I am currently obsessed with character driven drama’s. I devoured Orange is the New Black and I’m currently watching the final season of The Killing. I appreciate these two shows particularly because they attempt to show a multitude of facets of the human psyche through behavior and relationships. I appreciate these shows because they continually show me that things aren’t so black and white. Humans are flawed, beautiful creatures and everyone has elements of good and bad.
I am exploring these same things in my current works. I am also having to explore these themes in my personal life as well. I had to make a decision last night that surprised me. Upon reflection, I realize that I agreed to something that I typically wouldn’t because I am a human who values compassion…and I couldn’t withhold that compasion from someone even though I wanted to. Even though they have been less than compassionate to me.
I don’t say this to toot my own moral horn, believe me, I am not always the “good guy”. However, I think it bears writing about because acknowledging my need to be compassionate is acknowledging part of who I am at my core. If I can see and acknowledge this about myself, I have an easier time teasing out the core of my characters.
I also have been extremely angry lately. I’m not going to be on the nightly news, don’t worry, but I am finally allowing myself to feel anger in the present moment without distancing myself from it. It can scare me, because the force of it in my body can be intense. I have been so good at hiding my emotions for most of my life, that feeling anger and letting it process naturally, still feels foreign. Even though I’ve been working on this for years. Understanding my anger also helps me understand characters and why they might explode in one situation and simmer silently in another.
I know that character flaws can be troublesome. However, I think it is the supposed flaws in the humans around me (myself included) that are leading me to be a better writer.
It’s liberating to dig deep to find what is hidden. Scary, because you don’t know what you’re going to uncover, but exciting at the same time. I am learning this in my personal life, creative life and especially in my writing. I think I have been frightened to dig deep in my writing because I was afraid of what darkness I would uncover. How could I share such things? What would my parents think?
Over the last two years, I’ve worked really hard with the help of an amazing therapist to process my feelings in the present and work through the past. I’ve learned how to not tuck these dark emotions away and just feel them. It was very hard, it still is honestly, but it also has gotten easier to let myself go there. Anger and shame have been especially hard to process because they were emotions that I had become especially good at hiding away.
I know I am a healthier human now that I’ve learned how to be present with all my emotions. I know I will be a better writer as well. I can still worry about what other people might think of these new stories, but I am willing to deal with those feelings as they arise. I believe in these stories and the human beauty I might find when I pull back the layers and start to really dig.
What are you afraid of uncovering in your own work?
It was sweltering hot today. I met a friend for lunch and we noticed that a Pinkberry had opened in the same shopping center. We decided it would be a nice way to cool down. So did everyone else in the Metro area, so we decided to skip it. I ended up spending an hour or so at Barnes and Noble and getting a refreshing Green Tea Frapachino instead.
This weekend didn’t really happen like I planned, but I got my homework done and last night I had a huge break through with The Lost. I have been writing daily again these last two weeks and that has been a break through in/of its self, but I’ve been searching for my original outline to focus the second half of the book. I found the outline on Saturday, yet it didn’t offer any of the plot enlightenment that I was needing. On Saturday night I watched two new babies and after they went to sleep, I finished my homework faster than I expected. With an hour and a half left before the parents came home, I started to work out the bugs and re-outline the rest of the book. Like a woman on fire, I wrote with a fever I hadn’t experienced in a long time with this project. Ten pages later, I feel like I found my inner compass again and I’m ready to head back into the proverbial woods.
I also got into a spat with my mom tonight. We’ve been doing so well lately. I’ve been really trying not get defensive about things or be too sensitive, but tonight I just couldn’t keep it in. I hate fighting with her, but we’re both so stubborn. She thinks she needs to tell me specific, obvious things and it succeeds in making me feel small, stupid and ready to explode. I realized tonight that her need to point out the obvious in the situation tells me on a sub-conscious level that I’m not capable of handling my own life – even the simplest of tasks.
As an artist, hell even as a human being, I struggle with the confidence to believe I am competent and skilled. It hit me like a ton of bricks tonight that this same boxed-in feeling that my mom elicits in these fights, is the same infuriating and suffocating box I inhabit when I allow my inner critic to silence my creativity before it even can come to the page.
I don’t want to blame my mom for this because I’m not a victim. Now that I’ve made this connection, I can consciously choose to believe this lie about myself or believe the truth – that I am capable of living my life and making my art without the approval or input of my mother or any one else. The irony of it all is how obvious this connection should have been, but it took the same exhausting heated argument I’ve had a million times with my mom to see it. Maybe I did need her to point it out to me – this time.
I yelled at God today. I screamed at him actually. Really, really loud. I also wore black liquid eyeliner today, so as I threw a temper tantrum I looked a hell of a lot like Tammi Faye Baker.
I am fully aware that millions of people are frustrated and pissed that life isn’t really working out well lately and I am not the only human schmuck that the Almighty has to worry about, but today, I had to rip God a new one.
I have been on an emotional roller coaster that has come to a head last week and certain events early this morning just threw me right over the edge.
I yelled and screamed and afterward, I felt a little better.
I know I am here for a purpose and I am trying to follow my own yellow brick road, but sometimes when everything is caving in around me, I lose it. I take comfort in the fact that God already knows this about me and has probably come to expect it from time to time.
I’m not sorry I yelled at God. Sometimes you have to yell at someone and he was the only option today. I also know I am being cared for whether I can see it or not at the moment…I choose to believe that against all evidence to the contrary.
I believe that God likes us to yell every once in awhile, because at least we’re communicating. Now I just have to be open to listening to his reply.