“And if you never come back If you never call I say I’ll understand when I don’t at all
‘Cause the trouble with wanting is I want you The trouble with wanting is I want you The trouble with wanting is I want you And I want you all the time” – Joy Williams
I don’t understand. I don’t think I ever will. But I’m certain, somewhere in the quiet places, I’ll always miss you. Around dark corners, when the busy days grow quiet – I will wonder. I will think of you.
These days, when the day fades, in the quiet of these humid summer evenings, I wish to understand. But the artist in me knows that the beauty in life, is often found in the grey. In the hazy spaces, where things don’t make sense, is where life grows deeply vibrant. Pain turns to growth. We find truth, art, beauty. It’s sometimes buried deep – but by God – it’s there.
My greatest joy has always been born from pain.
I am not sure I’ll ever understand. But I’ve certainly learned, in a way that makes me a better version of me, from what I’ve lost or don’t understand. And you, the man I’d burn it all down for, are no different.
“There are more questions than answers. In the beauty of this wild thing, I long for you. What is and will not be follows me around like a coastal fog. Through the haze I see you. I don’t hold it against you – you can’t tame wild things.
I live here in this tension, with what will not be, settling into the cold, wild – alone.”
I don’t hold it against you.
But, I think somewhere in my heart, I will always miss you.
There’s a song I love – “I Was Born to Love You” by Ray LaMontagne. It runs through my mind constantly these days. I’ve sat down about fiddy billion times, to write something based on the song – but every time I do – life takes over and I lose my mojo.
There’s a lot going on at the moment. I haven’t written consistently in a couple weeks. It’s a huge bummer. I was writing a ton. There are things going on at my day job – throw in some stuff on my heart – and phew, after work, I just don’t have anything left. But this song – this song. I was born to love you – the lyrics play over & over again in my head – as I wonder when I’ll get unstuck from this place that costs me far too much.
The problem is, that when I set out to write or work toward other goals, reality steps in and I can’t quite get there. There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of create a life you don’t need a vacation from. While I don’t 100% agree with that statement, because life isn’t always gonna be walk in the park/vacay, there’s something to that idea. For years now, I’ve been trying to re-arrange my professional life in a way that makes room for what I’ve wanted most for my life. It seems that I can’t quite get there though. For me, creating this life is about making room for what matters most to me, what I feel most called to do, and somewhere in there – the family that has eluded me so far. It’s not that these things aren’t possible in my current career, they’re just constrained is all – especially now.
I read the following on Steven Furtick’s Facebook page – posted a short time ago, as I was writing this meandering & weird missive, “When you feel stuck, that means you’re on the verge of something significant. God has his hand on your life. Don’t stop now.” In this moment when I am feeling more stuck than ever before, when I’m tempted to think the struggle is a sign (that I should give up), I’m more certain than ever before, that I’m on the right track.
I was born to love you. I’m going to write it – as I wrote Wild Things, when the reminder of another favorite song seemed to fit my August of 2020, so well. It’s my little act of defiance and a reminder to myself of what I hope is waiting on the other side.
I mentioned recently that I’ve started a new novel. This is certainly not a final product, since I’m only 10,000 words in, but here is the “blurb” I’m using to describe the novel now.
Ellison Whiting writes bestselling novels about families and relationships. She has made a name for herself – doing just that. Her novels become movies. Her fans become so invested in her books, she sometimes questions if they realize they’re fiction. Ellison Whiting’s problem is she writes novels about families and relationships – but she’s never known what it is to be in a family, or a healthy relationship, for that matter. Abandoned by her mother as a toddler, she is convinced of one thing and only one thing – based on the necklace with her few belongings – she was born by the sea. She’s spent a lifetime imagining her life before foster care. After another break-up, after a long string of break-ups, she decides it’s time. She leaves California behind, to uncover her history – along the coast of North Carolina – where she finds the family she’s always wondered about. But at what cost?
Here’s a brief excerpt.
“The secret to writing a great book is that there is no secret. Just a lot of hard work. I’ve written a fair number of bestsellers over the years. The kind that get you movie deals. They’re all still in development, by the way. I have a loyal fan base that would buy anything with my name on it, even if it’s awful. The truth is, everything I’ve written the last two years has been crap. I tried. I’ve tried. But when Carter left, something in me died. It’s not exactly like he was my muse. Honestly, he sucked at being in a relationship. It’s just that he’d been one of the few I’d trusted and that went right the hell out the window along with my will to write about love and family. I’d had a long string of relationships that never went anywhere. That’s the irony of course. I make my name, tons of cash, and I happened to garner critical success – writing about love and family – of all things. My books aren’t romances per se. They’re women’s fiction. I write about women and their relationships – motherhood included. It just so happens each book has a very strong romance element, even if the protagonist’s love interest is a secondary character. My most popular books, without a doubt, however – are love stories. The weirdness of writing a life I don’t know and have never experienced, is not lost on me. But I guess sometimes we know best, what we’re missing. That certainly seems to be the case with me.”
You can read the opening paragraph of Sea Glass Hearts, here. You can see my Pinterest, inspiration board, here. And yes, of course I have a Spotify playlist, too.
As a kid, I wrote a lot of poetry without understanding much about it. I still don’t know much, to be honest. As an English major, I cut my teeth on poetry – starting from the beginning of recorded literature. Any English major that doesn’t know the pain of Beowulf (reading, analysis, and paper-writing to follow), is no English major at all. 🙂 I can’t tell you how many times I had to read The Canterbury Tales. I’ve taken entire classes on poetry. There are poems that stir my heart and inspire me. I adore children’s poetry books. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that I’m not talented enough as a writer, to attempt anything but free verse. And even still, I stumble around with words and phrases. I compose these words on my heart. But write I must – even when I stumble and fumble.
The words are all I have to give – though I long to give more.