Yesterday I spent a couple of hours chin wagging with another woman writer friend at a local bakery/coffee shop. It was a much overdue experience for both of us and we prattled on and on and on. Had I not had to leave we might possibly still be sitting there chatting away about life and writing.
The conversation was inspiring to me. Not that we said anything inspirational but the fact that I was talking to another human being about writing made my heart jump a little, my mind open a crack wider.
Writing is so singular. I spend my days behind my computer typing out words in an endless cacophony of clicks, music hums in the background to drown out the doves nesting under the eaves of my house or the neighbor mowing their lawn or the cats racing up and down the stairs. The end result a bevy of pages saved in a file.
But also saved in my head where they spin around teasing me, taunting me, … keeping me from sleep.
Some days, when the words flow well, when I’m lost within my story, when the vampires sink their teeth in deep and hang on, I feel as if I’m caught in the vortex of a storm somewhere. Isolated entirely from everything else that is happening. My room could be boiling hot or freezing cold and I wouldn’t notice. The house could burn down around me and there I’d sit … typing away.
Consumed by words, by characters, by the story unfolding before me, I become lost without them.
And yet days like yesterday, when I pried myself away from home and sat in a hard wooden chair at a plastic laminated table nibbling on a brownie filled with caramel and pecans discussing everything I’ve ever discussed before with someone else, I was happy. Happy to hear about their honeymoon adventures backpacking in Europe in 1970, happy to know that they too faced unscrupulous unethical bullies while in college, happy to share my adventures of living in London and traveling the planet.
I live in tornado country. Storms to me are like eating chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven. They are part of who I am. I learned early in life that on storm nights we moved to the basement or the storm cellar and camped out while my dad perched on the front porch waiting and watching.
The sky grows dark, the clouds boil and spin, hail pummels everything. And if conditions are just right, a tornado drops from the murk. It is intense, all consuming, powerful beyond words. They can devastate right down to ripping the concrete pavement from the road, leaving a mark on the face of the earth.
And yet no one who lives through them fails to see the irony of what happens on the other side.
When the storm passes, the sky brightens, the sun comes out to reveal a sunset of oranges and reds, blues and purples. The birds sing and chatter as if nothing happened. The grass seems greener than it was before.
That’s how yesterday was. It was that brilliant sunset and perfect calm to ease me back into what I’m writing.
I’m secretly a horror novel fan. I never thought I’d write one. My stories all tend to be mainstream character driven relationship stories. But as a joke, me and a friend started writing vampire stories. I know they’ve been done to death but ours are different. There are no gorgeous handsome teen heart throbs in our novels.
I’d written about 60,000 words on mine and then entered it in a contest. I hadn’t touched it since. Contests don’t usually like you to edit after entry and I’m a born editor, constantly going back and forth between words, changing bits and pieces. So I left it alone for the last four months thinking it was probably all crap anyway.
Today I opened it back up and my mind was racing. I wrote 3,000 words in 90 minutes.
A storm if I ever saw one. A storm I’m going to publish.