New Year, Old Work in Progress

Wow! 2019 was pretty much a bust for me. After publishing Cry Baby Cry in mid-2018 I vowed to rework one or two old manuscripts that I thought showed promise. But either I was burnt out from publishing seven books since 2012 or the lukewarm reception of Cry Baby had me discouraged, because I barely looked at anything writing-related throughout all of 2019.

Often, though, when I take a hiatus from writing I come back stronger than ever, with renewed energy and ideas. It’s like my subconscious has been writing all that time without telling me. I’m a little concerned, however, that things might not work the same when the project I plan to work on is a rewrite, rather than generating new material. After all, rewriting uses the critical, editor portion of my brain, not the creative side which could have been working in secret.

I’d started working on the idea of this rewrite way back in 2016 and even blogged about it HERE and HERE. Then Cry Baby Cry started bullying its way into my thoughts and I got sidetracked. So for 2020 I’m vowing to get back to this story-line that was once important enough to me that I actually published two versions of it from memory: one for PersonalNovel in the U.K., Through the Dark, and a U.S. version released by myself, Eyes at the Window. The new title of this reincarnation is TBD, but I’m leaning toward something like WATCHER.

It helps that an old writer colleague of mine, LuAnne Bydalek, recently contacted me through this website. I believe I might have been working on this story, or a version of it, when we first met at a writer’s conference at IWU. Bringing back old memories might just be the kick in the pants I need to give this old manuscript a new look.

 

On the One Hand

Have you ever had someone paint a picture of you that you don’t recognize? I’m talking not of portraits, but a picture in words, an opinion of who you are and what you have done that takes your breath away because it is so totally different from the way you see yourself. Than the way you want them to see you.

I recently had a conversation with someone that left me scrambling to make sense of the differences between their perception and my own. I am not naive or egotistical enough to imagine that I have no flaws, but to be accused of faults I have no knowledge of, no awareness, and an abhorrence to leaves me feeling a little lost and insecure. Are they right? Am I?

I know my image of myself is not completely unprejudiced (usually in favor of myself but often against), but the other view isn’t completely accurate either. They don’t know everything that has happened in my life, in my head, and neither are they completely impartial as they judge what they do know. The truth has to lie somewhere in between the two, doesn’t it?

The conversation left me with a “What now?” kind of feeling. On the one hand, I want to tear through the past, looking for concrete proofs–letters, emails, texts, photos, recordings, journal entries, anything–that will reveal the truth of what kind of person I actually am. I’m not sure if the purpose of such ransacking would be to prove something to myself or to the other person. Mostly, though, this urge stems from a knowledge to want to know the truth. Who am I? What is the true balance of character that is Debra R. Borys, Deb, Debbie, mother, daughter, sister, friend?

On the other hand, I want to dig a hole and live in it. I want to build walls and hide behind them. I want to be a hermit who lives in the cave and only communes with squirrels and wolves and woodpeckers. I want to quit.

I have to pick a path somewhere in the middle. One foot in front of the other, doing the best I can with what I have, whatever that might be. Looking for a way to keep balanced. I will keep the criticisms in the back of my mind, weigh them against my experiences to see if I might learn from them and improve. Embrace what helps, discard what harms. Try, try, try. What else can we do?