I believe that all great hurdles in life—both the ones we choose for ourselves and the ones fate chooses for us—follow a series of predictable steps. The fact that these steps are predictable should mean we are prepared and yet inevitably, I am blown away by them.
This would be a good time to admit that I actually exist with a running list of Buffy quotes in my head and feel pressed to add that Anya/Joss Whedon made my point better than I ever could in End of Days (Season 7):
Anya: Well, I guess I was kinda new to being around humans before. But now I've seen a lot more, gotten to know people, seen what they're capable of and… I guess I just realized how amazingly screwed up they all are. I mean, really, really screwed up in a monumental fashion.
Anya: And they have no purpose that unites them so they just drift around blundering through life until they die... which they know is coming yet every single one of them is surprised when it happens to them. They're incapable of thinking about what they want beyond the moment. They kill each other, which is clearly insane... and yet here's the thing. When it's something that really matters, they fight. I mean, they're lame morons for fighting but they do. They never... they never quit. So I guess I will keep fighting, too.
Ahh, Buffy (I miss that show huge).
Anyway, I know that when I ramp up to put out a book, the inevitable letdown is just around the corner. This time was no worse than before, but still, I found myself staring at walls, looking around at my house and realizing that I hadn’t really noticed anything in it for the past few months (note: my dogs are well fed, loved, and cared for... my plants, not so much). I remembered that I do have some mighty nice friends whom I last saw... before the ramp up. I experienced the odd loneliness of a person who’s lived in fiction for months and only now notices that these characters aren’t actually real.
I wondered about myself, feeling a disconnect, an uncertainty about who I am and what I want that led to some really healthy questioning of purpose. But this is where I think our chosen goals and the ones forced upon us are similar. After every great adventure or terrifying experience, we are changed, sometimes subtly and sometimes monumentally. We can’t expect to be who we were before the event. We need to be open to getting to know ourselves right now and accepting that changes don’t show on our faces and the people we are close to can’t always see our new perspectives, just as we can’t see their changes.
I guess what I’m saying is, we need to be a lot less fixed about assuming we know ourselves and anyone else. Most of the great hurdles in our lives happen without an audience. I know, for me, publishing my books, journeying through my characters' lives, changes me. Builds empathy in me for not just the imaginaries in my life, but the reals. I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack and ask the questions that need to be asked.
Who am I today and what do I want in my life? (Rinse, and repeat.)
For me, I’m already working on the next draft of Book 4 in my series (coming out in December), so the question has been asked and answered. I am where I want to be, doing what I am meant to be doing. There is a wonderful sense of peace in accepting the answers and that all of the prices we pay to do what we love are worth it.
Also, and a reason to smile, The Wild Wood was reviewed by IndieReader. Here is an excerpt:
“An absolutely brilliant, haunting, and painfully beautiful young adult novel, spiced with romance, magic, and danger. Cecily is a fully-realized, vividly-drawn heroine, battling between fear and faith, love and betrayal, struggling with the scars of her past.”
To read the full review, click here.
Book 3 in the Sevens series, The Barren Way, is now available on Amazon.
To check out other IWSG posts, find the master list here.