I'm a big fan of life lessons. The more you know about yourself, the fewer gotchas can tangle you up forever. Mind you, it doesn't take away the pain. Everything must cycle in life. Arrest that, and you get stagnation. So sometimes, you have to venture into the woods and get lost. Being aware of who you are is the map out. You'll get the cuts and scrapes, but you're not trapped as long as you've that map. However, there are moments when that philosophy is harder to stick to than you'd think. Sometimes, you can't help but flinch.
For a long while, I've been feeling empty. The writing was a slog. Nothing felt shiny anymore. I'd have been fine if I felt like I'd been lost in the woods. I love trees. But it felt like a desert--nothingness for miles. I kept trying to retrace my steps. The thing that frightened me most was the idea that I'd never find my way back. That somehow there was this limited allotment of creative joy, and that I'd used all of mine up. We've all seen creatives who only have so much in them--or seem to. That thought terrifies me. I've sacrificed so much to be here. More importantly, Dane has too. The idea that deciding against having children, of giving up having things my peers took for granted, of living in constant fear of there not being enough money, of working and working and working on my skills as a writer...of doing all that and then having my dream dry up three novels in was too horrible to contemplate. Then the migraines came. I felt like everything was falling apart. I felt so negative about everything. Even my brain was betraying me, damn it.
Months ago, I started being drawn to images of water. I figured it was just my subconscious connecting with one of my characters and/or remembering Ireland. So, screensaver settings on ocean. Then I began to understand I didn't allow myself time to think anymore. I was so busy studying my craft that I'd crammed every second--walking and even sleeping--with something to learn. Three days ago, I stopped doing that. It was time for a break. I began to listen to myself. I prepared for the worst. The scary thoughts or whatever are okay. The dark part of the forest is just fine. At least it's a forest. You like trees. And in doing that, I found my way back to the joy. Big time. I can't believe that sometimes it's that simple, but it is.
Also? The biggest migraine trigger for me? Apparently it's dehydration.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.