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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

For the first time since late February...

...I am writing for my book.

Let's summarize for a moment.  Last May and up until late October, my book was going at a very good pace.  Oh sure, there were some fits here and there, and I made a few mistakes from which I learned a great deal (and made the book much better, I think) but as this sort of thing goes, it's my understanding that this was going along better than a lot of first-time authors.

Then Dad had his stroke.  And a little over two weeks later he passed away.

Things have been in turmoil since then.  And the past few weeks especially.  I am now looking at some very drastic life changes which I had not had to consider anytime during the course of my life.  And on top of all of that, work on my book practically ground to a halt.

Then in late January, I was able to write again.  And a little more work on it was accomplished.  But then around mid-February my progress was halted.  By a very hard obstacle which I could not get through or get around.  I had come to a place where I was having to confront things in my history as a bipolar person that were extremely difficult to revisit.

It was like hitting a concrete wall.  I could bang my fists against it as hard and as often as I could, but it would not budge.  Would not be marred.

But then came this past month.  Two things happened.  The first was the trip I took to Florida to visit my family there: what I'd been plotting to do for years and years.  It was time away from the things that had burdened my heart since this past fall.  More than that, it refreshed my spirit.  I learned anew what it is to be alive... and to be thankful for that.  Sitting here trying to write all this time, barely leaving the house because of indifference to the world beyond, an aching emptiness in my soul the only persistent feeling I knew... none of that is healthy.  Driving to Florida was the longest overland journey I've ever taken alone.  Being welcomed by my family filled my heart with joy.  The sights that I saw there, the laughter and the fellowship... all of it renewed my strength and resolve.  When I came home over a week later, it was with a sense of life that I had not known for too long.  And I was determined to make the most of that and to never stop appreciating it.

The second thing came a few days after returning from Florida.  Some of you are familiar with Forcery: the film we made ten years ago (has it really been that long?!).  One of the brightest highlights of that project was Melody Hallman Daniel.  Her portrayal of Frannie Filks - the obsessed Star Wars fan holding George Lucas hostage - was hilarious, hypnotic... and at times downright scary.  It has become legendary in many quarters.  It was heavily featured in the award-winning documentary The People vs. George Lucas.  It was touched upon in a Time article and several other publications.  From the first time that we all came together, Melody has been a very dear and precious friend.  Following Dad's funeral service, she and Chad Austin and Ed Woody and myself came together for the first time in more than a decade.  I was really overwhelmed by the bond that we shared, that had come about from our little project together.

Well, Melody had been wanting to visit Reidsville again for quite some time, and we wound up making that happen this past week.  Not just Melody but also her service dog, Sasha.  I knew all along during the month or so before she came that her visit would help me overcome the block that had been in my mind.  She was my counselor, my sounding board, someone who reassured and held me accountable when I needed it.  It was her suggestion: that I should not be alone while I was going over some very difficult material that had accumulated during the last several years.  It was a good idea.  I'm thankful that it was Melody herself who was here when it came time to do that.

And hey, Melody was working on a book project also: translating into English a well-respected book by a Croatian author.  So we had two writing endeavors going on under the same roof, sometimes in the same room.  All while Sasha and my mini dachshund Tammy were playing with each other.

Florida renewed my spirit.  Melody's visit renewed my strength of purpose.  More than enough than I needed to get past that excruciatingly painful block that I was slamming myself against to no avail.

Today I began writing again for the first time since the end of February.  What has been an obstacle, is now something to at last be surmounted.  Is it still painful to read that material?  I'd be lying if I denied that it was.  But it doesn't have to haunt me as it has been.

The book is back on course.  And I think that this months-long struggle will prove to in the end to have been a good thing.

Just some thoughts from the writing process.  A little insight into the mind of a first-time book author.


Anonymous said...

Have you got a title yet or are you going to keep us hanging until the last moment? So exciting for you!

Chris Knight said...

There was a title from last June on through mid-November. One that in retrospect was pretty ridiculous. The new one is much better. I'm sitting on it until the book gets published, however that may happen.