how to be quiet

How to start writing again

I have missed writing. I have missed the natural way stories used to pour out of me like I was a cartridge of ink and everything I touched was paper. I have missed the way it all happened like a confession, like in everything I wrote I was always sharing secrets. I have missed the way writing makes me feel like I am always telling the truth.

I miss my fiery Ari and the world she wants to burn down. I miss my quiet Elijah. I miss my little moon girl, Illyria. I miss Isobel and her grief. I miss Gen and Oliver and their walk along the edge of the world. I miss my little creative babies. I want to crawl back inside their weird little worlds and get lost again, but I am all severed from my creativity right now. Where there was once a line in the sand where a canyon grew now stands a wall big enough to make me question how much I am willing to put myself through to climb this thing, to go through it, to tear it brick from brick.

I miss writing characters who were the parts of me I didn’t get to show off. I miss writing women who won’t go into boxes. I miss Ari’s rage, her confidence, her swagger, her fury, her lust, her bald fear. I miss Illyria’s quiet confidence, her innocence, her sense of self, her unraveling view of the world, her reluctant anger. I miss her faeries, the grinning Cassius, the devilish Zanna, the gentle Orin. I miss Isobel’s torrential sadness, her storage locker of regrets, her bottled up chest, her crumbling self-perception in the face of a life collapsing. I miss Brae and her broken heart, her warrior spirit, the little tomboy they forced into dresses. I miss Gen, the mother, the protector, the human at the end of the world.

I miss my girls. I miss how they fed me their stories; I miss feeding mine back to them. I miss turning a gutting into a line of poetry. I miss making sense of my life by channeling something complex through a character and watching how it unfurled. I miss the reciprocity, the way I gave them words and they gave me strength.

I miss sitting in my apartment in Laramie, Wyoming on a hot summer night, fans blowing, door propped open to let in a post-storm sunset, writing and writing and writing. Writing around the communal table at work. Writing at least two pages, every day, without fail. Writing it all down. Dreaming it. Imagining it on my hikes, on my drives. Putting the pieces together over lunch at LaBonte Park then going home and spilling it all out on a Word Document, in my notebook, the way things just flowed out of me so naturally, so effortlessly. Like a river spilling into the ocean. I miss when it wasn’t about wondering what anyone would think if they ever read it, but it was just about telling the stories that had crawled up inside me and hung on with claws. When it was just about telling the story to myself.

I miss that. I want that back. So here is me beginning to flex that muscle again.

Here is me opening the faucet and seeing what comes out.

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