“I don’t want to get up. I can’t go on like this,” my character said, lying in the bed I had written for him. “How do you get up in the morning?” he asked me.
“I pretend that I am you.”
“How does that help?”
“For a moment nothing appears real.”
Ah, the luxury of being a writer. Writing yourself into a little oasis in an otherwise turbulent world. Or is it the opposite. Is it the turbulence you seek? Somewhere to direct the pain which would otherwise consume you. To help convince you to get up at least one more day.
“And when you know what is real, how do you go on then?” ” he asked,
“I have responsibilities.”
“Family, yes. Do you want me to write you a family?” I asked.
“Will they be less dysfunctional than your family?”
“My family is not dysfunctional.”
“You have to get out more,” I said.
And now I will let you in on a little secret. Many of us make New Year Resolutions but rarely expect to carry them through. But I have made a New Year Resolution for 2017 which I have every intention of carrying through. And that is writing a new blog entry every two weeks. Since beginning this blog in 2011, it has never gone this long without a new entry. There are many reasons for not writing. And some may appear quite valid, but none are justified.
When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the pivotal moment was whether I would decide to fight it or not. At first, I was stunned. But it only took a short time to make a decision. I wouldn’t go out easily. I was left with body and mind and each had declared war on the other. It was for me to keep it all together.
First I began with the body. I went to the gym for two to three weekly workouts. I joined a weekly Pilates class. We could clearly see what was getting better and what was getting worse, and adjust accordingly. But the mind is much more complex. When the body stumbles, you just begin to be a little more careful and put more work into your physical balance. When the mind stumbles, you aren’t quite sure what to do, or where it may lead.
The key, I have found, is in finding your rhythm. The more you physically exercise, the better you fall into this rhythm. The more you write, the better the words naturally flow through you. My New Year Resolution is meant to keep me writing, to keep to a rhythm which will keep me moving forward.
And then there is my third book, a very different type of rhythm. It demands all of me at times and takes me to places that I didn’t even know existed: some dark and others very bright.
And now that my new characters have begun waking up, I find them beginning to speak to me, and not just through the pages of the book. They appear to have confused what is real with what is unreal and their place in it. I would try to show them their correct place, but that might simply lead to an all out revolt, leaving me with no voice at all. So, the only divisions I can form are by answering back.
The one thing I haven’t been able to escape, though, is their critique. I have found my characters to be my harshest critics.