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julia

Yep. It’s been a while. In fact it’s been so long I couldn’t even remember the password to log into this blog account. I’ve been missing writing and missing spewing my guts on paper, virtual or the tree-pulp kind. So here ya go.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why I’m not writing as much as I used to and have discovered it is directly related to happiness. Historically, I have always written more when my soul is slightly tortured and/or I have days upon days of alone time. It is then that my thoughts bounce around my brain, some disappearing into a gray mass crevasse, some ricocheting within the black hole of dead brain cells that I KNOW is in there. Then there are those that spill out onto “paper” clear as lump of coal, compressed and expelled by sadness, loss, mild depression, or intense longing.

Writing happens (and often very good writing) with a bit of darkness in the mix. I think that’s true for a lot of writers. The tortured soul must create and do it while chain smoking cigarettes and drinking tumblers of whiskey, while roaming wintry beaches, leaning into the needling wind wearing a man’s oversized blue sweater for masochistic comfort. Maybe that’s a little ever the top cliche (not to mention a tad romanticized), but when I think of tortured writers I think of the Lillian Hellman short story from Pentimento when she writes about being holed up with Dashiell in a house in the Hamptons, gestating and finally birthing a play.There was lots of smoking, lots of drinking, lots of beach walking in the wind, fighting, yelling, emotional torment. Hellman is one of my favorite writers and I don’t think she ever wrote from a “happy place”.

So, happiness. Happiness! And contentment. And writing. I know it happens; I’ve read many examples of great writing by happy people. ELizabeth Gilbert is a shining example of this. How do I know she’s happy, you might ask? Her daily posts on Facebook are joy-filled snippets of positivity and encouragement; happy person stuff.

Truth be told, I don’t want to be tortured any more, or unhappy or depressed or have to anguish over life to get a story out. I’m not sure I know HOW to be that anymore. It’s incredible to me that I put up with some of the crap that used to make me so “inspired” to write. Who was that person? She definitely wasn’t this person – the one who drives home as quickly as possible to do nothing more exciting than co-prepare dinner while catching up on the day and watching The Big Bang Theory (re-runs) night after night and finding that the most satisfying and pleasant of ways to spend my time. Co-habitating with the right person is so much fun! Who knew? Certainly not this content, peaceful, dare I say even-keeled woman who wakes up to a view of the ocean every morning next to a bright-eyed love of a man and a cat, who then goes to a great job (me, not the cat) and still sees her great friends and family, albeit a bit less these days, for sure. It’s getting hard to remember how it felt to be that much in pain, to be so conflicted, with a tenseness in my core that has finally unwound. I’m glad I’ve forgotten that feeling.

The challenge now is to use this very new and fecund place as a catalyst for more writing. It will come. And while it will not coincide with trauma or heartache or cigarettes it will include whiskey and a man’s blue sweater.

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