by Jeanine DeHoney
Just when I was having one of those days when I was saying my husband didn't get me as a writer, you know, how he doesn't understand how it’s possible to sit in front of a computer for an hour and have one paragraph to show for it, he comes out with the most amazing, insightful words that make me fall in love with him all over again.
Let me explain. Lately it seems as if I haven't been enjoying writing as much as I used to. Sometimes I outright dreaded opening my eyes in the morning to see a dark computer screen waiting for me, sometimes seemingly taunting me knowing I had a laborious feat ahead.
I felt like I was writing on the edge all the time, ready to fall into an abyss that threatened to steal my passion and joy as a writer. Even when my words weren't playing a game of hide and go seek, when I was busy- recycling old stories, creating new stories, writing queries, editing my novel in progress -my mind wasn't connecting to my heart. I didn't love what I was doing.
I was concerned more about the end result than the process even as I wrote. I rushed to finish stories to produce quantity instead of taking my time, writing as if I was sipping a cup of tea on some Southern porch taking in the sights, sounds, and smells around me so it could add another layer to my stories. I wanted to relish in the sweet taste of being salable and successful as an author so I wrote with that in mind and it chipped away at my passion.
When I voiced my feelings about this uncomfortable place I was in with my writing to my husband one evening, his words suddenly shifted me, probably because this was the season I needed to hear them.
“You have to stop writing from that place of anxiousness,” he said. “You always used to complain about not having the time to write, now that you do, write because you love writing and tell the stories you want to tell.”
He was so right. Even though it hadn't come as I expected it would come, I got a chance to write full time. But through the years, especially of lately, there were loose threads I unintentionally kept tugging at that began to unravel the passion and love I had for my muse. The only way it could be mended, stitched together to close the looming hole threatening to ruin my garment, was to rekindle the tinder, find that spark I once had and relight it.
Relighting that spark meant writing with a renewed voice those stories I yearned to write, stories about the dynamics of families as I sifted through the beauty and the ashes of my own. It meant writing fearlessly, without the need to conform and write stories that were deemed more marketable, but ones that didn't show the depth of who I or my characters were. It meant having faith as small as a mustard seed and a belief that when I did what I loved, all of my cards would align perfectly and success as I knew it, which wasn't in monetary terms but in how it inspired others,would follow.
At a time when our country is so openly divided, when children are crying wondering about their future, we all should be an example of living a life doing what we love so our inner light won't dim.
Our world could use more love; love of self, love of our neighbors and love of our muse especially as writers whose distinctive voices can fill the crevices of a hurting world and spread healing. So today I choose to fall in love with writing again. And I thank my husband for showing me the way.
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Jeanine DeHoney, wife, mom and grandmother “extraordinaire” has had her writing published in several anthologies, magazines and blogs including “Chicken Soup for the African American Woman’s Soul,” The Mom Egg, Literary Mama, Mused Bella online, Writing For Dollars, True Stories Well Told, Underwater New York, Mutha Magazine, Metro Fiction, My Brown Baby and ScaryMommy.com. She was a 2013 finalist in the Brooklyn Art and Film Festivals Nonfiction Contest and the winner of that contest in 2014.
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