Friday, September 23, 2011

WRAP UP FRIDAYS: Drawing the curtain

This week was a week of adjustment, thought and not enough action. The latter meaning I got little to no writing done. I did do one thing, however, I jotted down the idea for a new story. Sometimes quite some time passes before I get new ideas popping in my head. However, thankfully, so far I have enough plots in my head to last me for a year or two of heavy writing.

This week's REV UP WEDNESDAYS interview with Cassandra Gold made me think about the notions we have of people. It also made me think about a writer's perception in contrast to anyone else's. Writers look at people and they may see the actions, face, or mannerisms of a new character they're working on. Judgements or perceptions become a springboard for ideas. We assume what that person is like, and we create a clone in our imagination. The clone may have a mixture of attributes and traits drawn from different people. This is how we draw the curtain on out characters, a curtain with layers of fabric that we pull back one at a time. We discover them as we discover the reality around us. I read an article recently on a local newspaper that writers conceive their characters in a sort of "mental pregnancy". I think that's very true because it's all about growth and development... the unfolding of a new life within ourselves.

So, I think that in the same way we draw the curtain on our characters, we also go through this process with ourselves as we determine our path in life. Realizing our desire to write - that is, finding our core "truth" - comes easily for some of us, but in some cases it's a stunted journey fraught with doubts, backtracks, and hidden trails. It is tricky especially when we know we can't show our full selves to everyone around us for fear of being judged or discouraged.

On Monday, I wrote about my initial fear to admit the genre I write in, or even to admit that I decided to write for a living, because I didn't want to feel the heat of others' prejudice. Cassandra Gold mentioned this too, admitting she lives a double life - but luckily for her, she loves both of her "selves", and wouldn't do away with either. Therefore, she's content with keeping them separate.

Ultimately, I guess what matters is that we are always true to ourselves. We are never only one thing, and it's okay to follow our instincts, even when they take us in multiple directions. Who said we were only meant to do one thing in life? On the other hand, following our heart may sometimes mean going contrary to other peoples' expectations of us. In my case, I know that my family doesn't always understand my preference to identify myself as a "writer" rather than a "lawyer". They figure, I went to almost 7 years of college to get that pretty piece of paper I have hanging on my wall... why not be proud of it? What they don't get is not that I'm not proud - it's a matter of how I "see" myself.

I have come to terms with it, finally, after many years - and I know the true "me". I'm not apologetic about it, because fighting myself or worse, lying to myself, is not an option. Since I realized what I wanted to do, I could start making a living at it - thanks to my husband's encouragement, I've been freelance writing and editing for 5 years, and my earnings have put food on the table and paid the bills. It wasn't the legal profession that kept us above water in these times, and I don't mind that one bit. I was meant to take this fork in the road.

Yet, there are members of my family who think I'm only "playing" at writing; they've never offered to read any of my work, and they have that mocking, indulgent look on their faces if I so much as mention the word "writing". I fancy a loud sigh escaping their lips and a resigned shake of their heads. Then, I imagine them patting my head and telling me in a half-humorous, half-grave tone - and with that forced, tired patience with which we treat a repeatedly errant child - what are they ever going to do with me? Of course, they never say anything. They don't have to. I know exactly what they're thinking.

This week, therefore, was one of reflection. I got some client work done, at least. I do think there's something in the air because several of my friends admitted to getting little done in the last few days. My sister-in-arms, Zee Monodee, admitted that this morning, saying that this was the "week from hell" for her. But I know it's only temporary because she knows that writing is her life, just like the t-shirt from Zazzle says; she never regrets making that decision even when she hits road bumps.

Right now, as far as I'm concerned, thank goodness for that gourmet goddess, Mona Farrugia,who gave me my chocolate fix yesterday at Angelica - this fantastic new cafe' that's conveniently (for me) located two blocks up from my mom's house in Archbishop Street, Valletta. My, my, those Irish chocolate cupcakes were melt-in-your-mouth decadent, luscious, everything-you-want-it-to-be chocolate orgasm. Then the amaretto cupcakes...crumbly, light, almost make you think you're eating calorie free "ambrosia air". The key is no preservatives, only genuine ingredients, and as Mona declares, making me feel all happy inside, good chocolate shaves off pounds - so I'm resolved to having lots of it!

And here comes that loud sigh, tremulously escaping my lips, not with forced patience, but with pure longing. Today, Mona, I want some of that chilled lemongrass and ginger iced tea you promised...and one of those lovely savoury pies you mentioned. So later on I'm dragging my little man up to your kingdom and getting my slice of heaven, literally. Oh, I wish, I so wish I could bring my bestie Zee Monodee with me. She'd pilfer anything chocolate within reach, I'm sure, wouldn't you, Zee? :-D.

Now, for yummy goodness of a different kind, a little something to dream about this weekend. This one's for you, Zee. I know I mentioned you a lot today because you need a little pick-me-up, and what are friends for if they don't cheer you up in those blue moments? :-D

~ Angela ~

No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.