Crossroads

I’m feeling a mixture of resignation and sadness tonight, vacillating between the desire to be completely invisible and renewed inspiration with hope for the future.

Hope. Such a dangerous thing.

I’m on the cusp, really. For awhile now I’ve been thinking that I really had no more stories to tell, especially at the moment.

Since the rape, I can no longer write romance or erotica without the stories being tinged with assault or exploitation, as my world-view has been forever altered. Sex, even over two years later, is not something I can think about, let alone write or do.

I read “The Handy Man” tonight, and I find that I’m no longer comfortable even reading my old erotic stories, especially in public. I was nervous, and I’m rarely nervous at a reading. Although I frequently have the problem of wondering if the audience is enjoying it or if they’d rather be doing something else…or wondering if the story is too long or at all interesting. This time, especially.

I found myself truncating the sex scenes, skipping over parts that were too explicit and descriptive…wanting just to get through it. Get it over with.

On one hand, I’ve met fans and readers who were excited to see me and buy the new titles, I’ve sold out of three of my five titles already, but on the other hand, I think I’m done with this part of my life. I certainly won’t be writing erotica/steamy romance anymore. After writing three novels last year and another six short stories, my creative energy is spent.

I’m thrilled to be at AnomalyCon, and I’m ever so grateful that Kronda wanted to bring me back. I’ve had a wonderful time here, and it feels really good to be working again. Similarly, the wonderful, supportive people who do Steampunk World’s Fair are trying to bring me out to be part of their Consent and Safety Track, and I would be beyond honored to be a part of that.

All this gives me renewed confidence in my work, both fiction and nonfiction. It gives me the (dangerous) hope of a possible renewal of my writing career, too, after its trajectory was halted by assault and recovery.

But, I’m a different person now. I will either find a new voice, new stories to tell and ways to tell them, or my writing days are over. Perhaps I’m just at a place where my creative energy is sapped and I need time to recover.

After all, it’s been a rough few years. I’ve written eleven books and two-dozen short stories in the past six years. We also lost our three beloved dogs and adopted a new treasured canine family member. I’ve survived several assaults at the hand of my (former) best friend, (former) trusted colleague, and (former) beloved boyfriend. I quit my job and moved across the country to feel safe again after my communities shunned me and embraced the assailants. I’ve struggled with dissociative episodes and chronic illness through the trauma recovery. My husband had a near-fatal accident that kept him from walking for a few months and robbed him of nearly an entire year of work, not to mention our entire savings.

Maybe I just need time to recover…but it feels like I’m standing at a crossroad. I’m not sure which road to take, so I’ll just listen to Bach, meditate, and try to sleep tonight.

It will be interesting to see how this year unfolds.

~ by omgrey on March 30, 2014.

11 Responses to “Crossroads”

  1. Beloved little girl. Take time to heal. You have gone through storm after storm, been battered and bruised and come out alive, but not unscathed.

    Now is the time to take time for yourself. You have given so much to us and you should know that we will always hunger for more, but you need time to become you again. Whoever and however this new you will become is unseen, but you are creative and intelligent and you will come though this.

    If you never write another word, there is no shame. We bless you fro what you have given us and enjoy the worlds you spun for us. For those that denounce you, Forget them, they are not worth your time nor bother.

    Heal. Meditate. Figure out what to do next and then carefully do it.

    My heart goes out to you. I wish I could wave my hands and have all your problems fade away like a bad fog, soon to be forgotten. But I cannot. There have been times that I wished I could present you the boiled skull of your rapist to you, but that would do no good. the scars will stay with you a long time if not forever.

    If you do write again, it need not be erotic. Sex is or was a part of you, but it is not all of you. You have adventure, wit, cunning, imagination and sass! You can use those as you have before, and no jerk can ever take those away from you.

    So take time now for you, then for your husband and also your loved ones. We can wait, even if it is forever.

    Clint

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Clint. Nice to see you commenting again.

      It was a rough night, but overall the weekend and people there inspired me more than anything else.

      May you find peace.

  2. At crossroads four directions are known; above and below nod, and center revealed. She is quiet, heavy, lush, and fecund, but still. After a time, through veils of darkness, her endless resilience emerges – breathing deeply of unexpected awakening in bright garden light.

  3. Dear friend, we love you and we love your writings. However, your writings are not the whole sum of you. Rest and recharge. We will be here for you whether you have more to write or not. Biggest of hugs to you and your family.

    • Hugs to you my dear! xoxo
      Thank you for these important words of comfort and encouragement! I think I shall write again. No doubt.

  4. I can assure you that your writing days are hardly “over.” Witness this blog post… there were so many turns of phrase that I highlighted and read over and over! But you are definitely correct in that your voice has changed, and it will never “recover.” But trust will return.

    It took me five years after I was raped by the dishwasher where I worked before any man could come near me or touch me from behind, as my rapist was also a “friend” who I worked with. Since I trusted him, how could I now trust anyone? Impossible.

    And then I too was blamed and shunned by everyone in my community (as is always the case, even to this day): shunned and blamed by my family, friends, my boyfriend who threw me out in the snow (I was now “damaged goods, I must have done something to invite it or wanted it”), the police who said I must be a “prostitute who hadn’t been paid” or my “skirt was too short” and I “didn’t fight back hard enough” (tied up with a knife at my throat) and I had no witnesses (which was the law in NY in 1969) and worst of all, a therapist I went to in 1990, named Sonja K. Schoenwald, who declared this was “part of my risk-taking behavior, my not taking care of myself, and proof of my mental illness.” To this day, I can’t believe what this young woman wrote about me and told her supervisors, and they all blamed me 20 years later, after the fact! This was the worst blow of all.

    I think the therapist with her brand of “therapy” is what really did me in. I can’t trust ANYONE now, and never will again. Therapy is supposed to be based on trust, but when they betray you, who can you trust?

    But the one good thing that came out of all this is that if I can’t trust anyone else, I can learn to trust MY SELF. If I can do this, it will be my Saving Grace, in the end. So thank you” to all those rotten bastards who are teaching me (the hard way) to learn to look into myself, and find the strength to trust and rely on My Self. What else do we have? We carry our self with us wherever we go, and with our own self, we are never alone. We can learn to be our own best friend. Our self is the trust that will never let us down.

    This all finally came to me (the notion of this, anyway), and even though I’m not there yet, I will get there one day. And so will you. The truth has set us free.

    Keep up the good work!

    You are writing right now, and this is so much more important, at least to so many people like me. And all of us who have “joined the club” of how to overcome trauma, how to heal, and how to eventually find a way to that elusive “how to let go.” We are all in this together! Thank you for sharing with all the rest of us out there who don’t know how to give voice to our feelings and what we have gone through. You are making it real and “all right” for me, even after so many long years. You are witness and participant to all that we’ve gone through. We join hands in blessing and thank God for our survival and our chance to be free.

    There’s plenty of erotic stories out there and we need more awareness of what happens when erotica goes wrong. You have now joined the ranks of the unspoken, and you will help to set us all free. Thank you for your excellent blog. You are helping to change lives for the better! Sharing suffering always ultimately leads to peace and healing.

    Dear God, please show us The Way. Amen.

    • You’re so right, Catherine. I write still, even if it’s nonfiction on blogs. Writing is part of who I am, so I will no doubt continue.

      I’m so sorry for the cruelty you have endured, and I wish with all my heart that you find peace.

      Thank you for your supportive words and for reminding me how my words have helped you as well.

      In solidarity…

  5. Take time. Heal. Find your new voice. There are always more stories to tell.

    • Thank you, Doc. There are indeed.

      The weekend, the editor of Steampunk Trails asked me to please submit more stories. They loved my “Fade of the Innocent,” and placed it first in their premiere issue.🙂

      There will be more stories to tell. Of that I have no doubt.

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