I’m inspired. I believe that, if I took three days to shut the world out and stay focused, I could finish Uprooted in three days, as well. It’s something to consider, but I’m not ready to make that move quite yet. Grace and space.

In the meantime, while all of this cerebral work is slowly unfolding, and while my mind continues to chew through the straps that have bound me, I need something to do with my hands. It’s less of trying to stay busy and more of an act of meditation. I knit, but I don’t knit actual objects (Weird, right? I knit, unravel, wad, and knit again.) I’d like something to show for my time, so I’ve picked up a few craft supplies to help me out with this.

First, I’ve suddenly become interested in subversive cross stitch. That is to say, I’m about to begin a cross stitch pattern that is, quite literally, a Dumpster fire. I jokingly called it a self-portrait, but let’s be real here. I know how to cross stitch, but I’ve never been very diligent with it. Finding a really pretty floral pattern that said “Satan approves of your progress” helped me to realize there are weirdos out there like me, and not all needles need to go into voodoo dolls.

I’ve also picked up a new set of watercolor paints and a small pad of watercolor paper. I have no intention of painting anything specific, mind you. I’m more interested in what I’ve taken to calling “pushing color around.” Watercolor is perfect for that, and one of the best parts of watercolor painting is that the true beauty of what you’ve created takes a while after you’ve finished to develop. The lesson in patience is one I need to relearn.

Easy does it. I will slowly get my shit back together, and eventually find myself on another path to somewhere. While I certainly hope it’s somewhere great, I can honestly say that the path I’ve been on for the last three years has been a crushing disappointment. That failure, however, will not paralyze me, and it won’t make me afraid of moving forward when I’m ready to do so. For now, it’s a quiet time of rest and healing. Life around me can keep zipping along, but I need to be slow and deliberate about each day.

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