Getting back to a neutral space

underwaterI’ve been finding it difficult to write.  No one sees the value in me writing.  Being a writer or artist is discounted when weighed against what is considered “more tangible;” degrees, titles and work experiences I can put on a resume.  “Writer” isn’t a title, it’s something anyone can claim.  Writing isn’t a respected art in my world.  I’m not respected as much as someone who earns a degree they may not even use, even though I’ve committed myself to a lifetime of learning by constantly striving to be a better writer, artist, human being and responsible spirit.

I am constantly practicing how to prune dialog into raw emotion, word order or sentence sequence and how to choose between many words that mean similar things but evoke different emotions and outcomes.  Like the difference between denial, ignorance, inexperience and naiveté.  These words all have the same characteristics superficially, but the roots are different.  As a result, the motivations and reactions also differ. They can all be the reason why a wife hadn’t accepted her husband was gay but they would all invoke different levels or focuses of empathy and require a different response.

Readers would want to protect the naive’ wife and they would hate her husband.  The naive’ wife would only know what she was told. She would be completely trusting, open and possibly indecisive because he was her protector.  Her husband leaving her, for a man would rock her world and change her view of reality.  The naive’ wife may question whether there is a God, stop believing in love and she may even give up on the idea of ever having a family which initially was her dream.

Readers would want to tell the inexperienced wife who isn’t innocent, she is a down to earth person who has come to terms with who she is.  She married her husband even though she sometimes felt he was a little bit too in touch with his emotions, because she once dated bad boys and decided she wanted someone who knew how to treat her.  In fact, she appreciated having a husband who could relate to her.  Often, her friends envied their relationship.  On top of that, her husband taught her how to love and nurture her own spirit.  They didn’t make love a lot, but she liked he wasn’t so focused on her body because she didn’t want to be objectified. She liked that they had a spiritual connection.  He was her best friend before he was her husband.  He’d been dependable and long suffering, waiting for her to notice him.  Later on in the novel she will find that sometimes when people are gay, they often idealize/idolize someone they think is intangible.  She will also realize there were a lot of clear signs he was gay, but she didn’t know any gay people in the small town they grew up in.

While readers will hate the wife who is in denial and possibly feel sorry for her husband.  She denied her husband the right to be himself.  She knew he was gay but thought they made a good match.  He was handsome, tall, came from a good family, went to the right schools and worked in a career that afforded her the lifestyle she’d dreamed.  In fact she blackmailed him into marrying her and demanded he never date another man.  Then she turned a blind eye to his absences.  She knew that he was using her as a cover up, she knew of many of his lovers.  In fact, whenever they actually had sex she made sure he wore a condom.  On top of that she forced him to be tested regularly.  Not to mention she had her own affairs.  When he left her saying he was in love and coming out, he declared war.  A war she intended to win.

While the ignorant wife, we may be able to relate to.  We all have things we ignore because we are afraid of our own darkness.  When the ignorant wife’s husband stopped wanting to have sex with her, made their entire relationship about their children and started being with his “best friend” all the time, that was rumored to be gay, she ignored it. She ignored him spending the night out all the time, because deep down inside she felt like she’d failed.  She ignored all the warning signs, when he started to separate their bank accounts and took to sleeping in the guest bedroom, because she always thought that marriage was forever.  Whenever she went to touch him and he was cold, she told herself all marriages went through times when one partner wasn’t particularly fond of the other. It wasn’t until he moved out and told her he’d put their house on the market, did she accept she’d lost him.

In each of these scenarios the wife’s name is Sandy.  In each of these scenarios Sandy has the same facial features, but her hair, clothing and body weight will be different based on whether I chose to make her naive’, ignorant, inexperienced or in denial.  In each of these scenarios, her husband name is Herbert and everyone calls him Herb.  Depending on one word, how we feel about Herb changes and so does his career so it’ll fit his personality and the story line… In each of these story lines Sandy has a picture perfect life but not each Sandy has had children, all because of one word.

I shared all this to validate how serious I am about writing. I resent the people around me who think it is ok to ask me to put off my dream while they reach theirs, because their dreams are more “realistic” and more “tangible.”  I’ve always felt art required more work and dedication than the roads most traveled.  You have to make a life instead of finding comfort in conformity.

Writing is a meditation.  Writing requires writers to live more lives, take more chances and have more experiences.  Then sit with these other lives and choices we’ve made on behalf of our characters to sift for the jewels in each birth and death.  I have to concentrate and disappear to arrive in whatever world I am creating, exploring and sharing.  I have to feel the grass under my feet to write about walking barefoot in the country.  I have to go into it peacefully, abandoning whatever extreme feelings I have about my own life.

So I’ve been having a hard time writing, because I don’t want to write in resentment, isolation, alienation or rebellion.  I want to write in relativity, divinity and peace. I want to write because it is my calling.  Is that unrealistic?

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