Saturday, January 4, 2014

lost and found

The thing I love most about keeping a blog is I can go back and see where I was exactly one year ago. I suppose this is true for things like keeping journals too. But the thing is, I’ve never been good at keeping a journal. I carry a notebook with me wherever I go intending for it to be a journal, but it always ends up becoming something else - mostly, this crazy mish-mash of random thoughts mixed with grocery lists mixed with (sometimes crossed out) life goals mixed with bits and pieces of stories and sketches and doodles and drawings. Mostly, it’s full of ideas that strike in the middle of the day or night, character quotes or descriptions, the rushed writing down of scenes before they slip away. I’ve come to accept this – that I will never be one of those neat and tidy journal keepers. The ones who write the date at the top and proceed to fill up the pages accordingly. I’ve tried to be that person and I have failed.

Moving on.

So. Blogging. The thing I love about blogging is that I can go backwards in time. Like just now, I clicked on January 2013 and was reading through old posts and remembering that this time, one year ago, I was lost. Or if not lost, then certainly on my way to getting lost.

I was working at a job that I really loved. I loved getting up in the middle of the night before everyone else was awake to bake bread. I loved the feeling that came with the shelves going from empty to full on account of my own two hands. I loved it. I may do it again someday. I most likely will.

But it was all-consuming. Getting up at 3am and coming home at 1pm and then going to my other job left me exhausted. I had no time, and even when I did have time, I was too tired to do anything other than sit on the couch and read comic books. I was writing, but only barely and wearily. I couldn’t go home and visit the people and the place I love most. I wasn’t doing the things that made me happiest, the things that filled me up and gave me my life back.

So, in an attempt to fix everything, I applied to Sheridan for their Illustration program. Looking back now, I really think this was my cry for help – I knew something wasn’t working, I knew something was missing, and I was trying to fix/fill up the hole. I got accepted to the program in March of 2013 (something I still can’t believe and am still really, really proud of). In April I quit my job at the bakery and started working more at the bookstore. I spent months recovering, getting my energy and my motivation back. And then, at the end of the summer, I had to make a decision. It was probably the hardest decision I made in 2013. I decided not to go to Sheridan. I did it because I knew that my truest love was writing and that starting an art program was just another way to push it aside. So I declined my acceptance and I made a vow to put my stories first and foremost.

From then on, I wrote. I wrote a lot. It’s not that I wasn’t writing before - I actually revised a novel 3 times between January and August, but that’s another story entirely. I wasn’t writing anything new, though. So I took a deep breath and I wrote a first draft of a novel I’d been wanting to finish for a long time. After I finished it, I set it aside and started yet another revision of that other novel. (Welcome to the world of publishing, where 9/10ths of writing is revising! Huzzah!) But it doesn't end there. At the beginning of December I started writing a third thing which I have just today put aside because revising two novels and working full time is quite enough, thank you very much. That third thing will just have to wait its turn.

Altogether, I wrote approximately 150,000 words last year in novels. That might sound like a lot, but when I look back, it feels like very little. It feels like I wasted a lot of time, actually.

And then my Pa passed away. This was a blow. I can’t even express what exactly it means for him to be gone because I think I’m still grappling with it. The weeks leading up to his death and following were probably the saddest, most difficult time of my life. And this might sound strange, but I think the loss of him has both sharpened me and softened me at the same time. I’m no longer so afraid of death (I’ve spent the past five years terrified of it). And I’m more determined than ever to do what I need to do. I miss him. And I'm determined to keep him with me in everything I do.

So I guess I’m not lost anymore. In fact, I really feel like I’m the opposite of lost.

2 comments:

  1. Great post. And I am glad you are not lost anymore. xo

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  2. Aw thank you Anya! And I'm so glad that I stumbled across your instagram all those months ago. I so enjoy following you and all your lovely, creative endeavours.

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