When we are young, we all have this idea of what we are going to become. We’re asked from the time we learn to put words together “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and whatever we say is taken as gospel.
You can have a four-year-old tell you that they want to be a baseball player or a teacher or the flipping president and for some reason, people just assume that it’s their life plan. When successful people comment that they have been interested in their field of study since they were children, it’s respectable. It’s used as proof of how driven and dedicated they have been their whole lives.
For people whose paths are more artistic in nature, sometimes these early declarations are usually met with a nod and a patronizing “OK, we’ll see.” This usually comes from an adult who thinks that as soon as the “real” world sinks it’s claws in the grown-up version of that child, all bets are off. Because of either their own struggle or some cracked personal beliefs, they don’t think that any kid who dreams of a creative life left of the norm (whatever the hell that is) is going to get it. They don’t believe in the dreams or sadly the young artist having them. And those dreamers that do hold on despite the odds, are seen as foolish and those that hold on to that belief thought out their lives are not dedicated, they are seen as foolish.
However, it does seem that when those dreamers hit success later in life those naysayers come out of the woodwork with streams of “I always knew you could!” and “I told you so!” out the ass. Relationships with toxic people are grand, aren’t they?
For me, I was going to be a country singer/songwriter when I was a little girl. (For a while in second grade, I remember saying I wanted to be a NASCAR driver. Then shifting got explained to me.That was the end of that.) While the country music idea was fleeting, I’ve known as long as I can remember that I wanted to be a writer. I’ve touched on this before, when I announced my first publication in Haunted Are These Houses. I’ve also talked about my writings adventures here and here . Since the inception of this blog, my writing has been something I’ve found again. Something I’ve allowed myself to reboot, if you will.
And we all love a good reboot right?
But sometimes, I feel like I talk about it ad nauseam. I worry that I’m a self hype machine. And I worry that it’s annoying. I worry that it’s met with eye rolls and those patronizing head nods from my childhood. I worry a lot, as you can tell. Anxiety is a struggle, and the struggle is motherfucking real.
But sometimes people prove to you that you are the burden you think you have become. Their actions tell you to stop scratching that itch that’s inside your brain. They are heavy handed in their urging that you be a lady and forget about it. Mind your manners and focus on the important things at hand. Sometimes that’s enough to cripple the growth you’ve forced out of yourself. Sometimes it’s enough to let the wave of “real life” wash over you and down out your dreams.
Sometimes it’s not even words. All it takes it one uninterested humph in the middle of an excited spill about your current project for you to understand that your audience doesn’t really care. And if the people you love don’t care, you start to wonder how could total strangers. So this is why I hesitate to talk about my love and enjoyment of writing. This is why the conversations about it begin with a stutter.
But guys, I’m so damn happy to be doing it again. There’s so much going on inside this dome of my mine that I’m not paying attention to that stutter. I’m rattling off to my kids about what I’m doing with characters, I’m boring my husband with my lastest idea. I’ve even started telling my dog what I’m thinking of writing while he’s pooping. (Sidenote: Dogs are THE BEST listeners. They don’t judge you like sassy cats do.) I’m not setting the literary or blogging worlds on fire like I have dreams of, but what I’m able to do is scratching that itch inside my brain.
That itch recently has been leading me down a fictional story path. Not that it’s sent me on some hero’s journey where I’ve had to fight vampires or used dragons to turn cities to dust, I’ve just been more focused on fictional characters and stories and experiences. That is what’s lead to some gaps in post here on the blog and my over all detachment from reality.
I’ve found this nice place between short stories and flash fiction where my stories usually end up. They are creations that are usually fantasy or horror in nature with some sort of magick or magickal person thrown in for good measure. My writing is like my life, craziness with magick sprinkled in.
For me, writing is an event. Some of them are written from a prompt. Some of them start from a prompt and just deviate and turn into something else entirely. Some of them I love and never want to stop writing. Those stories tell me how they want to develop and come to life. They show me how they want to be birthed. Some stories I don’t love at all and just want to end. They are ones I’m usually determined not to get bested by and have to finish so they don’t sit unended and taunting in my Google Docs. Some of the stories have a life of their own and happen before I’m even aware. They guide my fingers and I don’t even remember doing work for them. They just come tumbling out.
It was one of those types of stories that was accepted for Coffin Bell Volume 2, Issue No.2- Magic. It’s called Smoke. (You can follow the link and read it there.) Having my little story featured in that collection is such a huge win for me. There are some excecptionaly talented writers included in that collection. They have some really great work featured. There’s a lot of talent slammed into that collection.
I was looking thought the contributors section and it shocked me. Here were honest to the gods actual writers with impressive credentials that dropped my jaw. And then, there was me with my tongue in cheek, sillyass bio. I mean actual writers! With actual writing degrees! College educated people who understand and use English properly! And then me over here fiddlefucking around on the keyboard making up characters to match the voices in my head and trying to be witty.
As happy as I am to talk about writing, this is another part of my stutter. I’m a college drop out. I ditched college to get married with the intent to go back once I had changed last names and moved to the opposite coast. I was under the impression that I would have a whole new support system that would help me take advantage of a whole new world of oppurtunities. This was not the case. I ended up having babies and then real life and that support system just never developed. So me never getting a degree makes me feel very inferor when it comes to where I stand in the writing world.
But the funny thing is, it only bothers me when I’m plucked from my magic circle of creating. When I’m making up a world or creating horrible things for these characters to go through, I don’t think about it. My impostor syndrome doesn’t kick in until I have to take off the creator glasses and put on the submitter glasses. Then, when the wall between creation and presentation has come down, I feel like I have no place at the table.
And I know it’s not true.
I make worlds and I love it.
Just like how I made babies and how I make this blog, I am a creatrix.
I’m a creatix with baggage sure, but I’m a creatix dammit.
I just want to be able to say,without a doubt, whether I ever write a book or get published again, that I’m a writer.
And I don’t want to feel crappy about it.
I want to stay in that circle where I’m creating things and feeling confident. That’s the face I want to wear all the time.
I’ve got some great ideas blooming. There are two pieces sitting in my Docs that I haven’t finished yet but I’m excited to get back to. I want the world to read them, even if it scares me when I throw them out into open water. Some of the ones I’ve sent out have come back with a rejection letter attached. And that’s okay. The more I do, the more I learn. Who knows, one day I might just self publish all these short stories myself and sell them on Amazon.
I know that some combination of my mental illness and my emotional baggage has me in the situation I’m in. But I think after realizing it, and calling it and myself out, I can start taking steps to fix it. Names and titles have power. Maybe it’s time to just drop the word “aspiring” from my bios. I may not be perfect, educated, or even all that good, but I am a writer.
I just need to believe in it.
And thank you, Dear Readers, for believing in me. You reading and following my words have been the love and support that has gotten me here. Without you, I don’t think any of this would have gotten off the ground.