More often in the last week than any other time since I began this journey, I have asked myself why I am writing. Anyone who has graduated first grade can write. Once toddlers get potty trained, Baby Einstein makes them proficient at the mechanics of writing, even mildly entertaining by the time they enter first grade. After second grade, they’re ready to take the SAT. With all of those other writers out there, why am I writing?
The question isn’t retching misery in the long, dark night of my soul. Good grief, I’ve picked myself up and dusted myself off more times than a rodeo clown. No, this is something much less dramatic. What’s happening here is a smack of reality. It’s nearly year end and my R.O.I. is in conflict with my results oriented nature. The question really shouldn’t be why am I writing, but how much longer will I allow it to consume so much of my waking, and sleeping, life?
That’s right; in the middle of the night I go walking in my sleep through the jungle of doubt to the river so deep….searching for something so undefined….Damn it Billy Joel! Get out of my head!!
I was taken by surprise by how overpowering writing Summoning the Strength was, how it poured out of me day and night until it was finished. Thrills!! Angels sang glory hallelujah, it was finished!! No, it wasn’t. Writing to get people to read it has challenged me, frustrated me, motivated me to try harder, to write more.
There are a lot of characters in the beginning and I left it open-ended. Some readers said, “Loved it, what happens next, can’t wait for the next book.” Others couldn’t make it to page 64. (It gets faster after page 64.) Reviews are hard to come by unless you have a budget. I don’t. I am grateful for these comments:
…clever new novel with a strong female protagonist finding her place in a world that still places far too many barriers for women at every turn.
…Briggs creates a believable heroine in Katherine who is simultaneously compelling and humorous.
….a prime example of how story can give voice to those we’d never hear otherwise.
…Briggs addresses the vital importance of community and the hidden, deadly nature of domestic abuse and flavors this important story with her valuable perspective on life.
Here I am these months later, still writing, over thinking, being carried along by the flood of words, buoyed by passion for giving voice to a story that would otherwise never be heard. Then I think, there are no stories that haven’t been heard. A million times over. Hope, faith, grief, failure, success, love, hate, sadness, ecstasy, greed, charity, fear, pride, doubt, cruelty, desire, fantasy, animal, vegetable, mineral. Gods and prophets, angels and demons, man and machine, vampires and leprechauns, zombies riding unicorns, yep it’s all been done, and still I write. Not for fame, power or riches, only because I must. There is no other way to explain it.
My son asked me once how long he needed to cook some peanut butter fudge he was making to take to school. My answer was, “Until it’s done.” I suppose that’s how long I need to write; until it’s done.