We writers (and artists in general) know that true art is an expression of ourselves. Whether it be a commission or a free-flowing piece, there must be that little grain of something that says, “This is who I am.”
I’d lost that with “Calypso.” I’d become so focused on the fame and the finish line that I lost sight of why I was writing in the first place: to tell a story. I’d lost my connection to Kira in my multiple attempts to make her more intriguing. I’d lost my connection to the romance and mystique in my failed efforts to create more drama. I’d worn myself out trying to match the political intrigue and mind-games that some of the Greats achieve. I’d lost myself.
I would love to tell you that it’s all better now, but that wouldn’t be true. Perhaps this is any writer’s struggle, the tug between how you want the characters to sound and how you keep your connection to them. I don’t know. I know very few writers who have openly said that they struggle to connect. I can tell you that it is getting better. As I stop demeaning myself, I’m beginning to see the qualities of Kira that are also in me. Rather than seeing myself in the weak, whining, scared child who was my first incarnation of Kira, I can see myself in the overly-righteous, stubborn, logical Kira that is beginning to form. I am finding my connection again.
This may seem trivial to many of you who read this blog. I know it’s not the usual topic I blog about (not that I’ve been blogging much lately), but it’s a major part of my journey. On top of that, if I’m struggling with this I’m sure some other writer somewhere out in the void is having the same problem.
If you are, take heart. Step back and examine what is wrong. Why can’t you connect? What part of your character is blocking you? I’ve been amazed by the complexity of the human spirit. I can at once be the self-effacing girl-child that I first wrote freely, but I can also be the strong leader that is now beginning to flow. Hopefully, the revelation or the struggle helps someone. Otherwise, I’ll be content with discovering more about myself.
Is there such thing as a calling? What is my purpose here on Earth? Is there even such a thing as purpose, or are we mindless drones, set upon a path of anonymity to keep the world turning? I need to know. I need to have something tangible, something I can grab hold of and focus on. I’m tired of simplistic answers. “If your heart is still beating, you have a purpose.” But what is that purpose? And I’m infinitely tired of Sunday school answers. “Your purpose is to glorify God in whatever you do.” That’s all well and good, if God doesn’t mind me spinning aimlessly along on my hamster wheel.
Glory and meaning are in all things, but I am in no way convinced that just anything will do as a purpose. After all, I’ve been taught that each person has a place in the body of Christ. Why then not in the scheme of the world? After all, a nose knows it is a nose. It doesn’t wonder whether it should be an eye or an ear. I wish I had a clue as to what I was meant to be, just like the nose. Instead I am amorphous. I am an anything, able to mold myself to fit whatever is needed of me. I am a jack of all trade and a master of none. I hate it.
Oh, how I envy the few who have the stroke of destiny to weave their tales for profit. I envy their comfort in grasping their purpose, their security in knowing they need only follow that path, their joy in following those dreams. I envy them while I sit anxiously spinning in my wheel, endlessly living check by check in a job I am “suited” for.
With a family and with responsibilities, I am bound by reality. Callings must needs be pushed back, if not forgotten, in the wake of necessity. Food and shelter take priority over that peace of purpose. And the wheel continues to spin. Effort and strength and will drain away. I am going nowhere despite my best efforts.
Perhaps the truth is that I feel helpless. I know my purpose. I see it each time heart strings are plucked by words I have written. I feel it each time the pen touches paper. And yet… I am helpless to follow it. Nothing died that first year of college, and everything was born, but my dreams shifted to the farthest corner of my reach.
Then again, how else is a calling defined but through hardship? Maybe my hamster wheel is not as static as I thought. Maybe the sea around me is not quite so uncertain.
It fills my mind like a fog, a literary fog I can’t seem to shake. Forms appear through the mist, shadows of thought that slip sideways, dark one moment and gone the next. Curls of fog spin their way through my mind, hushing the inner voice and clouding that inner eye.
For a moment, my mind’s eye sees the craggy side of a mountain draped in the golden haze of summer. I see them holding each other, high above the canopy of forest beyond and oblivious to anything but each other. The tree cradles them in its massive arms, a copper head leaning against ebony, their perch overlooking the gilded splendor. I raise my pencil to draw and the image vanishes into the mists of consciousness. Nothing remains but the lingering light of afternoon, faintly golden in the fog.
I drift through my day. I work, I move, I function. Always, though, the thoughts drift through my mind. They hover just out of reach, shadows on the outskirts of vision. Wisps of plot brush my cheek, talntilizing pieces of personality and emotion and scenery.
The threads of fog part and I can feel the pull of her. I can feel the rich hues of that imagined mind: the deep blue of despair, the hot red of anger, the bruised purple of heart ache. It swirls around me, a rainbow of ideas begging to become reality. I pick up my pen to give her whispers body, and they disappear…
It’s a fog I cannot shake. Oh, how I long for the rising sun to burn the mist away. Just one moment – just one! – of peace is all I need. A moment free from the demands of life: the cries of children, the reminder of finances, the call of housework, the needs of family and life and duty. Oh… I wish I had just a moment of sunlight to free myself, but I am stuck in the fog of my mind.