Thursday, November 10, 2011
The writer's block question this morning was about crying. As I went through all the reasons I cry -- or have cried -- I came to the one where someone I loved so much could still hurt me. I mean the man in my life.
As I wrote, I realized that there is a point beyond which there are no more tears, no more recriminations, no more drama. It's the point where someone has hurt me so many times they have exhausted every vestige of emotion from me and left me untouchable. You don't want to get to that point with someone because no matter what else happens, the relationship is dead.
When you can no longer be irked, frustrated, furious, loving, caring, and every color and emotion in between, there is nothing left. That's where I found myself with the man in my life. After years of tears and pain and frustration and anger, I had nothing left to give. That does not mean there is a limit to love, but there is a limit to how much someone can hurt you. It's like torture. At some point, the body shuts off all conduits to pain and you drift in that limbo between life and death until the torture is gone and there is enough of you to heal, or you die. That's what happens with relationships, especially when there is all pain on one side and all sadistic torture from the other side. Torture ceases to be effective and there hasn't been enough love and caring to balance out the pain.
On one hand, that's a good thing because it means the pain is finite and there will be a way out. On the other hand, it means the relationship is doomed to fail because neither party is paying attention to what's happening. The torturer cannot see that his actions are less effective and the tortured cannot see that there is an easier way to end the pain -- walk away. Getting to the point where the tortured no longer cares enough to cry or feels enough to be angry and hurt is not a good thing. Something inside the tortured dies a little more every day with every strike of the torturer's tools and it's difficult, if not downright impossible, to get it back. Unlike calluses that will eventually soften when the need for the callus is gone, emotions and love take a lot longer to heal, and sometimes never do. It takes love and patience -- a whole lot of love -- to regenerate love and caring.
I see it as adopting or taking in an abused animal or person. Every time you raise your hand for the most innocuous reasons, the animal and the person cringe away just as they would if they had been raped and tortured, which is usually the case. It's not often that an animal is raped, but you get the point.
Let's take rape as an example. A woman -- or man -- has been brutally raped. How close will they let a rapist of the same gender get to them in the days, weeks, and often months after the rape without cringing, crying out in terror, or even lashing out? Different for each person, but I'd say the personal bubble just expanded by magnitudes of distance.
In a very real sense, anyone who has been through an abusive relationship (and, yes, a relationship fraught with drama and pain is abusive) has been emotionally raped. Every time the abusive partner breaks away, for whatever reason, and makes his partner cry or leaves them in pain without communication, their actions constitute a rape of the soul. And the soul develops a callus that grows thicker with every infliction of pain, every silence, every excuse until all that is left is . . . nothing. It's the nothing of limbo where pain no longer has an effect, positive or negative, and the love and caring and softer emotions are gone.
That is what happened to me. Let me clarify that. That is what I allowed to happen to me. After years of moments together that add up to less than a month of continuous contact over nearly a decade, I had reached the point where he couldn't hurt me any more and I just wanted him to be gone. I no longer thought about him or wondered why he didn't call, email, write, or show up. I no longer cared if I ever saw him again. I was done. I wanted nothing more to do with him. I had given everything I had and got very little in return.
My family wonder why I don't date and don't care about finding a man. I've been hurt too many times, and this last time was the worst. I am no longer willing to live on promises and accept excuses for negligent behavior. My world is small, but I know everything in it and there is nothing here to hurt me or cause me anguish. There are no wounds to lick, only psychic scars that need time to heal, and I don't think they will heal any time soon. The longer I live, the more I realize that love does not come to us all, and that is all right. I've known love -- of a sort -- and I've known passion. When you get right down to it, that's all we get -- moments. The rest is slogging through the days and nights working, reading, writing, spending time with friends and relatives, and just living. At least I have a lot to write about and a lot of material to use in books and stories and in blog posts. I've lived.
Now, it is time to write.
That is all. Disperse.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Monday, November 07, 2011
There's a writer of my acquaintance who has been touting her traditionally published new book for what seems like forever. She's done this before and now she wants to know if she should self-publish or stick with the traditional publisher, who has purportedly announced the book is not coming out this year, but next year. After having been through this with her several times before in the decade plus that I've known her, I can't say I'm surprised. She has wanted to be published forever and that's not to say she isn't a good writer. She's good in her genre. I just can't get behind this constant push and pull and maybe and maybe not story behind her books. This is the third or fourth one that has been coming out for so long it's almost a joke.
I remember the days when she was telling me how getting published in anthologies, and I've been published in a lot of anthologies over the past four years, was not really being a writer. I don't know why. I got paid and there are books containing my stories. Some of the anthologies carry two of my stories in the same issue, and I've been published and self-published in 18 books in the past four years. I think that's pretty good. She was over the moon when one of her stories was published in an anthology and she was paid 1/4 cent for her contribution, most of which she spent on a case or two of copies to give and sell to her friends and fans. I think she still has a case and a half.
One thing I don't understand is the need to denigrate another writer to make yourself feel better or more professional. It's less professional and petty. I am glad for her successes and, while it's not obvious by this post, I do hope her book is published soon. There is no greater thrill than seeing one's work on a bookshelf, virtual or otherwise, and know that all the hard work, sweat, blood, and tears (always a lot of tears) paid off.
Writing isn't, or at least I don't think it should be, a competitive sport. We are all writers together. We may not write the same things or appeal to the same audiences, but with nearly 7 billion people on the planet, there's room for all of us, and buyers and readers for all of us, too, even if only a handful ever know you existed. There are more people born every day and that means more people who will grow up and may choose to read your book or mine. It's not a competition -- except when it is -- and it's not worth keeping score. It is, however, worth making sales, and I hope your sales and mine are always the best.