December, 2011. The month my story-telling brain left me.
Oh, you’re saying, don’t be so dramatic, Carrie. You’d be partially right. I’m a bit of a drama queen, but not about this.
At first, I thought it’s temporary. It’ll come back. How can it not, after all, it’s my BRAIN we’re talking about here! I didn’t really worry about it until the middle of January. After all, the holidays were keeping me zinging about, work was overflowing, I simply didn’t have the time to write. Didn’t matter I couldn’t actually THINK of a storyline, or even a character, because I was busy. BUSY BUSY BUSY. Yes, all with capitals.
Then came February. I had many things still on my plate, and a lovely class with the wondrous Laurie Schnebly, and for awhile I thought yay! I’m out of my funk! But no, I really wasn’t. The story idea I used for her class is one I’ve had for two years. She helped me refine it, helped me make it into an awesome story outline, and then when class was over? poof. gone.
Well, that’s awkward, I thought. I must be trying too hard. And since my 50th birthday was on the horizon, I put it behind me. Until my lovely friend and mentor Sandi reminded me – “Didn’t you say you wanted to be published by your 50th birthday?”
And I did. That’s been my goal for the past 3 years. But try as I might, every time I brought out my story, ANY of my stories, my mind rebelled. Didn’t you forget to brush your teeth? it said. Did you remember to update so-and-so’s website? it murmured. The brain is an insistent thing – it needles and cajoles and pecks away at you until you’ve forgotten why you opened that document in the first place and next thing you know, you’re making rice krispie bars and cutting out paper snowflakes.
I’d even quit making jewelry.
Next thing you know it’s June. How did that happen? I was suddenly 50 and 1/4. Even blogging had become a challenge. An editor requested a synopsis and I thought here we go! We’re off and running! I opened my manuscript and changed one word. One. I kept the document open for 3 days, then finally closed it again. My mind was a perfect blank. I tried to force a story in there. I had the perfect opening line. I opened a fresh new document, wrote three paragraphs and then…nothing. No story. No thought of a story.
This was a heart breaker for me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a very vivid imagination. Wild dreams, even wilder day dreams. Brazilian toads bigger than a dinner plate, vampires, Vikings storming through my clothes closet. A simple drive to work could result in almost an entire story being plotted out in 20 minutes. But I’d literally gone dark. The Vikings had left with the toads, vampires had disappeared into the mists. My drive to work was 20 minutes of classic 70’s rock and me belting out the words to Smokin’ in the Boys Room.
Even my reading habits disappeared. Every night for as long as I can remember, I’ve read myself to sleep. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. Now suddenly I watched movies. I read magazines. I had to force myself to read more than a few pages before bed.
What was happening to me???
I still don’t know. But, in sheer desperation, this past week I started listening to the old RWA workshops again while in my car. And one day, while driving to work and not expecting it, a tiny germ of an idea popped into my head. It was gone as quick as it had come, and I almost didn’t recognize it for what it was, but another popped up. What if . . . instead of him being on the boat because of an embezzler he was her personal body guard. (yes, I realize this makes no sense to you NOW, but when the book comes out, you’ll see where that came from!) what if . . . they were on board with their SO’s and it turns out the SO’s were having an affair – with each other! Okay, not the deepest of ideas, but at this point, I’d take anything!
I’m hoping hoping hoping that this is a turn in the tide and means the synapses are firing in my brain again. Hopefully the connections up there aren’t too rusted out!
I’m taking an online class next week, I’ve got 5 CD’s lined up to listen in to while driving.
It’s time to get back to writing.