Writing Before Dawn
March 13, 2018
Years ago, my daughter gave me a book, Writing Past Dark. A book where the first chapter had been a magazine article and maybe should have been left at that. The author promoted the idea of getting beyond depression and writer's block. The first chapter offered the most insight and help. The rest of the chapters mostly felt fluff.
I feel this winter cloaked me in darkness, after so much promise in December. My novels sales were the best and I thought that might continue. I wrote more. I found a group that I thought would help keep me motivated. I even wrote a few days on one unfinished novel anywhere from two hundred to a thousand words a day.
I also felt a push for physical activity, with one night pursuing the elephant dance and stumble with my ballet DVD. But I was moving. I walked the dog around a few blocks, a dim shadow of our usual outings, but it was a walk. One evening I pulled some muscle in my chest wall or was it my ribs? That slowed me down, but not like what happened next.
The worst was January tenth, I wrecked my new car. No one was hurt, but I at first sat stunned with the air bag filling the space in front of me. When I got home, I sat on the couch, not moving at all. After two hours, I realized this. I felt numb, not mad or sad or glad; I felt nothing. What could I do? And I thought all the horrible things that could happen. And what could I do? If they happened, I had to take it. I had to let go. Did I love my new car too much? I hadn't even made the first payment.
But everyone the next day seemed genuinely glad I wasn't hurt. “Cars can be replaced.” Yes, and I thought of my dad saying that when a deer ran into my sister's new car many years ago. And I cried that night, missing my dad. “But girls like you, cannot be replaced.” My loving dad.
The work load continued to pile. I felt badly missing patient visits- pushing them to the next day and the next, or canceling on a snow day. I didn't even know some of them. Push, push, push every day with more documentation at night. But I love home health and don't want to do anything else. I consoled myself by calling it my best paying writing job. Probably even better than free lancing.
Frigid weather and snow takes a toll on me. I only want to sleep under a blanket when I come home. That charting, though, hung over my head and guilted me from doing anything. I became numb, again, with hopelessness. Could I win this game? I didn't feel like a winner.
No one complained. Patients wanted me to visit. Some days, I confidently completed everything on time. My supervisor appreciated my positive attitude.
I didn't write on my novels. I journaled every morning. Gobs and gobs of words poured from my pen in cramped cursive sometimes, looking more like my mother's writing. Or I printed important words. Some sentences show a combination. I wrote. I felt, though, I had nothing to show. I quit writing for the site I pay to be on. To think of writing for publication gave me a headache. Writing in my journal proved,though, I kept writing past darkness; I kept writing before the dawn.
I looked forward to this week. I worked my seven day stretch and spent most of my day off finishing all the charting I tried to do in the evening or morning. I got some done, but not nearly enough. A lot of clicking answers. Jameson School of Nursing prepared me for OASIS, or at least picking the best answer.
This week, I am scheduled for jury duty. Today, as I prepared for the first day, my Facebook memory came up that I was working on my novel, Last Free Exit. I wrote several of my scenes, based on my last jury duty experience.
Across from the courthouse, sits the old county jail. Again, one of my experiences there as a nurse caring for a prisoner, lent to my scene in Last Free Exit. Morgan visits Iggy in jail, she feels the hollow thud in the chest when those bars close behind you.
The paintings on the rotunda, I used in Country, another novel in progress. I peered at the face of the one, up on the ceiling, and confirmed, “Yes, that is Eva.” Then, I entered the court room to wait for our directions. My model for Mike in Last Free Exit walked into the room. He nodded to me and I thought is this Last Free Exit Day?
The trial I didn't get pick for would have been an experience for writing about Maria. In Summer Triangle, I didn't feel the need to have a trial for the story. They never found the rapist. Today, I thought, maybe I need to finish that part of the story. I think of a sequel for Last Free Exit and Summer Triangle. To confirm that, the stylist who did my nails today was named Amber. And well, maybe looked a little bit like Amber.
The best thing about today is I remembered how fun it was to always be thinking of story and itching to write. The places, people and phrases jumbled together to inspire. Is this the dawning I've been praying for? Will I tumble out of my bed where I slumbered for too long? The joy of writing come before dawn, again. I only hope it will stay.