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.