Monday, April 5, 2010

Moving on...Letting Go...In All Things

Last night, as I leaned against the dark red wall of my former living room watching my husband organizing the last of our possessions to be moved to our new house, I felt a brief pang of sadness. I was surprised by the emotion. Our old apartment has some serious issues. As the building settled in the fall of 2009, cracks began to appear on the walls. The pipes in the wall broke and a window on that side began to leak. It became quickly obvious that it was time to move because when your apartment sits on the edge of a cliff with a great view, it's not hard to imagine the retaining wall giving way and sliding down the hill.

Not my idea of fun!

So when I felt a twinge of sadness at leaving the old place, I took a moment to reflect on why I was feeling that way. The good memories stored up from our time in the apartment flitted through my mind as surveyed the small pile my husband was building in the center of a now empty living room. I was surprised at how much smaller the space looked without our furniture. Slowly, I smiled as I realized I'm not leaving behind. I'm taking all my good memories with me and nothing has been lost.

Transition is always a difficult and emotional process. Letting go of the things we've grown accustomed to is not always easy. My husband and I have "slashed and burned" through our accumulated possessions. We've ditched the old, worn out items and donated the better quality stuff as we condensed our belongings. Though we have now moved to a bigger space, we recognized that we had clung to things that were now useless or had lost their meaning. We got rid of old pieces of furniture and streamlined our wardrobes.

Tomorrow the first of our new furniture is arriving and filling the void left by the old, worn out pieces.

And as most things do in my life, this made me think about writing.

Just as I have revised, condensed, and whittled away at my manuscripts, I have done the same with my life. It's good to get rid of the "dead stuff." Prune away the wilted bits and see it flourish into something more vibrant. When faced with a rough draft, I'm always aware that bits will be coming out. Extra words here and there. Bad punctuation. Muddled descriptions. Plot inconsistencies. Snip, snip, snip. When revising As The World Dies: Siege, I snipped out some major chunks and excised the epilogue (you can read it here on my forum). I agonized over ripping out certain scenes, but cut them anyway. As the dead pieces fell away, I realized I had a fresh opportunity to go in and write new dynamic scenes, flesh out my characters, and create a cleaner narrative. Suddenly, I didn't miss all the old bits I had cut away.

My life is full of change right now. I've moved across town to a great new house. I'm still discarding old possessions to give way to new. I am excitedly looking forward to the Tor revisions of As The World Dies: The First Days from my editor. I am helping develop the final draft of the Pretty When She Dies script. I'm waiting for feedback from my agent on the two books I sent to her. So many good things are blooming and all are the result of me slicing away the one possession I had kept with me most of my life: fear.

Ten years ago, I was full of hope and fear. I wanted to be a writer, but had no idea how to go about it. I gave up multiple times in the last decade before my husband finally said, "We can do this!" In that moment, I let go of my fear and fully embraced my hope. Since then, our lives have radically changed in many ways as my writing career took off and continues to gain momentum.

So what is the point of this rambling, long ass post? Sometimes, in life, in writing, and in ourselves, we have to let go of the dead stuff, the old worn out things that bog us down, and embrace the opportunity to bring in new, fresh dynamic energy.

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