So when we left off, I had just returned home from Stinko’s after having been told that my disk with the entire contents of what was to be my new book had somehow been lost…only to have my computer, which contained not only the book’s contents but EVERYTHING ELSE important in my world at that moment…fatally crash!
I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t laugh. I had trouble breathing. I went from plotting murder to plotting suicide to just being plain sad for a month or two. I understand now that I was in mourning. I didn’t write much for the rest of that year. I think I was afraid to commit to caring about something I’d created again. I guess you could say I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s very possible.
It was a very long time before I could even consider writing in a creative capacity. And when I did, it…well, it sucked, honestly. I remember for a long time managing to find a way to shoehorn “The Book That Got Away” into almost every conversation I had. Yeah, it was bad.
I threw myself into reading. At least when absorbed in a world created by a talented author, I have the comfort of good storytelling to wrap around my frenzied brain which longs to release it’s own imagery but cannot.
Poppy Z. Brite became my muse. Clive Barker became my role model. Stephen King remained a trusty friend. I also absorbed philosophy and academic studies on race, gender and politics. Biographies of interesting cultural figures gave me insight into myself as an artist, a creator, an interesting personality.
Over time, I was able to find comfort in the desire to write again. That desire, unfortunately, was still doing battle with my nagging fear. I do hold to the belief that the things that frighten us are the things we should definitely do. And Lord knows, my ego wouldn’t allow me to deprive the world of my creativity for too, too long. AND the best way to get back into swimming sometimes is to start at the shallow end.
So I began re-writing some of the smaller pieces that I had lost. I went from memory, of course, so the basic tone and style were intact. The little details got tweaked here and there. Some ideas were expanded. Others were replaced by better ones. I found my rhythm again. I was able to fully absorb myself into my work without breaking the flow with a Look, Ma! I’m writing again! moment.
I soon began incorporating my writing into my performances. Audiences seemed to enjoy the work. My confidence returned.
As more time went along, writing had worked its way into the fabric of almost all of my creative work. I have even entertained the thought of attempting another book. Luckily, technology being what it is, the risk of the work being lost forever is greatly reduced.
Now, alongside the multiple adjectives used to describe myself, I can comfortably include “writer.” It’s true again. And I’m so thankful. But I’ll never forget that pain of loss and fear…it’s a powerful tool.