For about 6 months, I’ve been thinking, “Y’know, I really ought to dust off my blog and start writing again.”
Several things lit a fire under me to finally get going.
First, I participated in the Spring Western Reserve Writers Conference at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, OH back in March. As one of the “editors in residence”, I got to meet and talk with very creative writers with great book ideas and a metric ton of determination. As I sat in on the mystery writers workshop, I remembered all the fun “partial manuscripts” languishing on my hard drive. A single thought crossed my mind…
When did I stop being a writer?
Something inside me deflated a little.
I think life just took over. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any “sacred space” in my day for writing…I didn’t have any “sacred space” in my day – period! Not for writing, devotionals, exercise, or, for that matter, sleep.
And honestly, it’s not that I don’t write. I write media releases for my new-ish job (I’ve actually had the job almost a year) and I write articles for newsletters. But I also write prayers, meditations, devotionals, and sermons. I’ve tried to write a young-adult mystery, an adult romantic suspense novel, and inspirational women’s fiction. The good ideas flowed freely…for about two days. I’m still in love with the concepts and characters, but maybe this just isn’t the right venue for right now.
Second, after more than a year away from the blogosphere, I finally felt like I knew what I needed to say. As I wrote in the News Flash! area of the blog, I think I stopped writing not because I had run out of things to say, but because I didn’t know how to say them. I’ve been through a lot of personal stuff over the last two years. All of it part of some kind of divine conspiracy. I’m not ashamed to talk about it, but I wanted to be sensitive to my family’s needs and also recognize that while I’m not uncomfortable with some of the topics, others are. However, many times the only way to remove the stigma of a topic is to expose it to the light of day. I caught myself diluting a sermon this weekend because I didn’t want to make someone uncomfortable. As a result, the sermon lost some of its potential impact.
The details of my hiatus will emerge in time and with as much grace and sensitivity as I can allow. But it’s all “life stuff” that people go through every day. Many people experience it and cannot dig their way out because they feel alone. If I can encourage ONE person through something I’ve experienced, then it was worth it.
Third, my dear friend Tara McKinney of Tara McKinney Photography manifests fabulous fashion and creative portraiture. Any fantastical soul image or impression you have percolating inside you, Tara can create. My personal dream is to have her photograph me replicating the painting “Flaming June”. But I digress…
Tara is a champion of beauty, and driving home the fact that all of us are beautiful “as is”. There’s no such thing as perfection. Everyone’s got a flaw somewhere or something they’d love to change about themselves, but Tara sees everyone’s beauty. Any size, shape, color, or age.
She created a portrait of a simply dressed woman who seemed to be emerging from the rocks. Tara asked me to write something to go with the photo – prose or poetry.
When I studied the portrait, all I could think of was “diamond in the rough”. So I wrote a free verse poem to go with the image. It was a lot of fun – a great creative exercise – and it got the creative juices flowing.
I was a little surprise when Tara contacted me about a week ago and said she had a 12-image series she’d submitted for Obscurae Magazine. Would I be interested in writing something to go with the images? With three days till deadline?
Um, sure, yeah, okay. I love a challenge!
“Imperfectly Perfect”, Tara’s series, was not only accepted to the magazine, but selected as the cover photo story. And I got to ride into publication on her creative coattails. 🙂
However, part of that package included providing a link to my web site or blog. I’m a professional writer (technically) but I don’t normally write for projects like this (although I find I enjoy it – a lot!). I no longer have a professional web site because I closed my editing shop more than a year ago…I just do it on the side. And this blog had been dormant for more than a year…
But Tara’s success led me to dust it off partially so they’d have a URL to use for the story, and because….well, it’s just time to write again.
My personal pain and conflict is only a recent memory and sometimes I feel as broken as the porcelain dolls scrutinized through her lens. But I don’t want to be afraid to tell the stories. I’m a story-teller. Always have been.
Thanks, Tara, for the invitation to the Mad Hatter’s tea party.