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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Just because you can 
19th-May-2014 02:30 pm
My year has had themes.

Started off going to the geneticist, who sent me to the orthopedist, who sent me to the physical therapist, and each of them noted my hypermobility and said variations on the same thing: "Just because you can doesn't mean you should."

So a big part of my year so far has been re-learning movement. Just because I can wrap my foot around the opposite ankle when my legs are crossed doesn't mean I should. Just because I can pop my hip out, hyperextend my elbow, et cetera - and most of these have become my body's natural movements and positions, because I find pressure and constriction comforting. So wrapping my legs together like that, pulling my body into positions that aren't the best for me - these are comfort things. I have had to be aware of how I'm sitting, standing, walking, every time. Every minute. I have been learning how to stop before I hurt myself.

The problem, of course, is that there's a lack of immediate feedback. I don't know at the time that I'm hurting my body. That shows up later, in ways that seem unrelated. I had not been pushing my body To The Pain. I had been following my reflexes, and the pain came later.

So. Learning how far is too far.

I started to write a novel this year. It's a damn good novel. A thriller. I'd talked it out with Michael last year (mostly his end was the "yes, and" of improv). In the wake of that broken relationship, I said fuck everything, I'm writing this.

And I did. I got to the critical tricky halfway point, I pivoted the book -

And I stopped.

Like I've said, this year has themes, and one of them has been that I want to make choices instead of just react. I want to take the time to think things through and do what's best for me. I want to be my best self. I want to aim higher, to make sure my choices are in line with the person I am and the person I want to be. asim asked me about that early on, and the first answer I had was "I want to choose kindness."

A friend posted elsenet recently about our lives showing the stories we tell about ourselves. This is a thing I've been thinking of, too. What is the story of you?

And in this sense, relationships are collaborative stories.

The story of me and Michael established itself early, and it wasn't a healthy one. There are streaks of it through this novel like streaks of infection. The me I was with him was not a healthy me. I... can talk about that forever, but now's not the time.

The first thing ashlyme told me about myself - because sometimes you need to put down the mirror, let someone describe you to yourself, because you don't see you clearly anymore, you don't know what you look like from the outside - the first thing he told me about myself was that I was brave.

Brave. Kind. Whimsical. Joyful.

I had forgotten so many of these things last year. They're still me. They're still there.

I wanted to finish the novel because I wanted to finish a novel. I never have, and I want to develop a habit of completion.

But where I am, in the back half of the novel, is in a place I don't want to be.

It's a damn good novel. But it's mean.

And I don't want to be mean.

Just because I can write this novel doesn't mean I should.

I've dissected it way more than that, of course. Buy me a drink at Wiscon and I'll tell you all about it. I fussed about this decision for weeks. And I've decided to set it down for now. (Since doing so, I've also realized how I can make it even better when I come back to it.)

What is the story of me?

What is the story of me + Elayna, me + Adam, me + Mat? What is the story of how I choose to move through the world? I've been figuring out what's best for my body. What's best for my mind? What's best for my heart?

As Mat and I have been talking, we've been sharing all our stories. Our life stories, yes, but also our fiction. And the thing I keep coming back to, with him, is Cicatrix.

I set it aside for a good reason. It's a book about recovery from sexual violence, and I had just been raped.

I dropped it like a hot potato for a bad reason, too. I did, fragile and trying, write one chapter of it post-Judah. Which I showed to Michael. Who eviscerated it. "People don't talk like that," he said regarding the stylized dialogue that dovetailed with the stylized text as a whole. And I stopped. Because there was no other way to write it, and therefore it was, if wrong, unfixable.

In the almost-year since, I have seen huge fanbases pop up for work in which characters damn well do talk like that. True Detective. Hannibal. Among others.

And, holding my breath, I sent it to Mat. After realizing that yes, people do talk like that - Mat and I talk like that. I sent it to him after phrases in that very conversation popped up in our conversations. From him.

Well, he thinks it works. And so do I.

What's the story of me? What is that story I need? What is the story that I need to tell?

The story of fighting one's way back to the light. Of choosing the light.

So yeah. I'm ready to go back to Cicatrix.

I'm working on some short fiction first, when I have time. (And with Elayna home, what I need more than anything is time. Anyone know of free secluded office space I can use?) Some really interesting stuff is coming out there, too.

So that's where the writing is. There are new poems, too. And three stories coming out of me simultaneously. And so much of the healing process of Cicatrix whispering around the edges.

This is good.
19th-May-2014 06:40 pm (UTC)
It is a thing to let a book go when it is not the right book. Kind of like saying Hey I don't need a life line, I CAN SWIM.
19th-May-2014 06:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah. And here it was "which is more important, getting to type The End or not hurting myself?"
19th-May-2014 06:47 pm (UTC)
Almost always, the not hurting myself end of that turns out to be the most important. The book has a life of its own, and you may not always want to be the person who wrote it. And if you don't want to be the person who wrote it while you are writing it? Pretty good indicator that not hurting you is more important.
19th-May-2014 06:52 pm (UTC)
So here in the comments I'll expound more. :) I do want to write this - eventually. It has a puzzlebox plot, and I'm doing interesting things with it structurally. I want to be the one who brings this weird twisted thing into the world!

But I don't want to be in the headspace right now to write the book as I'm currently writing it. This is a book populated by terrible people doing terrible things, and there's a brutality to it that works perfectly - but at that pivot point, it shifts into a cruelty I don't want in my head right now.

And I think that, with some distance, that's going to come out very differently. Thinking about it today, I realized that in a year or two I'll be able to pull the best magic trick of all with this book. I'll be able to pull you into that latter half in a way that'll resonate with you.

Right now, you'd hate the characters. But what if you didn't? What if you understood? Didn't excuse them, but had the conflict of understanding their choices and hurting for them?

Makes a better book.

I'm not there yet. So down it goes for now.
19th-May-2014 06:42 pm (UTC)
And these are the reasons I love you.
Many Many hugs.
19th-May-2014 06:44 pm (UTC)
*big hugs* Thank you again for your help this year.
(Deleted comment)
19th-May-2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Letting it rest when I needed to do so was the best choice - it is really coming back now. :)
(Deleted comment)
19th-May-2014 09:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Been giving a lot of thought to the reasons behind things lately. *hug*
19th-May-2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
It sounds like you have made some really great choices for yourself with all of these issues.
I may have mentioned a book to you in the past called 'Psychopath Free'. I just have a feeling that it may have some insights for both you and your writing. (Besides, I selfishly want your opinion on it...)
I am looking forward to what does eventually come from this, it really sounds like something I want to read.
20th-May-2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
20th-May-2014 02:17 am (UTC)
As a general note: people talk in so many different ways. I have yet to encounter an instance of "people don't talk like that" where I have not then encountered people talking like that. ~shrugs~

I am glad you are consciously finding you. I throw "Caring" and "Catalyst" into the things you are, as well. Thank you for being you.
20th-May-2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
20th-May-2014 03:00 am (UTC)
Good? This is amazing! I've never even written half a novel, so that's impressive to me right there. But then having the courage to stop because writing that novel isn't good for you? Even more impressive.

As for "people don't talk like that"? People do talk like that, for a ridiculously large number of values of "like that." I, for example, actually talk the way I write in my LJ and emails.

Keep being amazing!
20th-May-2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
I talk like that! *decisive nod*
20th-May-2014 06:36 pm (UTC)
*decisive nod*

You need to do more of that - if you had as much confidence in yourself as the rest of us have in you, you'd be (even more) unstoppable!
20th-May-2014 05:28 pm (UTC)
Just because I can wrap my foot around the opposite ankle when my legs are crossed doesn't mean I should.

Wait. Being able to do that isn't normal?

I just recently found out from my chiropractor that I'm "moderately" hypermobile. Bizarrely, perhaps, I'm only hypermobile in certain body parts, and not at all in others.
20th-May-2014 05:46 pm (UTC)
I always thought it was normal too!
20th-May-2014 05:45 pm (UTC)
Still here, still reading.

It's interesting that you post about "people don't talk like that" as it's been on my mind lately. Do you keep up with the Arisia brainstorming discussion board?

I'm tempted to make some kind of joke about Suffering For One's Art (*dramatic sigh*) but I'll pass.
20th-May-2014 05:45 pm (UTC)
I don't - which thread should I look at?
20th-May-2014 06:26 pm (UTC)
I love you. Keep on healing, 'song. <3

20th-May-2014 07:35 pm (UTC)
Great decisions because to my reading you're deciding to take care of yourself in many aspects of your life. We've never met face to face but I'm reading & rooting for you. And yes I've heard very stylized language used in conversations at parties. Maybe not many people do it but some do.
21st-May-2014 01:00 am (UTC)
Oh! I thought of something else. Weighted blankets & other items that help people who feel safe with constriction or pressure might help. Lycra clothing might provide that effect to replace positions that aren't good for your hypermobile joints. You might already have thought of these solutions & if you have I apologize.
21st-May-2014 04:16 am (UTC)
this is all such wonderful news. i'm so happy to hear you've been, it seems, healing...and i find it kind of comforting that you're living proof that it's a lifelong process. that even if things get worse again, you heal again, and you keep healing. that is so important. so, i guess what i'm trying to say is, thank you for that.
23rd-May-2014 12:25 am (UTC)
Glad it helps. *big hugs*
23rd-May-2014 01:20 am (UTC)
23rd-May-2014 09:04 pm (UTC)
24th-May-2014 07:17 pm (UTC)
Just Because You CanDoesn't Mean You Should came up very often in my first couple rounds of physical therapy too.
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