Today was my monthly RWA chapter meeting. I looked forward to it with a mixture of hope and dread. Hope because I love these people. They're my writing family. They get me (even if they think I'm weird, especially when I talk about mimes.). The dread was because I've been in crisis mode lately. Yes, again. Or maybe, still. Definitely still.
I've been analyzing the way I've felt and am feeling quite a bit the past few days and today really did help put things into perspective, though I'm still a little ways from being healed. Over the past few months, I've dealt with several major blows. Okay, a lot of them. And we're only talking career-wise, not the trauma and turmoil that's gone on in my house. I picture myself as a cockroach under the heel of a steel-toed work boot. Crushed. Or like a dragonfly and my wings have been pulled off. I work hard at my writing career because I want it so badly. I know I can maintain a long term career. I know I can be a full time author even with my hectic family life. And, like I said, I want it.
In my crushed state, I didn't/don't care. I don't write. I don't think about it, except with a grimness that scares the crap out of me. I even gave myself permission to quit, but the very thought filled me with a dark sickness that didn't leave until I decided that idea was ludicrous. Knowing I can't quit does help, but it doesn't propel me to the keyboard except to play the treasure hunting game I'm enamored with. I open the document, move my cursor to the right line and...stall. I re-read the short story I'm working on and get to the portion where I need to add more words and I stall. I wonder what the point is, why I try so hard, why I keep coming back to something that continuously beats me to a bloody emotional pulp.
We had a pep talk session at the meeting, because I'm not the only one struggling right now. I wrote down a few of the inspirational things said because despite knowing them and saying them on a regular basis I needed to remember them for myself. Then, I helped critique a friend's story and as I was going through her pages, I could feel that spark. It was dim and sad, but still there - shoved in the back behind my emotional baggage and the chaos of life. I'd like to say I grabbed that tiny flame and how my touch turned it into a roaring bon fire, but that would be a lie. But I at least reached for it. I want to hold it in my hands again and feel its pulse. I want to hear it breathing. I want it to lead me to purposeful writing time and the joy that brings.
After today, I remember why I do this. Because I love it. Because I have stories to tell. Because it's who I am at my core. And I know I won't quit. I'll stay a cockroach even if I occasionally get a face full of toxins or the business end of a well-placed heel, because after all, a cockroach can live through a nuclear blast and sometimes that's what this feels like to me.
And, while I'm not full of the joy quite yet, it's there enough for me to purposefully nurture. I have enough back to want to do something - to reclaim what's mine and move forward. I do know that it's something I will never give up, even if I never get that publishing contract or the career I envision. And that feels significant to me. (unless the mimes arrive)
I think I might just be okay.