Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fear, Hope, and Harry Potter

Apparently I am afraid. Afraid of my story ending. Afraid I don’t know how to end it. Afraid of what people will think of it. Afraid that I will never finish it. Afraid I won’t get the agent I have set my sights on. Afraid that to get published I will have to change too much. Afraid that it won’t matter what I change, it still will not be published. Afraid that even if it is it won’t sell. Afraid that after all of the time and energy spent it will be for naught. Afraid that I will never know because I’ll never finish it.

I have learned so much throughout this process. From the writing, and the even the not writing. (and from writing other things along the way) From two years of SCBWI membership. From 7 ½ years working in a public library. From many wonderful authors, their books and blogs, twitter and facebook pages. I am very grateful and indebted to so many people that I have never met. The internet is a hell of a thing.

In all of this fear and self doubt, I still have hope. It is hope and faith that have gotten me up this morning, but fear and doubt that have me writing a blog post rather than delving into my manuscript. Oh yes, I am a terrific procrastinator. Terrific. It may be my greatest talent.

Re-establishing my pattern is the goal of this week. We have been through every virus out there, helping to keep me in bed when I should be doing other things, like writing. Enough sickness. Enough procrastinating. Enough fear and doubt. I will never know if I don’t just do it. I have been over and over the process. My mind is ready to send first pages and a query letter off to the aforementioned agent, but my manuscript is not…..yet. More work. More hours sitting in the quiet early morning hours with this old laptop in my lap typing and retyping scenes.

I can do this. I believe that writing is my “personal legend” and it is high time that I take the horse by the bit and make it do what I want. We’ve wandered aimlessly long enough.
The urge to be somewhere warm is strong this winter. I do enjoy the snow we’ve had, but am ready for spring…..or, you know, Hawaii.

Books. I’ve been terrible lately. For months I’ve had some kind of block that has kept me from both writing and reading. It has been kind of painful. As therapy, I decided to listen to all of the Harry Potter books on audio, an idea originally planted by this post at Bookmoot (thank you Camille). Really, this was an excellent decision. Harry’s story was exactly what my soul needed, and who better to deliver the balm than Jim Dale. I laughed, I cried, I yearned for magical abilities. It was cathartic. Just what I needed. But as I finished book seven I felt bereft. As though I had come to the end of a journey only to find I was right back where I had started from. In some ways, I suppose that is exactly what happened. Yet I did not remain unchanged by the journey.

A bit of background; I first listened to Harry Potter (books 1-5) with my father-in-law. He was ill and listening to the books over and over gave him comfort. My sister-in-law and I took turns sitting with and caring for him while my Mother-in-law worked, so I would hear a good portion of one book, come back and he would be on an entirely different book. I had seen the first two movies (all that were out at the time) but had not yet read the books. (My daughter had read the first four.) We would talk, when we weren’t just listening and dozing, about many things, but he loved to share his ideas about where the series was headed. He and his daughter disagreed about one or two points (he knew Harry and Ginny would end up together, she thought it would be Hermione), and though he didn’t live to see that he was right, I relished the facts for him. For me Harry’s story is forever intertwined with the mingled joy and sadness of those days spent with my father-in-law, a man for whom life ended far too soon. For him, I re-listened to the books, in order this time, after he passed. For him I voraciously read book 6 when it was released, I reveled in the fact that he was right about Ginny. I sobbed when Dumbledore died. Book seven was for me. I had come to care deeply about these characters and their fictional lives.

I re-lived all of the joys and sadness as my son and I read the series together over the course of many bedtimes. I wanted to stop after book 5 and let him read the last two when he was a bit older, but he talked me into reading them. We would stop and cry at the appropriate moments. Laughter was infectious when he found the humour. Lengthy discussions took place long after he should have been asleep some nights. So now it became a connection between my son and I. This, as well as the joy of a well told, well crafted story is why I love the Harry Potter series. I would love the opportunity to someday tell Ms. Rowling how much she brought into our lives. (As a writer, I would also love to talk with her and ask her many questions.)

I don’t know if I was going anywhere with that…..

Hope all are well. Thanks for stopping in to read my ramblings.

The above was written over a week ago……*sigh*

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