Lately it seems like the thermostat that keeps my emotions at a stable level is malfunctioning. I’m feeling like a walking exposed nerve ending! Seeing my oldest son’s face, hearing my middle kid’s voice, listening to a song that my youngest son wrote, watching little Beej’s joy at snow, experiencing CJ’s pride at successfully getting his clothes this morning and even remembering to change his underwear, catching the choked sound of my father’s voice when he tells us how happy he is to have his girls all there……. (Oh, and to be clear, their dog Casey is included in “his girls” along with me and my sisters….) – all of these things make my heart swell.
And the tears? Forget it. Every day I cry. Missing my youngest son- tears. Feeling little Beej’s arms wrapped around my legs as he tells me he loves me very much- tears. Hearing that a friend’s parent passed away- tears. Even blinking my eyes to determine if it’s my glasses which are blurry or my eyes- tears (which doesn’t help answer that questions!) Talking with my son about our concerns with CJ and his struggles in school- tears. (Big tears for this one.)
It could be any of those things or all of those things making me feel so emotional these days. It could be concern for my two children who live in other states and not having a secure enough handle on how they are really doing.
But for now, I’m blaming NaNoWriMo. This year things are going well (knock on wood) and today is the half way point. I’m not struggling to complete word counts each day. While my daily counts are not enough to give me a huge cushion to fall on, that extra few hundred words that I’m managing seem to help. It’s not the act of writing that is causing this anxious feeling.
It’s the story. This year’s story is one that I’ve attempted to write a few times both for NaNo and not. And it has always tripped me up. Being loosely based on an event in my life that changed me in ways I will never fully realize, to say that it’s close to my heart would be an understatement. Since I am still able to keep my writing separate from the rest of my life right now it has been a little exhausting to write the emotional components and then shut them in a box for the rest of the day while I pick up Beej from school, shop, do laundry, take care of daily business. And these emotional scenes are hitting me in my core. I’m obviously not doing as good of a job of compartmentalizing those emotions if I’m walking around crying daily about other things, right?
The thing is that 35 years later, I have dealt with most of the things that I needed to deal with. This doesn’t make it hurt less to write about a character who is very dear to me going through the same ordeal. I’m calling up emotions that I would rather leave in their graves. It’s over. It made me stronger. I survived. I don’t like to dwell on the past. I learned a lot about myself and people through the experience.
But I also have to accept that these tears need to be shed. Maybe I need to lay more to rest than I had originally thought. And although I can’t say this about all of my NaNo novels (or bits of novels as some of them are), this is one that I can see myself working on and making it into something readable.
It’s time for me to apply some of these words toward that novel that’s not going to write itself this month now, is it?