Some peace while putting the pieces together

I am creating this at the new coffee shop in town. The owner and I just talked about a concept we're calling a "bright ripple". The bright ripple starts with one, builds to two, and keeps growing. It's positive action growing exponentially until it creates a tsunami of bright beauty and chases off the dark. Everyone get your boards and surf the ripple!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Words-How'd They Become My Life?

It's odd to think back through my history as a writer. I remember in my youth struggling to read, write and make any sense of my days at school. Somehow, I always felt alien. Given the chance, I'd always sit where I could watch everyone in the class (what this means I don't know). My elementary experiences with writing were often terrorizing; I couldn't get cursive down and was often asked to "Write each word 10 times" or some other lame approach to teaching.

In third grade, I was in a special room. To get up to Mrs. Bowen's room we had to climb narrow staircases up to our class; it seemed to float above the rest of the school. Our isolation was somehow earned and rumor had it we were kind of outcasts set to sea with a mad woman at the helm. Her approach to teaching was to pace behind us kids, ask a question, and physically choke us if we didn't answer quickly enough (see if you can get away with this in today's classroom!). Her mantra shouted in your ear was, "Answer me! Answer me!". I still nearly poop my pants thinking about her!

Through my grade school and up into high school, I can't say I ever had an "Aha!" when I thought I must become a writer. I had moments of brilliance hidden in unending crazies of home and school life. I actually saved a couple of pieces of writing from way back then. They're pretty fun to look at and, yeah, my handwriting sucked.

I did once promised a Beloit professor I would one day write a book. I sat across the desk from her. She was a serious writer. An aged New England woman, who shuddered to recall the McCarthy Era, shocked her freshmen students by dedicating one of her lectures to the history of the word fuck. Anyhow, I went to her office to explain why I was dropping her class, told her I would one day write a book, she nodded (I think) and signed my form; that was that.

I enjoyed very little of my graduate schooling. The anthropology department was hidden in a complex designed for student housing. We had plenty of room...but it was serious mouse maze! I quickly learned much of graduate level learning had to do with politics. I was never much for politics. I had difficulty with some of the staff. I found my long history of panic attacks started sometime in my first semester (if you read my entry "Morgellons Spectrum", this is where the spectrum began for me).

My writing experience in graduate school sucked. I enjoyed it about as much as a colonoscopy. Really, it was that bad! Four years of my life later my MA was published and likely read by a handful of archaeologists; I suspect most disagreed with my conclusions (who could blame was a pretty lame piece of research). To make matters worse, the editor misspelled my name. Anyhow, I can't say I got excited about writing from those years!

So, when did writing begin for me? Interestingly, it came one morning when I was living at Crystal Boarding School out on the Navajo Nation. I woke up one morning from a dream and decided it made a great story. It felt cosmic. I started writing down this story (a mystery involving an old typewriter and clues rewriting Hitler history...silly stuff).

And I've been writing since. Yesterday, I signed two more book contracts. So, currently I am under three contracts for books and waiting for word on a fourth. This didn't come easy. I've been sending off manuscripts, synopses, and query letters for almost six years. It is work, but I love it! I'm especially keen on finishing a story or scene when I'm in the middle of it (I get motivated because I want to see how it turns out). I think everybody should write. Why not!

It may seem this post is off the Morgellons's path. Not really. I have used my writing to share, build and clarify my understanding of this condition. I can't say I'd even intended on writing extensively about a medical mystery. I feel it is my duty, my gift, and my reason for getting well. The "Big Bus Driver in the Sky" insist I write...and he doesn't seem to mind my penmanship.

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