***It’s been a while that I’ve been in here, I’m really sorry for all of my readers who’ve given up on me. I’m sure you’ve been waiting with bated breath for either my next installment or an announcement of my book. Well, I’m happy to disappoint you further, I am no closer to a book length work than I was months ago. Well, what have I been wasting my time on you ask? Let me fill you in. As a writer with PTSD, there is a fine line between neglecting your disorder and coping. Once you start to feel good, you sort of let all those things you used to do that got you to that point slide and then comes the downfall…and then the long climb back to coping again. Ces la vie! I’ve been relearning how to cope with life again, so if you’ve missed me, apologies all around. I have still been writing on my sister blog, Walking In My Shoes but it’s not the same as this, our private story telling space, so here I am to say, I still love you all.
I have also been doing some reading and for me this is a big feat, my mind won’t suffer reading for very long now, it does weird things like forget what I’ve just read or even what page of the book I’m even on. Anyway, I’ve caved in to pressure and I’m reading Stephen King’s, On Writing. I must agree with all of the hype over this book, it is a truly entertaining look into the development of his craft and I can’t help but see some of me in his anecdotes.
One story in particular rang straight to my heart. Where his teacher (or was it the principal?) told him he was wasting his talent writing the stories he was writing, that horror crap that not many like but thousands enjoy….??? It made me think of a memo that was sent home with me once when I was in elementary school. The note was addressed to my parents but my mom spoke to me about it…and laughed. I believe the interchange went something like this,
“Hey, what’s this story your teacher want us to look at? Something you wrote? She’s really disturbed by it.”
All of my puny 7 year old muscles tighten and I’m struck with embarrassment, “Huh?” It couldn’t be the story I just submitted because it was returned to me with a B written in red ink on the top of it.
“Go and get that story and let me read it.”
I run off to my bedroom wondering whether to just grab some paper and quickly hack out a new story for my mom to read but I couldn’t figure out how I’d get a matching red marker to make the B at the top. I come skulking back and sheepishly hand it to her without a word.
After about two minutes and three whole pages of carefully printed wording that consumed an entire evening for me the night prior, my mother placed the paper down on the kitchen table and looked at me. There were no words, she just looked at me. Her first words made me want to shrink into invisibility, I hated critiques.
“So, why did these people have to die and get hacked to pieces?”
I stared at the floor, poking it with my toe and wondering just how I could explain my reasoning to her. I took the honest route, “Well, I knew she probably wouldn’t like it…” I felt like my mother’s eyes were boring a hole into the top of my skull, but what really got me was that she didn’t seem upset, she just seemed genuinely curious.
“Your principal didn’t like it either. You actually scared these people. They told me to tell you not to write these types of stories anymore.”
Keep in mind, I’m only about 7 or 8 years old here. I look up indignant and whine, “Awwwww! How come? Just because it’s scary? It’s supposed to be scary, it’s a scary story!”
Mother, with the patience of a Saint, just smiles and says, “No, they think you’re crazy is all. They want to know what we’re telling you but I know it’s just all you and your strange books you read.” She paused, went over to the sink to start the dishes and called over her shoulder to me, “Just don’t write those ones if you have to hand them in to your teachers. It’s good. You got a B. It’s pretty scary too.”
My mom never once thought I was nuts having a vampire teenager accidentally killing people by sucking their blood and trying to hide the evidence by chopping up the bodies and burying them in several places, including the sand under the monkey bars in the playground. I was a kid! I had an imagination. And by then I think I’d already read Helter Skelter, Jaws and Max Haines true crime stories in the newspaper.
So yes, there were a lot of imaginary demons in my younger years and that was my learning lesson that my craft could be yielded for “evil” as well as good. Reading about how Stephen King’s talent developed, I see so many parallels with mine, only, I gave in to pressure and gave up writing for creativity when I was convinced it would get me nowhere in life. Instead I turned my sights to becoming a physician – Ha! That worked out as well as making my living as a writer is now.
So I’m back. I won’t neglect you further, so please look forward to some enthralling tales in future weeks, after all, it’s not like I’m doing anything else, right? 😉
If you can’t have the life you want, have the one you’re given. ****