Dearest last frontiers, imagination’s destination, you who sit in the darkness knowing a story will come, you who sit alone with the page. Inventors of heartbeat and poems drawn in the sand, thank you. I love you. I aspire.
Strangers speak to me with strong voices out of nowhere, lend me their memories but never come right out with the ending. We must discover it together, map it outward from the beginning and the time before. Follow the trail. Find the why, the consequences.
I am searching for a truth only one bodiless voice at a time can translate. I will sit in the dark until her name is Grace and her hair is coppery and long, until I know she prefers bourbon and the scent of a winter fire in the hearth over any other choices. Grace will tell me the New Moon is significant, she will tell me the name of the only man she will ever love, she will tell me the name of the only man who scares her to the bone. Grace will tell me everything, eventually, just like Holly did. Just like Carrie will. Just like Kaitlyn wants to.
When the voices began to bring their stories to me I could not explain their arrival to my closest loved ones—the kin, the husband—for fear of worried expressions and questions about just how much had I been drinking. What’s in those brownies? Would you like to see a therapist? There’s no shame in it. No, really. Do you have headaches often? I couldn’t bear defending myself against their fear or potential sneers, I couldn’t explain the compulsion to learn the craft necessary to keep those voices talking.
I shared the truth with new writing friends, giggling nervously, self-deprecating, on the edge of my seat ready to say oh, yeah, I was just kidding. But they got it. They got me. Thank God I found them. And thanks to them, the writers, the rare few out there, the one in particular who kept in touch for a decade who knows I’m staring down the barrel of fifty with no MFA, no kids, no contract but plenty of try try again, and she takes the time to give a shit, to say I Believe In You. Girl, that’s like a full tank of gas and new tires right there. Thank you, T.S.
I have an editor for The NOVEL. I have 20k words and then some written for The SECOND NOVEL. I’ve got a full tank of gas and new tires. Just the right amount of light glimmering at the edge of the darkness. The stories will come.