by Charlotte Levine-Gruber
|photo by William Creswell|
I've titled this post with a quote (modified) from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, In Memorium. For me, it's apropos. Last month, I lost my first love. Someone who was the most important person in my life for decades. My heart still aches. While I've gone back to work and tried to put some semblance of "normal" back into my schedule--the loss still feels fresh and painful.
Tennyson lost a beloved friend to a sudden and unexpected death. While I didn't lose a friend, my loss was unexpected. I was completely unprepared--as if you could prepare.
I pose this question:
Would you avoid the pain of loss, if it meant you never had a chance to love __________________(fill in a name).
Our blog is all about writing. So let's substitute your person above with a "life dream."
Like any great love, writing has many ups and downs. Sometimes great joy, and sometimes heartache. Let's be honest--writers have a lot of heartaches.
The words may not flow. Writing anything to hit your daily goal only makes what I call "forced words." These awkward words are readily apparent to anyone reading. You may as well just write THESE WORDS WERE FORCED.
Even then, writing is like no other job. As Marissa just posted last week--only other writers truly understand a "writers high." You can decide what to write, who to write, where they live, do you build a new world, or do they live in your neighborhood? You can even decide who to kill and who kills.
If you think about your favorite author and how much you love a book, answer these questions: Do you talk about characters with friends and neighbors? Get mad when characters do stupid things? How about when your favorite series ends? Do you re-read favorites?
The first time someone read my manuscript and talked about my characters floored me--they knew...MY PEOPLE?
Jonathan Mayberry once said of his writing gig; "I get to live in my imaginary world, with my imaginary friends."
But to get to Jonathan Mayberry's level, you're guaranteed a lot of heartache and rejection.
In my PitchWars group, most writers have queried more than one hundred agents before being offered representation. One hundred rejections. And that's all before submitting to publishers.
So, back to my question:
Would you rather have loved and lost, or never loved at all?
My dear, sweet, prickly, sometimes irritable, and always stubborn mother had a heart attack last month. I've never gone through anything that hurts this much.
Would I trade to eliminate the pain?
Not a chance.
The gift of loving such a wonderful woman makes up for every bit of pain. And I had the ultimate privilege of calling my favorite person "Mom."
At the funeral, even through my thick fog of grief, I realized how many lives my mother touched.
So, writers, if you love what you do, keep working, keep trying, and don't give up. Remember, it takes a writer to become an author.