Recently, I've been tired. Washed out to be precise. It's not just a physical exhaustion from looking after hubby as he recovers from multiple surgeries (nicely by the way, thank you for asking). Taking on all of the day to day running of the house plus caring makes me realise how much our relationship is dependent on both of us doing our part. That's actually a wonderful thing to realise and I appreciate it more and more now that he is on the mend.
That said, that only a part of the exhaustion.
There is also a collective mental exhaustion from news headlines and the barrage of comments from a population that lacks compassion as much as they lack basic spelling and grammar. That again, is only part of the feeling of the exhaustion that has followed me around. After all, the headlines are the headlines, how one chooses to deal with them is more important and in my case, that is forcing myself (and failing at times) to not look at the comments section of an article.
On top of those two things in life, there is also my old friend doubt who has returned as I near completion on my collection of short stories entitled Tangled.
A few months ago I was set to get on with the publication of Tangled. This collection has been years in the making and the pursuit of it as a self published book has been part of the decision making from the onset. It is in part, motivated by the fact that short story collection by newly established writers are notoriously hard to sell to agents and publishers, but also when I returned to writing after a doubt induced hiatus and a complete life change. It was a goal I set myself to ensure that I never forget how important it is to make an opportunity instead of just looking for one (though if any opportunities in the form of agents or publishers are out there, I'm listening. Just saying).
Regular readers will remember that a few months ago, life interceded and so creative pursuits had to be put on hold and with it, the seeds of doubt were sown. Doubt in any person can be debilitating. Doubt in an artist can play at every and any insecurity you have ever had about yourself and your craft. You doubt what you have produced and what you have yet to produce. You even have a absurd thoughts like, the reason the cat is sitting on that draft is because she knows its shit and wants you to know that she knows.
It was during one of my regular "shut the fuck up" moments that I signed up for an online course through One Story. As often when these courses present themselves, not only is the material good to give you the kick in the bum you need but by being in an artistic forum with like minded people, you remember that you are not alone in this process. There are others out there struggling to be heard and wondering if anyone is listening.
A fellow classmate reached out after having read my website including my story "When Night Falls." That story is a reminder of how determined, or stubborn I can be when I put my mind to something. It is a story that continually got rejected but I never gave up on it; 21 years after I first put pen to paper, the kind folks at Litro Magazine #TuesdayTales published it. He had also read an article I wrote about Finding Your Tribe for The Review Review. It seems that reading that article inspired him to reach out to me and a couple of other people for feedback on his story.
To that person, I would like to say a big thank you.
Thank you for reminding me at a time when I was feeling doubtful and vulnerable that what I have written is of importance. Thank you for giving me the kick that I needed to get back to work. Thank you for reminding me that my words speak for themselves and that doubt is a part of this process. That to give in would be to deny yourself and others the connection that art produces.
Through art, we extend a hand into the void and hope that someone will take it. Thank you for that reminder.
Thank you also for sending me your story which is well written, enjoyable and will find its publication home because I can tell you believe in your words; and now I do too. Belief in your words is crucial to seeking a home for your writing. Belief in your words is essential to your writing.
Thank you for that reminder.
John Lugo-Trebble considers this more of a space to engage personal reflections and memories with connections to music and film.