Sunday, April 17, 2011

I suck at juggling.

In November of 2009, a story struck me.  It started as a scene in my head and I had to get it out.  As I typed out that scene, context for the scene emerged and I just kept typing.  Typing begat more typing; story begat more story until suddenly I realized: I'm a writer.

A writer friend of mine has compared the writing process for her as being like a detective or an archaeologist, constantly uncovering more pieces to a greater puzzle.  I share her imagery as I've begun this process of telling a story which feels as though it is not even mine at times.  I'm uncovering pieces and characters and places.  It's as if the ghosts of my characters are lingering on the fringe, huddled over my shoulder, whispering in my ear, "here's another piece for you, my gift, so long as you tell my story properly."

But it hasn't even stopped at that story (that story being my first novel, which seems to have actually turned into a short series since it's beginning).  More stories are coming to me, begging to be told.  I'm inspired by the lyrics of songs or the silly ramblings of my four-year-old son.  A single line can bloom into a vivid picture in my head of a modern fairy tale.  So now, in fact, I have a backlog of stories all vying for my attention and yet I still have trouble convincing myself I'm more than a hobbyist.

That's the other catch: hobbies.  I haven't written in months.  It's not a matter of block or anything, though I do feel a slight stall when I sit down to write these days.  The truth of the matter on that front is that I'm beyond the bits and pieces that come serendipitously and down to the nitty gritty that I'm going to have to muscle out.  I've got to build a world now around these pieces of scenes and characters.  I've got to give it meaning and direction and purpose.  But I've consciously set it all aside in favor of other hobbies.

It is spring in Nashville, TN where I make my home and my gardens beckon.  My husband and I are fierce do-it-yourself-ers and we've kept ourselves busy for every weekend since the groundhog didn't see his shadow.  I'm also an avid costumer and I have an event later in the year for which I'd love to complete a couple of outfits.  Finally, on the far back burner is my languishing jewelry business which has been sadly neglected since I picked up the writing.  Throw all of that on top of a foundation as a stay-at-home mom and I'm looking at a lot of balls to juggle.

I fail at juggling mostly, so things tend to leap frog, as it were.  My house might stay spotless and my child well attended for a stretch of time while I never set foot in my office to sew or write or make jewelry.  I might keep up with my online presence and my project du jour while my house falls into ruin and my husband paws through a load of unfolded laundry in the morning.

It's all about balance and it's a constant struggle, particularly when inspiration strikes and demands my attention toward something that I had not included in my schedule.  I can't ignore inspiration.  It's what's given me my story and so many other things in life.  I just have to keep going and do the best I can.  I'm determined to make it all work. 

So, here I am, with another blog and another identity and another facet of myself coming out into the world to be recognized.  I'm M.L. Hamilton.  I'm a writer.  This is the beginning of that journey.