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January Updates

74,056 Words. That’s quite a few words, I think. Still not finished, but that’s the price of having a brain that wants to turn a three words phrase into a fifteen word sentence.

January 11, 2014, Already…

I want to talk a little about writing today. About authoring, if I may. I’m still pushing through the mire that is the first real novel I’ve ever set out to finish. It is a boggy, muck-laden path that gnaws at the muscles on my legs and forces my heart to work in overtime. Writing is not easy. The closer I get to finishing this book, the farther it seems I am from the goals I set out for myself years ago. This is the tip of the iceberg, and I know absolutely nothing about arctic deep sea diving. There are so many more things to be done, beyond finishing the book. I keep telling myself that it has to be taken one step at a time, but myself keeps answering that it isn’t good enough.

Passion is a powerful tool, and I’ve donned it as both armor and sword. I keep plugging away a word at a time, pushing other ideas from my head into notes on scraps of paper. Focusing the beam, as it were, but not forgetting the other things my mind wants. I am creating, and that is the important thing.

But life, that cruel bitch mistress known as “Reality” has a way of burying you when you’re digging. It keeps reaching in with blood-caked claws to scratch at your soul. It gnaws with teeth of doubt and fear. It reminds you that no matter how well you think you’re doing, there is always more the world wants and more you want for yourself. It reminds you of things like debt and isolation. It reminds you that you’re not one in a million, you’re one of a million. It creeps in and swallows you when you are distracted.

I suppose this is my New Year’s Post. My refocusing and redirecting.

In 2013, I made big decisions on spur of the moment whims. I left my job, then a few months later, I left my home. I traveled 1500 miles, give or take, to start new in a place where I had no friends except a few members of my family. I took the first job I came across and got lucky. I enjoy my job, and I’m good at it, which is not something I can say of other careers I have dallied with in the past. I work with people I like and respect as human beings. I don’t have much in common with them, but for the first time in a very long time, I don’t find myself wondering if the world would be a better place if my coworkers where smashed by asteroids.

2013 was the year that I burned away to ash and smoke. It was the year that I let go of the last shreds of a life I was no longer able to live. It was the year I finally accepted that everything had to be changed if I wanted to be happy.

That was a powerful realization. There were so many bad memories and foolish decisions shackling me that I couldn’t have ever come up for air without shaking all of them off. I needed a clean slate. Of course, tabula rasa is impossible. Once the chalk is on the board, there is always a film of dust left behind, no matter how much work you invest in scrubbing it away. I have things I have to deal with no matter what comes next in life. Some scars can’t be healed. Some debts take years to repay.

 

 

Last night, I was playing Dungeons and Dragons via Skype with my friends back in Kansas City.

That might seem like a strange segue, but trust me, there is a point coming.

While we were playing, I began to analyze my D&D character with the new perspective of an author. I don’t know if it is a skill that I have developed with dedicated writing, or something I had that was awakened by need, but it is something I’ve never really used before. I realized my character was reactionary. I wasn’t playing him as a character so much as a thing that was there doing stuff when it was needed. It groaned a little groan inside my head that I wasn’t participating in the story of the game, which is a huge part of the fun of the game itself for me. I was just there to socialize through a computer box and maybe roll some dice. I wasn’t invested.

That made me sad.

So, I was up late last night feeling forlorn over a fictional character in a fictional world who’s entire purpose is to create and excuse to spend time with friends.

I was having a meta-crisis of identity.

In the back of my mind, I was working through this baffled cloud of disappointment about being directionless on behalf of a person I made up. I was puzzling out the character, defining it, working to create a more multi-faceted being from the hollow husk I’d already established.

It was very deep, I assure you.

At least, it was given depth by the realization that I was having this trouble with characters, and I’m sure it has infected draft 1 of my book, because I was having this problem with myself.

 

I think the key to joy and happiness is deciding who you are

 

The entire history of this blog, even the jauntily entitled “Professional Adult,” moniker, all follow that same underlying theme. I am undefined.

Hell, until this last year, I had even been cultivating a physical form that screamed “undefined.” I was all lumps and furry manes. I was outwardly projecting the lack of self-worth and identity I was feeling inside.

 

Then, along came today. Saturday, a day of rest for some, hard work for others. For me, it was a day of slacking and readying myself for several grueling hours of putting words on screen (I don’t write with paper). I went for a long drive to clear my head, a habit I don’t think I can ever get rid of, then came home and hopped on the cyber webs to immediately reclutter it before sitting down to write the last few chapters. I clicked a link, this link: http://marshalledwards.net/2014/01/11/being-present/

 

If you haven’t managed to wonder through one of the links I’ve put out there to Marshall’s Blog before, or ever read his guest post about religion in my archives, you probably don’t know just how cool a cat Marshall is.

 

Marshall’s post this morning hit me with this thought, “Marshall is doing it right.”

One of the things I’ve always respected about him is his dedication to his craft. He works very, very hard to create some awesome things. Now, he and I have some wildly disjointed tastes in our entertainments, with some pretty heavy crossover, to be sure, but I consider him one of the heppest cats that ever did hep. He is getting out there and making a real go at it.

Which is what I should be doing.

 

But, I’m still stuck in that phase where I don’t know what it is exactly I want. I don’t know where I want to go or who I want to be.

 

I think that’s what 2014 is going to be for me. If the second half of 2013 was about healing some wounds, than 2014 needs to be about going beyond and rebuilding my life and identity.

 

2014 should be the year of definition.

Published by M.A. Brotherton

M.A. Brotherton is a writer, blogger, artist, and fat-kid from the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He’s tasted a little bit of everything the Midwest has to offer, ranging from meth-tweaking rednecks in massive underground cave complexes to those legendary amber waves of grain. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time screwing around on the internet.