I Used to Love It

I’ve had a difficult time connecting with my characters lately. I started my project so long ago (back in 2008) that I’ve had to reintroduce myself to them several times. At times I’ve felt like I’ve outgrown them. Like my thoughts and beliefs have evolved so much since I first started writing that these figures are akin to a high school sweetheart. They were my figurative world, as long as I was home, but once I traveled and saw the actual world they seem so small and unfulfilling. I still remember what it felt like to be with them but I’m struggling to develop a future with them.

I thought of scrapping the project and starting something different. Something new, intriguing, different, and exciting. I’m still attached to the story and with enough attention i’m sure I can revive it and make them relevant to today and who I’ve become. I’ve spoken before about my difficulties with follow through and committing to a set schedule. But like any relationship, if you cherish it you have to make time for it. Right?

But you know what I love about writing? It has the ability to grow with you. As long as you’re, I mean actively engaged in it, writing you can always tweak it. The only way it stays the same is if you abandon it. In that way you force it to stay put. Stagnate and lame. Writing is a beautiful creative process but it’s just that; a process. It’s something that at times you will not feel like doing and we run into trouble when we become satisfied with the desire to do something but never actually take the steps to do it. As the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

This relationship with my work is so similar to my relationships with people and I have to remember to apply the same care and time and attention to nurturing this book as I do to my own friends. My family. My husband. My children. I wouldn’t dare give my son two years of my time and then suddenly drift off onto things more stimulating. Even when he’s droning on. I listen. Even when he’s not understanding. I explain again. Even when he’s upset. I calm him. And while writing can be complex and challenging I don’t think it’ll ever been as challenging as the strong willed individuals that are my kids.

With all that’s going on in the world today- the murder, the terrorism, the politics, the discord- I’ve become hyper aware of my humanity. My time here on earth is limited. It’s precious. Instead of allowing lethargy to lull me into my bed or guide my finger toward that next Netflix original I will work on creating something that will provide an outlet and a perspective for others. Books, to this day, help me escape, learn, empathize, and hope. As my ode to the art I will get this done marriage therapy style. I am going to reconnect, put in the time, and remember why I fell in love with you in the first place.

His name is Alton.

I wonder what his name is. The next one. The silent one. Who can’t tell his story.

The one whose blood is on the pavement. Who’s always a threat. Because of his size. His height. His hoodie. His questions. His youth. Where he lives. Where he doesn’t belong. His blackness.

The one who has no breath in his lungs because of their feelings. Their fear. Their past. What they don’t understand. Where they live. Where they don’t belong.

Pick my men up off the pavement. Pull them from under the white sheet. Dig them up from the ground. Cut them down from trees. Put them back on the playground. Put them back in the stairwells. Put them back at the grocery store. Let them make it home.

I wonder what his name will be. He who at this moment is next to his mother. His wife. His children. His life. Will his name be the one I gave him at birth? The name I took at the alter? The name I took at birth? Did we share the same womb?

Right now his name is Alton. Next week, who knows?

*Graphic Video* https://youtu.be/pdGXhSQvTKc