These great ideas for characters and scenes come spilling out of me with words which, when I read back over them in places, I barely remember writing. Some of the passages are good. Very good.
Most of it's babbling nonsense, stream of consciousness, disconnected and shallow. It lacks depth, heart, work and devotion. I write of my dreams, my fantasies as if this novel were a journal of the me I began imagining in my youth. Struggling with a real story, a path for these poor characters to take one way or another, I just stop writing for a time. I shrug it off as a simple, unimportant flight of fancy of a mother and wife and secretary who so desperately wishes to share something meaningful, or at the very least provide an escape for others like me.
But it's always there waiting. The words on the pages anticipate that I can mold them into something of substance. And I'm letting them down. I'm letting myself down.
The question begs, then, if this is something that I really want to do, why aren't I doing it?
Time. Fear. Education.
When does a mother of two toddlers, a wife of a deserving husband, a secretary, a friend, a daughter, an aunt, a back-up singer, a Christian, a woman who is blessed with so many cherished relationships that are so worthy of her time and energy; when does that woman have time to devote to something as selfish and consuming as writing a book? I already have precious little time, most of which is spent with people I love doing significant things I care deeply for. I write when I can. But merely fitting it in here and there is not enough. It's suffering because of it. But better my relationships suffer for my book?
Rich suggested a smart compromise where I wouldn't have to take time from anyone but myself, but then fear comes in. Were I to make the time, would I fare any better? Maybe I'm just an essay writer. Maybe that's as far as this gift goes. I'm afraid of revealing that. By not giving this book the air it needs to really catch fire, there's no possibility that I might fail miserably and be forced to live with my mediocrity. By not trying, at least I still have hope.
Beyond my beloved English/literature classes in high school, I have no education to write. While my college education in criminal justice/criminal law has served me well thus far (note a hint of sarcasm), I'm still at a loss to fulfill my dream shared my millions - to write a novel that doesn't suck. It's no wonder I cannot figure out a plot, create a compelling storyline, organize the thoughts that bounce around in my head or control how they come out on paper. I don't know how. There are books on the subject, a couple of which I've read, but they pale in comparison to a good teacher. The chance I had in college to cast aside my fear and actually grow (see My Life as a Penguin, if you are so inclined) was wasted. And to take a class now, well, that would take more time, now wouldn't it?
Whining...I know I'm whining.
I am blessed. If I can't give air to but one of my passions when I am living out so many others, then that's fine. I'm almost embarrassed to post this when there is so much suffering and hate and ugliness in so many people's lives. Who am I to complain about one tiny aspect of an otherwise truly blessed life? I am grateful for everything I am and have, for everyone I love and who loves me. I genuinely am.
But here's the thing. I don't want to teach my kids to fear or apologize for their passions (unless they are really twisted, in which case we'll have to involve a therapist). I want them to live as boldly, compassionately, faithfully and grandly as the greatest expanse of their minds and hearts allow. Whether that be lives filled with monumental dreams or simple ones, I want them to believe that those dreams are attainable. But at what expense do I teach that lesson?