Hiatus is a more apt descriptor than I had realized, given that the reason for the break is that something was missing and the example used in the definition is a manuscript. Something has been missing from my manuscript. Me.
Last Autumn saw me struggling with a failure of courage such as I have never felt. How do we get to be well along into adulthood before it occurs to us to look down at our squelching boots and see that what we took to be firm ground is anything but. That was me. I found out first hand what people meant when they referred to anxiety and panic. I withdrew from everything and everyone except my writers group and tried to keep breathing.
People don’t like it when you do that. It’s very threatening. We are so dependent upon one another to pull our weight in hauling out the big lie that is the status quo every day and I never ever have wanted to live like that. Since I began spending my days writing it seems I have been peeling back layers, always exposing what lies beneath to the light of day. I thought I had gotten to the rocky substrata awhile ago, but I had not.
When you are working every day on creating something, that peeling back of layers in search of truth never ends. As a writer it is my job to perceive every little nuance of human interaction, to turn it over in my mind, and remember it well. By writing, expressing myself, and creating something in this way, I discover what is real and what is meaningful to me. I shed the old behaviors that I thought protected me from unkindness. So I find myself exactly where I need to be to write and where I have always wanted to be – raw, vulnerable, and wide open. I let go of my corner of the status quo, the veneer that covers up those layers.
I have started writing again and I know that what I have been through was necessary in order to dig deeper in my writing than I have before. My characters are more layered and imperfect.
Even this, as hard as it was, fuels my art and keeps the muses alive.
¹Webster’s New World Dictionary, Second College Edition, The World Publishing Company, ©1968