Letting Go – Old Writing

The big packing and de-cluttering continues at my house as we prepare to get it ready for selling. I’ve gone through so many of my things, that I’ve gotten to that exhaustive point of not caring and throwing old stuff out.

When I began sifting through my old writing stuff, I admit I was nostalgic. Looking over the print outs with notes of my own as well as from some of those in writing groups – the good and the bad. I wondered if the stories were worth salvaging in their half finished forms. I wonder if I could go back to them. In my gut, I knew I can’t. I saved a few ideas, a few snippets of notes with ideas written on them, but as far as the stacks and stacks of old stories, I sent them to the recycling bin. I felt a small pang for them, but then I realized that I have to start fresh. I can’t hold onto old ideas or stories that I never felt the motivation to complete.

I even discarded the notes and critiques. What good are they for me now? Do I take them in the move and get something out of them later?

Or would I rather nurture new ideas, ideas that are fresh in my mind that I can actually do something with them?

The answer is of course obvious. After chiding myself for wasting so much paper on the print outs, I knew that if a story was going to last, I would have kept at it. I would have transferred the idea onto my Google Drive, a much more environmentally friendly repository for all my copious thoughts.

Sometimes you gotta let things go. I’m starting to learn that as I slowly de-clutter my life. I’ve grown out of those stories, and though I may have gained something out of them in their time, they are no use to me anymore. Sometimes characters and stories just have to die; especially, if your writing style and craft has grown so much more since then.

What do you think? Can you de-clutter your own past writings and move on from them? How much do you mourn them knowing other better stories and ideas will take their place?

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Books – My Heavy Obsession

As a book lover, I never realized how obsessed I was with reading until my husband and I had to pack up our house because we’re trying to sell at the end of the month.

Yes, ten bookshelves full of books seems excessive to normal people, but I never thought it was anything bordering on a weird obsession. Now I have to put my books away into storage, and placing them in boxes not only is a taxing endeavor, it’s making my house feel very lonely. As we’ve packed up two rooms of books, I walk by missing the perfectly orderly spines of books and books with titles and authors that are much beloved. I know for some time I will have to accept that my prized books are going into storage, but that doesn’t mean I don’t experience some separation anxiety.

On my nightstand, I have a stack of ten or so books that I’m clinging to just for comfort that will not go into storage (I dare my husband to pry them from my cold dead hands). Some I’m in the middle of reading, some I may read while this whole moving/selling process is going on. I keep reminding myself, “I still have all the books on my kindle.”

But I never realized until how much my books comforted me. Yes, I will probably never finish every book. Or, if I do, I will be well into my 90s. But in any case, they are not just a decoration to me. They are portals to worlds that give me comfort knowing they are there, ready for me to jump into them and escape.

Moving on its own is stressful endeavor, but taking them out of their homes on shelves definitely exhibits a sort of emptiness. I only hope in the next place we live I can proudly display them again, and I’m also hoping that I never have to move again, that the next house is the ONE and my books never have to be stored or thrown into boxes again.

In addition to that I realized something else, put all those books in boxes, and damn those things are heavy!

If I have to put my books away, I better damn well get well-toned arms out of moving them all!

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

Writing – A Lonely Life

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For as long as I could hold a pencil and weave my own stories, I knew writing would be a lonely life. I may have the company of imaginary characters, squawking at me to tell their stories, to live their lives, but in the real world, my identity as a writer is often overlooked and even ignored. Generally, people will acknowledge my passion and will humor me in their interest to read my stories, but usually this is a passing fancy.

Rarely, do I garner support or understanding for my writing habits from others. Only when I am writing in groups or joining online communities do I get the feedback I want. I am not saying that there is no chance for feedback and criticism out there.

However, support is different than engaging with likeminded writers. Some writers give you their opinions out of help, and sometimes they do not participate in the mutual relationship that is writing – such as, you read my story and comment and I will read yours and give you the same energy. Some writers that I have encountered have given a little to others and expected a lot from their peers. To me, this is not true support.

Another type of support where I see a lacking is with family members and friends. Many of them do not understand the long hours required for writing, editing and polishing. They do not understand that you can not always plan a weekend of fun getaways and backyard parties because you’re knee deep in your draft. The idea of setting aside time to “just write” is foreign to others.

The worst part of lacking of support is when people closest you obviously do not care about your writing. They feign interest and support, but those are platitudes. Their support is sporatic and only skims the surface of the kind of encouragement that you need. I have found maybe one or two people in my entire life that are close or related to me that really truly support me. One person who sees I’m working hard and encourages me with simple expressions of hope and luck. One person who understands I need to take a Saturday night holed up in my office and just write, even if I’m languishly staring at a blank screen for minutes after minutes.

One of these two people is me. I’m my biggest supporter. I’m the one person that sends me good vibes of encouragement, congratulates myself on achieving a goal, and knowing that one day the hard work will pay off. The other person that is my biggest supporter is my husband.

But writing is still a lonely life because I expect even more family to encourage and support me. I expect some bragging when I’m not around on what my passions are. I expect some sort of general praise of someone who is my relative to tell others what I’m passionate about. When they think of me and are talking to strangers about me, what would they say? Would they only say I’m an artist? Would they only say that I’m a techie who could come fix your computer if something is wrong?

My writing always seems to escape them. It’s not as important a talent as drawing a landscape or managing machines.

I did not mean for this post to be narcissitic. I’m only acknowledging what a lonely life writing can be, that not everyone close to you is going to embrace it or feel it with the same passion as you do.

I’m aware of this like I’m aware that there are seven days in a week.

It’s hurtful. It’s frustrating. Why couldn’t my loved ones support all of me? Every talent, evey passion? It seems fruitless, and I don’t get any work done crying about it, or throwing myself pity parties.

If strangers can look at my writing and give me something then that’s good enough. If I can tell the stories and know that I am happy with myself and my accomplishments that is enough.

And for those who don’t believe in me or support me – maybe if I keep working hard enough I can prove to them that they are wrong in discrediting my writing.

That’s not the kind of encouragement I was expecting, but it’s definitely a challenge to show them just exactly what my true strengths are.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

And now… for something completely personal

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H.K. My artwork – 2002

Let me tell you a little about myself, not just the writer and artist, but ME.

(Although this post may be a bit random…)

I don’t like opening up about myself. I don’t like sharing my feelings with people. I don’t even like sharing feelings to my best friends, my family, or even my mom. I have a hard time opening up to my husband. It’s not that I can’t; I just don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want people close to me to see the flaws or to find flaws in my hard work. I want them to think of me as strong, determined and capable.

I want to see myself like that, but that means I have to work at it. As an abuse survivor, I had to grow up rather quickly and become independent. I don’t even remember my childhood. It’s a dark space in my brain that I can’t access, blocked off from all the things that happened to me. I know what happened to me, I remember my feelings, but I don’t remember events clearly. Most people have memories so clear it’s like a movie. In my movie, there’s a big ink spot in the center and I can only see faint unrecognizable shapes on the sides.

Counseling aside, I didn’t talk about it like most things. I knew that it was a part of me, and that I am the person I am today because of it. But I also know that it has influenced me to have some rather infuriating social skills. I prefer a loner’s life, even though I enjoy being with friends. I enjoy listening to my friends, I enjoy their confidence, and helping them. I enjoy being the shoulder they cry on. I enjoy giving them advice. But I do not enjoy asking for such things in return.

I have chosen this behavior, and I am aware of it. I’m comfortable keeping most things to myself. It takes a lot for me to even show pride in anything I’ve done or accomplished. For example, when I published my book, I distributed it as much as I could, but when I would meet new people, it was always someone else telling them that I wrote a book. They were immediately entranced. “Tell me about your book!” And… it was awkward for me. I didn’t feel they’d be interested at first. When I talked about it, I was cautious. Most people are kind, and they are excited to know someone that has written something, but sometimes I feel like I act like a complete stone-faced moron, like I can’t even be excited about it and promote myself.

I internalize praise just as much as I internalize criticism. Criticism wounds me where praise embarrasses me.

I feel like a weirdo. But it’s my nature to be more introspective than overt. It’s my nature to plan and do things rather than talk endlessly about things. It’s in my nature to make impulsive decisions without telling others or getting others’ advice. I feel sometimes this makes me seem snobbish or aloof, but I don’t know how else to be.

I was once a young girl who sat in the corner with her drawings, her paper and pen, her books and her dolls in a different world while the rest of the real world carried on. I was the young girl who wanted to do things to show people I wasn’t this victim, that I wasn’t to be pitied, rather I could show people how self-sufficient I am.

I guess I just got to good at it because when my friends or family find out that I’m doing something or something happened and I didn’t tell them, they take it as a personal slight. Trust me, I never intend to hurt anyone. I’m just not good at sharing pieces of myself.

Most of the time I just don’t know how.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

MIA – But not really

I really need to post here more often but as it happens for most, real life is getting in the way.

Work makes me exhausted sometimes. I feel like like I hardly have any brain power left for my own projects when I come home. I hope to rectify that.

For those that know me well, you know that I have an anxiety disorder. I’ve been trying to manage that lately. It’s been mostly good, but the bad days are really bad.

I’m still writing when I can and when my own doubts and anxiety doesn’t block me. It’s a constant battle with myself.

Summer is the time of social activities, so I’m gone a lot. This party. That graduation. This birthday. Etc. I also just got back from vacation with my husband. I rarely get to have real time alone with him so that’s been nice.

I also became an aunt. So that’s nice. My new niece is adorable. It makes me want kids even more.

I’m de-cluttering my house. I didn’t know that would take so long but apparently going through stuff and getting rid of it takes time. Also, it’s only the beginning of the list of house improvements I want to do this year.

I hope to be updating more soon. I’m still editing Killer Orange and Mod Fury as well as finishing up a few other short story projects. NaNoWriMo is coming up and I already have an idea for that. I do hope to publish something this year, however. I just need to get off my ass and do it.

Catch up with you all soon! Take care.

H.K. Rowe

Catching Up

I feel like I have spurts of activity here, and I don’t mean to disappear. I do keep up with the people I’m following as best as I can, but sometimes I don’t have a lot to report on my writing front, or life in general I guess.

Spring is here so I’m in a de-clutter mode. Plus, when you live in Chicagoland, when the deep freeze is over, people start wanting to do things and come out of hibernation. So, we’ve got more to do now that it’s nice out. I’m loving to get back to walking my dogs in the warm weather.

Writing is going slowly, but I’m still participating in Camp NaNoWriMo and steadily moving along. My short story is called “Petra’s Revenge” and the more that I think it’s only going to be around 7K, it might end up being 10K in word count. Ah, so it goes.

I’m finalizing the cover for Killer Orange. I’ve been slacking on it even though I’m determined this week to get back to editing. Making the cover has given me some inspiration. I will do a cover reveal in May. So, coming soon!

I have such great support for my books. My husband is of course, is my biggest cheerleader and I don’t know what I would do without him. He even went so far to make me a fan art cover for Killer Orange. It’s ridiculous and made in Paint, but it’s just so like him to be wacky like that, to be encouraging and silly.

But it’s cool to see unlikely sources ask about my books and writing; friends of friends, in-laws, and even my boss.

I’m thankful for warm fuzzy feelings.

Well, back to the real world! Good luck with everything, guys.

Cheers,

H.K. Rowe

#MondayBlogs – Fear is a Health Fuel

“My ‘fear’ is my substance, and probably the best part of me.”

– Franz Kafka


For about a few weeks, I had been living in thoughts fueled by fear. It was an old fear, one that I had already faced, buried deep, and moved on. Unfortunately, I had to face it again. It was unavoidable, and if I didn’t face it head on, I knew that many people would have suffered. My fear had light. It had substance, and the only way I could face it again – back from the dead – was to speak my story, under oath and on record.

Without going into the depths of this litagation process I had to endure, I was able to survive it. I face it head on. I had people at my back, encouraging and supporting me. I had people’s faith, love, and warmth surrounding me. I had power, from my Creator, and from my own just ideals. I knew I had goodness and truth on my side.

I can’t lie; it was scary. I was afraid for days leading up to it, and I was afraid in minutes that carried on through it. I was afraid, but I had to speak up and tell my story.

The scariest part came afterward when it was done. You’d think once it was over and I made my deposition that I could sigh in relief. I could not. Fear was still in its raw form, whispering things in my ear, filling my bones with uncertainty and future ordeals. I could not be comfortable. I worried, I fretted, and I thought of the worst to come – all products of this fear.

It’s such an unpredictable energy, one difficult to harness. It left me immobilized some time after it happened. I had reassurance from my loved ones, but I was not appeased.

The fear that had been sleeping had resurged with new life.

I wish I could say I woke up the next morning feeling better, that all was behind me, but the fear still stays like a sleeping dragon.

How can I use this fear into something good? How can I take such dark energy and transform it?

I’ve been reading a lot of books that deal with a woman’s journey to the Underworld. Most of these books are philosophical as well as spiritual based, but I find they have a lot of merit.

I need to travel to my own underworld and face my fears. I need to strip all that is worldly, all that does me no good, and leave it as a pile of clothes, ashes and debris at my feet. I need to strip even the things that are important and find just me – my whole self, not just a body, but the essence of me, and find a way to transform myself, to take the bad and leave it behind, and be reborn into something new.

The New Moon is just that time. It has passed weeks ago, but now the chaotic energy of reflection, of my own darkness, is a chance – a new chance to move on and begin new things.

The old fears still sing with residual energy, but I know what’s waiting for me, what I have ahead of me and what I need to achieve. I can let fear consume me and do nothing. I can “give up” and I can let it cripple me, or I can face it. I can USE it.

That energy, as fickle as it is, is entirely mine. It is in my head, my bones – like fuel, and I can use it to overcome. It is a motivation point. It does not serve me as a monstrosity to steal my energy and leave me vulnerable.

But it can define me as someone who takes fear and rises above it – Uses it to stomp through my own doubts and demons and prove myself wrong.

My fear is fuel. It’s daring me to be better, to change it, to transform into someone else. My fear leads me into the Underworld of my own darkness.

And I’m the only one that can use it, break it as it encases me, and strip the energy and change it to something else. It’s only up to me to come from my journey from the Underworld back into this world ready for change.

I’m ready for the next journey. If Fear is my companion, then it only makes me stronger to fight harder. Nobody can do that to me. I only have myself.

END

HK Rowe