I would be lying if I said writing the new novel, All the Roads Home, has been easy. I would lying if I said I’m breezing right thru it which I am clearly not since it’s not out yet and I have pushed back its release date to February 2015. But not for the reasons you might think. I haven’t been idle and have been writing. I’ve been working on the book and several short stories. Eventually, I’ll either post those up on my blog or let them sit in a folder on my laptop/Cloud Storage until some other time.
A few months ago I was talking with my friend Emily who I used to work with and who is about my age. She’s in a great relationship and very happy now; happier than she’s been in a long time. She’s in college full time like me. But she is now finding that her drive to keep going is lacking. Her interest is waning even though she wants to finish and is nearly done. She is, “Drunk on happiness” she tells me. She has so much to be happy about now that some things don’t matter as much as they once did.
Emily much like myself spent a long length of time in a “turrable” relationship. During this relationship she used her college classes as an outlet for her frustrations; her anger. An outlet to focus on because she didn’t know how to deal with the bad situation she was in. I spent three years in a relationship; which looking back on now was absolutely horrible 90% of the time. It was during this tumultuous relationship that I wrote chapters 13-41 of Running Northwest, finished and published the novel.
I am much like Emily in this way. During those three-ish years I used my book, my writing, my goals, my dreams and plans as a focus point when things were really bad even when I was the only one who believed in them. I would ignore the life and the world around me. I would hide away and write for hours and hours when I wasn’t in classes, doing homework or working because it was easier than dealing with the horrible relationship and mental abuse I was, for whatever reason, tolerating.
Maybe I was scared, maybe I was afraid of failing, and maybe I felt like the longer I was with her I had to stay…some sort of fucked up loyalty or duty which is almost the same way I felt near the end of my first marriage. Or maybe I felt bad for her because deep inside I knew no one else would ever want her because she’s just….a truly horrible person. Maybe that’s shitty of me to say but I don’t care. In the end (despite all my friends and family telling otherwise―sometimes on a daily basis) I just didn’t realize I could do and deserved A LOT better than that old troll.
So, I poured my lonely and beaten heart into Running Northwest. I took all that energy from my anger, fear and frustrations and put it into the words that became my first novel. I took solace in that and the love of my dog Harley (before she was taken) and tried to hope for the best. I pushed forward.
In the words of Tom Hanks from Sleepless in Seattle:
“Or work. Work hard. Work will save you, work is the only way to see you through this.”
Now, much like my friend Emily I am “Drunk on happiness.” I am in the kind of relationship with the kind of woman my heart always needed and looked for. Stacey is 25 now and I’ve had a crush of varying degrees on her since she was 19/20 and I was 29/30. We have a handsome 2 week old son and my future―our future is going to be amazing. Even now, while I am writing this post, I get distracted when I look over at her while she is holding our son while she sits in the recliner watching The Hobbit. I get lost in the immense amount of love and adoration I have for them and I wonder….Why did waste my time with anyone else when she was right there? How did get this lucky. Timing is everything I guess.
My next book All the Roads Home and the rest of the books in the Oregon series are still very much a priority for me. But I no longer have the frustrations and anger that I once I had driving me forward. Heartbreak and feeling alone have been replaced by feelings I can scarcely describe here. So I am finding new ways and have new reasons to motivate myself with my writing. I don’t need to hide away like I did before. I no longer need to get lost in my own world of writing in order to feel even a little happiness. Happiness is all around me.
If I am going to be sidetracked a little from my writing and putting in time for writing I can’t think of any better reason than to spend time with my family. Funny considering I never thought this would happen to me and for years…ran from it. Now I embrace it.
In all reality I could have All the Roads Home finished in 2 weeks if I buckle down. That may be easier said than done since the fall semester starts next Monday at GVSU. We will see what happens.