An Epiphany, of Sorts

A couple of late nights/ early mornings ago, I tended to a very unhappy Daniel (teething pain woke him up at 3am, and he cried himself to full-blown awake-but-miserable instead of settling back down).  After changing his diaper and rocking him back to sleep, I couldn’t get back to sleep myself until well after 4am.

In that hazy, not-asleep-but-not awake interlude, my mind lazily wandered to its mental To-Do list: work things,  Daniel things, financial management things, family things… and it skipped to wondering if my biological mother was even alive and whether she missed me or not if she were… which slipped into thinking about my writing… which stopped to my last attempt to write a novel.

And that was when it hit me:  that I had no desire to write a novel or to even craft a short story these days.   Maybe all of that teaching and reading did it (after all, I end up grading 500+ essays every semester).   That’s a lot of compositions to go through with a fine tooth comb.

But I don’t think that’s it.

Something happened in me that finally shut down that little girl who wrote about worlds to escape in.  For what that past-4am epiphany was realizing this: every piece of fiction that I wrote was a way for me to escape from the Real World, to cover up and not deal with the messiness and sometimes just pure hell that the Real World throws at every person who lives.

Oh, sometimes that escape was silly and simple, like what I wrote when I was ten, all the way up through college.  Sometimes that escape was angsty, emo-ladened dreck.  Sometimes that escape was an amateurish pastiche of my favorite authors at the time.  Sometimes it was what my MA thesis advisor called “Fact/ion” — that is, a fictional memoir (which was what my MA thesis was that I hadn’t meant to write).

All of them to escape into another world of my making, a form of “let’s pretend” that I enjoyed doing ever since I was a little kid because, well, my childhood was a roller-coaster of wonderfulness, with a handful of shittyness thrown in there that made me face things that no child should ever have to face.

But I haven’t been doing any of that — even just brainstorming in my head “let’s pretend” little worlds — since I discovered I was going to be a mother.  And what does that mean?  That these attempts at these worlds were just substitutes for children and now that I have one, I no longer need to create fiction?  That the Real World is so much more pressing and more demanding than the fictional worlds that I have crafted but have yet to develop, that my now-frazzled mind can’t handle anything more creative than another PowerPoint slide or a more palatable toddler meal?

I have no answer.  All I know is that after I self-published Rowena’s World: Poems and Short Stories on, I’ve been feeling as if something had finally come to a close.  “That’s done.”   When I threw away all of those notes and half-finished stories and novels (including electronic files) over Christmas break, it actually felt like ballast had finally been let go.

Actually, I discovered one thing that survived the figurative fire: my poor, aborted novel An Island in the Moon.  There’s something good in there, but what it is and where it’s going, I haven’t the energy anymore to see it be born.  But I can’t seem to throw it away because, well, there IS something good there.

So I’ll just post it on this blog in a page.  And if anyone has writer’s block and wants to take it and run with it, be my guest.

Really.  Go ahead.  It’s my gift to you.   And if you can make it work and get it published, wouldn’t that just be so cool?

Anyways, time for me to get to bed.  Daniel wakes up around 6am, no matter what.  And this ex-short story writer needs her sleep.


About lizardqueen

If single-mothering were a paid job, I'd be rich. However, it doesn't, so I write (which doesn't pay the bills) and teach (which does). I'm overly-educated in the liberal arts, but that doesn't hinder my ability to be pragmatic and realistic. YAY.
This entry was posted in AVOCATIONS, Creative Writing, Family & Parenthood, QUIRKS, The Writing Life. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to An Epiphany, of Sorts

  1. Pingback: Darn Star Trek Storytellers! « I Am the Lizard Queen!

  2. lizardqueen says:

    Z: Wouldn’t that be lovely? 🙂

  3. Zathras says:

    If you wrote for escapism, the obvious answer for why you have no interest in it now is that you are happy with where you are right now 🙂

  4. lizardqueen says:

    Z: That’s what so odd — my fiction was for escapism. My non-fiction — like on this blog — is exactly for sharing myself with others.

    I guess what I’m saying is that my fiction writing has gone dead, while my non-fiction/ essay-ish pieces remain. (Ironic, since my MA was in Creative Writing/ Short Story).

    While I haven’t done any fiction-writing in months, I’ve been putting up content here, so I guess I’m not dead as a writer. It’s just the form has changed.

    But the cause for that change… I don’t know. There are plenty of fiction writers who have experienced life-changing events — like parenthood — and are still spinning yarns. Why I can’t seem to string together fictional characters and plot anymore is a mystery to me.

  5. pochp says:

    I think I’m more like Zathras. 55% for readers, 45% for escapism.

  6. Zathras says:

    This is an interesting description of your “why” for writing. My interest in writing were different, almost exactly the opposite from, escapism. I notice in your reason that there is no mention whatsoever of a reader. For me, the reader was the essential reason for writing. I wanted to write in order to convince others that my random thoughts were not insane. Rather than escaping, I wanted to bring others to myself.

  7. lizardqueen says:

    pochp: Hi, and thank you for your suggestion and well-wishes. I very much appreciate them — really, I do! 🙂

    Anyways… the MS is sci-fi/fantasy (as were most of the stories and attempted novels that I would write), although I much enjoy crime/ mystery/ detective fiction. I just never had the knack to ever write one.

    As for my lack of creative energy, it’s like what convivialdingo said. But it’s recent enough that I sort of feel like I’ve been in the grieving process, and I’m finally hitting on the “acceptance” stage, as if I’ve been in denial about my flagging creative-writing energy all of these months.

    But thank you for sharing your comments, both of y’all. It’s always comforting to know that you’re not alone.

  8. pochp says:

    Well, I wish you find your energy again very soon in great amount. I hate to see good art go to waste.
    BTW, I feel I’m starting to lose my energy too. That’s why I understand.

  9. convivialdingo says:

    Wow… I know exactly what you mean. I have had a lot of the same “energies” – but obviously my energies where of a different expression.

    And I haven’t done any of them in a long time. No music, no real software of my own, no art. I’m simply too busy, or tired, or or or…

    Lately though, I’ve found that I am able to share some of those “avocations” with the kids. Hopefully more as time comes along.

  10. pochp says:

    Why don’t you take it to CompletelyNovel and find a co-author?
    If the MS is crime-fiction, I’ll gladly take it.

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