I’ve sent my first query to New York. AHHHHH EEEEEEEK It is satisfying but also not, in a way. For there is never an end. It is a continual process. There is no after.
So in the “after” that really isn’t an “after” but is more of an “and because of that, this happened,” I have filled my time with making progress on my two new projects. One is a children’s fantasy that also involves a crime scene, and I am finding myself more and more immersed in its world. The other is what I would call my own, unconscious response to The Bell Jar.
I just re-read this book in a period of two days, and I found myself falling straight into it. I love reading books in that manner. I love being all in.
The Bell Jar is one of my favorite books, but it was odd reading it now that I’m about the same age as Esther is in the novel, and I find myself critiquing Esther’s faults more clearly. I also find that I am less enamored with the imprisonment of the bell jar than I was before. When I was younger, there was less of me to relate to Esther career, academic and romantic-stage wise, but reading it now, I am more fully able to absorb its despair because I’m right there with her. Though Esther’s is a story that ends hopeful, it leaves me with a sinking feeling. For I know its author’s story did not end on such a hopeful note.
This brings me to something else. Lately I have not been reading the most uplifting of literature. Which is good, because I do think reading stories of pain, grief, and struggle (to be as general as possible) are important, as they accurately reflect the experience of being a human being. But at the same time, filling myself with only these kinds of stories weighs heavy on my soul, and I’m left feeling too weary to write; I grieve instead, and feel emptied of light. I think it’s important to be aware of what you are feeding your soul. What kinds of stories are you ingesting? How are they affecting you?
Something else to think about: I think it is very easy to sense an author’s soul on the page, whether or not the story is part autobiographical or takes place underneath a bog and has nothing to do with the storyteller’s life. I think you can tell when an author has a magnificent aura. If they don’t, I think that’s easy to tell as well. An artist leaves her imprint in her work, whether unconsciously or not.
At times I worry that if I am in a bad place and I am writing a fantasy for children, how will that mode of being affect my story? In some ways, it’s going to influence my writing whether I intend for it to or not.
Going forward, I will actively try to include more hopeful stories into my literary canon. My favorite authors weave in both of these elements. It is not enough to just see and revel in the depths and dregs of the human soul; this breeds cynicism, resentment, and hate.
The next step is to add something to fill in these voids, these gaps where the human spirit is hurting. This is what I strive to do.
I spent this morning reading and writing a short story and doing a tarot reading, just for fun, but it also helps me relax and think about my past and present and future all at once. Mornings like these help me feel less mundane.