A singular dark cloud exists over my head at this point in my life. It is a life or death cloud, and one over which I have no control. It doesn’t even involve me, actually, other than the fact that I am related to the person it effects, and I wouldn’t even be mentioning it except for the fact that it creeps into my mind at the most inopportune times and causes anxiety or sadness. However, I am quick to take the steps to get it all under control and to regain my composure, whether that means working it off at the gym, or reaching out to a friend for help.
I just passed the 3rd anniversary of a very traumatic event that occurred in a nearby state. The event was so dangerous and life-threatening that I blocked it out of my mind for weeks after it happened, but when I finally recalled it, I had to undergo PTSD treatment for over a year. I’m fine now. I still get anxious or even depressed when I think about what happened, but I always turn to gratitude and forgiveness when I try to cope, and that really helps. When faced with a life-threatening situation, you don’t just shed the trauma as though it never existed. You learn to integrate it into your life into a less harmful way. Then, it settles in and eventually fades, but can still be recalled. I have forgiven the meth addict that tried to harm me. I feel empathy for him. I refuse to allow him to take over my life and emotions any longer. I am free of him.
Everything else is great.
The retreat business program that I enrolled in is one of the most fascinating endeavors I have ever undertaken. Every time I enter the class portal, I exit having learned more than I could have hoped to learn. The format is stimulating, the material is fascinating and I’m convinced (based on nothing) that the instructors are the best in the business. I love this course, but it is difficult. It takes up a lot of my time, and the homework is intense and difficult….but I struggle through it, and I come out on the other side feeling more secure about where this business is going. THIS is what I was meant to do, and I am finally reaching my goals.
I now have a few coaching clients that pay me with regularity, and I put all that money back into the retreat business. I have a variety of other jobs that ebb and flow, and these funds help, as well. For instance, this morning, I recorded 230 examples of my voice/accent that will be used in certain electronic devices that respond to commands. Next on my plate, comes writing a catalog of jewelry descriptions. I have been hired to fact check another political issue that will take a couple of weeks to research, but that pays well. I also still do my 4-hour fact-checking/verification job for social media each day as well. I have a long editing job, too, and am still writing articles. These are the things that sustain me and keep me afloat while I approach my creative projects…..the things that provide my enthusiasm for life in general.
I am working on an art installation based on stringed instruments for a conference that occurs each year here in the Pacific Northwest. I have completed a mosaic guitar, and am now working on a smaller mixed media piece. This is a difficult piece that has taken a lot of planning, but I feel confident that it’s going to work out well for me. I’m taking a whole new approach to my art that is really paying off, and I am beginning to make a lot more money with it. My work has reached the point of being more in demand. I am asked to make commissions more often, and receive inquiries more than I used to. I have turned a corner.
I am also making great progress on my novel. I write for 2 hours each morning regardless of what else I have going on that day. It even comes before work deadlines. I have been working on this novel for too many years. I realized that it was more a running narrative in which I vented that a truly cohesive literary work, so I revamped the story, and find that it now flows easily, from my mind to my fingertips on the keyboard. It is unfolding in a delightful way, and I am pleased with the work.
I am with my husband because of writing. He courted me with his own beautiful poetry, and I him, with my own. We have both published work, and we both feel passionate about writing . We have both run writing workshops, and we both love to talk about it with one another. Writing is the glue that binds us.
John and I have distinctively different writing styles. He usually bases his writing on historical literary works, although some of his plays and other writing are based on his personal experiences, primarily from his days living in Pittsburgh, and working as a city planner and theater critic. My work is based on people that I have encountered.
I study people…their habits, their manners of speaking, their approaches to life. I was a Psychology major. I am fascinated by human behavior, and it is by reaching out to people that I would normally not befriend, that I cultivate my characters. I never write about any one person from my real-life experiences. Rather, I take elements from each and combine them into a cohesive and believable character.
There is the man that I know…a priest and college professor that had an affair with one of my girlfriends in college. Oh, what a juicy story THAT was…but it is one with which I would use great caution when characterizing in writing . There are the conventional mice, the boorish narcissists, the non-creative artists, the untalented talent…..there are just SO MANY characters on this earth! Life is a vast treasure trove of learning and information, and sometimes, you don’t even have to leave your own home to experience it.
I am usually quite when I’m around the people that I include in my character sketches. I make mental notes about their behaviors and I use them later in my writing. Sometimes, genuine friendships develop. Other times, I learn of darknesses that are delicious to write about, but that I feel disdain for in reality, and do not actually want near any real aspect of my life. I tend to go along with them and listen to them, but in my heart of hearts and in my brain, I struggle. Sometimes I get defensive, but I try not to. It’s all research, I keep telling myself……and it is.