A Counterintuitive Necessity

I’ve always been a journal kind of girl. You know, the one with the tattered spiral notebook sitting in the shade, eyeing everyone then scribbling notes down. The one who got rejected by the boy at school and ran home, threw her backpack down, and let tears soak the ink into a run on the page (cause it looked cool). Journaling has always been a therapy. The journal was for my eyes only (or it was SUPPOSED TO BE, *cough – sisters – cough*), and there was a comfort in that. Now, I don’t know if this is a sort of grown-up version of that, or perhaps a really bad idea. I mean, what’s the point of journaling if you’re going to pour your heart out and then run to the nearest stranger like” READ THIS!!!!”

But there is a reason for this blog, and I appreciate you reading long enough to let me get to it. First off, I’m not a high school girl anymore, angsty and ridiculous (pause at that last part… decide to leave it in even if it’s not true). I’m not even in college anymore. I’m a young grad student/writer in my early twenties (or is 24 ‘mid’ twenties? I’ve never been good at math, and that idea freaks me out. I’m going to round down), married to an AWESOME husband who is in the middle of getting his PhD in Psychology (marrying up, what what?). God has blessed me like crazy. Emphasis on the “crazy”. I’m finishing up my first year in an MFA Program for screenwriting, working as a TA for a freshman core History class, and working to finish a screenplay I was contracted to write for a production company. And that’s all great and awesome and incredible – but on top of it all,  I’m in the process of finishing/ editing my first YA manuscript. And I love it.  No matter where else I go, I know that writing novels is what I really want to do. It’s my first love, but you know? Between you and me, it’s kind of a dysfunctional relationship. It makes me want to go lay face-down in the grass somewhere and not move, because it turns out Stephen King, Veronica Roth, Laurie Halse Anderson, and my other inspirations were right – it’s $#*@ing HARD. I wrote all of it, then trashed 75% of it because it SUCKED. Then I started over, and now it doesn’t suck quite as bad. But there is still a lot of work to do. And if that’s not enough, let’s raise the stakes, shall we?

I have… (let me count, I told you I’m bad at math) approximately 17 week before my daughter arrives. Yep. I’m, as Juno put it, “fo shiz up the spat”. Pregnant, and totally excited about it. But here’s the thing – if this manuscript isn’t done before she comes July 29th, then chances are, it won’t be. Not because I won’t be able to finish it, per say, but because I know I won’t want to.

This is when any veteran mother looks at me with a withered gaze and says, “No, sweetie. You won’t be able to. No ‘per say’ about it.” And to that, I say – you’re probably right. But please let me be blissfully unaware of what awaits me. In my head, I see a couple of all-nighters that leave me looking like a weathered action hero, kind of Katniss at the end of the Hunger Games.

In reality, I’m probably going to look more like Frodo when he gets stabbed in the back by Shelob.

I get it. No matter what I say or how I joke, I know it’s going to be hard. Which is why the book NEEDS TO BE DONE. Every spare moment really needs to be dedicated to finishing this thing. But! I also want to make sure I journal, because it helps keep me sane (right after prayer and family, of course). So a blog seemed an excellent compromise. No, I can’t come on here and say exactly what I want to say, but all the more motivation to keep a positive attitude/cogent mental state, right? Also, one day, when she’s old enough, my daughter can read this and know that I was crazy before she came along. 🙂

It won’t be easy, but I think I can do it. With God all things are possible, right? I’ve always liked a challenge. (Cue the laughter of any mother who knows what I’m in for – kind of like how you laugh at Frodo when he stands up like “I’ll take the ring to Mordor!” and you’re like.. ::facepalm:: – that makes TWO Lord of the Rings references. Get used to it. I’m 99.9% my husband and I are naming our daughter what we’re naming her because the spelling resembles the spelling one of LOTR’s female characters. So you’ll get no apologies from me, precious). Hence the title of this blog. A man I very much admire once told me to “walk toward the fire”. Don’t let life knock you down. Don’t shrink back from challenges. I live in a world that sometimes tells me that I have to choose between being a writer and being a mother, just like it told me I have to choose between being a young, free woman and a wife. I reject those notions, because they’re dead wrong. I don’t think God gave me conflicting passions, I just think I am going to have to work extra hard, harder than I have ever worked, to make this work. And I will. I can finish grad school, the screenplay, the manuscript, and have a baby. It won’t be easy, but the good things in life never are.

So here it goes. The challenge. Grad school, grading papers, finishing the contracted screenplay, FINISHING/EDITING the manuscript, and growing this little baby girl. And handling life as it comes…balancing family and friends, etc. As I mentioned earlier, I am overwhelmed by the blessings God has given me. I don’t say that in a “sitting serenely and looking out over the ocean” sort of way. I mean that in a Lucy in the Chocolate Factory kind of way. That kind of overwhelmed.

But hey, I’m ready for this. I’m walking toward it, just like I do with the roller coaster Accelerator at Knott’s Berry Farm. One foot in front of the other until I’m locked in the seat, and it’s too late to change my mind and then it’s onetwothree too late to call for help ’cause no one can hear me scream at 80mph and it’s TERRIFYING but then I’m at the top, wind rushing in my ears, and it’s better than anything.

That’s kind of where I am. I’m putting one foot in front of the other, knowing it will be terrifying, but that I won’t want to change it for anything. There is no turning back, and settling is not an option. So there might be late night posts full of desperation and mania, and maybe a few video uploads of me silently crying. But either way, here we go. I’m going for a ride, and I’m walking toward the fire.

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