Playing God Means Showing Up No Matter What

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea

There’s a thin white line that I must cross every morning in order to write.  It’s like treading over inches of freshly fallen snow –  that coming out of sleep process – a hush that heightens story-telling because characters speak and scenes unfold on their own.  I don’t have to work hard to get things rolling.

Except when I put a character in a heart-breaking situation that grows him.  Then it feels like slogging through feet of snow, staggering along, sometimes falling and struggling to get back up.  You look at the piles of the stuff and just want to stay inside where it’s comfortable, safe.

Not exactly behavior befitting a god.

Photo:  Ilana Hulsey Rea - Deck before I shoveled to get to The Tree House

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea – Deck before I shoveled to get to The Tree House

Yesterday, I couldn’t pick up the previous day’s writing thread.  Didn’t want to.  My main character endured a devastating, life-altering scene that I pray none of us has to endure.  I had no answers for him.  So instead, I stalled.  I surfed through my news feeds.

Big mistake.

Reading the news can give me the impression that the world is spiraling out of control.  Run for the hills!

Except it’s not.

So, I spent the morning feeling at loose ends until I focused on the things I can control:

  1. Went to the organic market and purchased quality foods to feed my family
  2. Started planning the vegetable garden and how I will handle the challenges of last year (overcrowding, pests, and heat) so that I have a better yield
  3. PLAYED. WITH. KIDDO – confidence-boosting attention that only a parent can give, especially while she is out of preschool on another snow day
  4. Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea - Stenciling hand towels

    Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea – Stenciling hand towels

    This kid will be surfing one day - She is fearless!

    Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea – This kid will be surfing one day – She is fearless!

    Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea - All smiles even when climbing uphill in deep snow.

    Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea – All smiles even when climbing uphill in deep snow

When I took a moment to look back on the day, nothing had changed from my normal routine.  Except that we did tons of snow removal over the last couple of days.  And…

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea - Deck after shoveling

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea – Deck after shoveling

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea - The 6 foot tall sledding run I built for Em with the deck snow.

Photo: Ilana Hulsey Rea – The 6-foot tall sledding run I built for Kiddo with the deck snow

I was hiding from my character’s dilemma, the real source of my feeling at loose ends.

So, I added point #4:

4. Commit to showing up for my character the next morning (today) and let the story resolve itself without getting in the way, without having to solve anything.  Just show up, so the poor chap isn’t alone.  Wanna know the irony?  The guy is quick to call other people cowards in a not so G-rated way…Hrmmm.

Crisis avoided.

Fast forward to this morning.  After a half hour’s writing, I am in the position to finish my story tomorrow.  That’s a great feeling.

Unless…well, the story takes an unexpected turn.

 

 

What are your thoughts?