Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I found Myrtle and had an epiphany

If you've been following my twitter and FB feeds, you know that we named the turtle that suddenly appeared in our turtle sanctuary Myrtle the Mystery Turtle. You'll also know that she just as mysteriously disappeared. Well today she reappeared! Yay! You can just barely see her in today's photo. It seems Myrtle was just fine, deep in the mud and safely hidden from the outside world, breathing easy, and coming up for a walk once the mud started drying around her. No worries. And here I thought a chicken hawk had gotten her. Or the rats had.

So what was she doing down there anyway? Hiding? Thinking? Laying eggs?

As writers sometimes we must submerge ourselves in the darkness, or hide away to ruminate or plan or just plain recharge. There's really nothing wrong with this. It's natural. Contrary to the "dig your own hole" analogy, Myrtle was just fine the whole time she was under the mud. I was the one worried about her. She knew what she was doing the whole time. So I guess the ephinany I got from this experience is this: Trust your inner turtle.

Dig where you need to dig. Ruminate when you need to make a choice. Hybernate on a plot point until it makes sense. Come up out of the mud when you need a bit of Vit D or fresh air or just sunlight for sunlight's sake. Somebody is bound to be waiting with berries and a flush of water to wash off that dirt. Your biggest fan, no doubt.  --A. H.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The End and the Beginning

Letting go. Hanging onto a tree branch, with no way to get back on top of it, my arms too weak to lift me, I clung to that sticky branch that smelled of sap. The crumbling bark, the texture of ribbed cardboard, still managed to scratch my sunburnt skin.

"Let go!" the neighbor boy yelled up to me. He was a lanky bully with big teeth but he wasn't picking on me. He was having a moment of compassion. "You'll be okay."

"Will you catch me?"  My nose was running and I pressed it to my shoulder, wiping tears and snot on my T shirt. I sniffed.

"It's not that far," he hollered back. "Don't be afraid. At worst your ankles will just sting."

I knew that feeling, from summer days spent jumping from the haymow. Miss the straw and a shock like live electricity sends a jolt from toe to head. The aftershock always buzzed in the ankles.

My elbow cracked. I took a deep breath. But I was really scared. It seemed far to fall. But then my rational mind argued. I'd jumped from much higher places. Why was I so afraid? It made no logical sense.

But I was afraid because it was this time. Not last time. But this time, right now.

I took in another deep breath then a third. I thought I might count to three, but then my mind went blank, less than a split second after I made a mental shift. It was a decision. As simple as that. Let go. No terror. No worries. Numb. Let go.

I let go.


Today I launch the first book of a series I've been working on for 26 years. This blog is dedicated to the writing process and the psychological journey we all go through as writers. Sometimes we seek medication, sometimes meditation, and sometimes a bottle of sweet Riesling. Few if any are immune to the moment--the ramping up before the jump. The nervous energy before sitting down. And sometimes there is that one story you want to keep for yourself, or maybe you want to share, but it has just gotten too close, stuck into your skin like a piercing you chose.