Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Writing Scars

This picture is a door on a barn we are purchasing next to our property in PA. You can tell by the marks and peeling paint it's gone through many memories. Battle scars. It stood up to a tornado that passed through years ago, riding it out without a scratch while dozens of trees fell around it.

My husband used to own a horse that resided behind these doors. When I first met Curt, I was ecstatic that he owned such an animal. I think that might have been part of his appeal. He lived on a farm. I begged him to let us ride Flash,

Being a young man who wanted to please, he saddled up the old horse, and he loaded me behind him. I clung to Curt's waist as we plodded up the back mountain. Unfortunately, it was a short ride. When he turned Flash in the direction of the barn, the horse lived up to her name. In a flash, the ride was over. Like a horse to the barn...so the saying goes.

I'm a lot like that barn door. 

I like peeling paint. Fingerprints. Erosion. Wear and tear. That tells me I've lived and loved. My writing is also like this door. It's been worn down over the years through rejections and harsh critiques. I've gotten a few bumps and bruises. Sometimes I imagine my work creaks when I open a new story. But here's the thing, my desire to write is still standing. I'm still writing, My door to my thoughts are still open.

 And like a horse to the barn, I can't wait to get to my desk and write each day.

If your writing has been tested through time, be proud of the wear and tear you've gone through as you grow as a writer, If a tornado tries to blow you over, hang on. You can come through it. We develop stronger skills the more storms we go through. 

My husband plans to paint these doors a fresh coat of white this fall. Part of me hates the thought of covering all that history. I like imaging the past. Conjuring up memories. 

But I also know I can do that only so long. I need to move forward. Pack the memories away--learn new skills. Stretch my muscles. My next book will be much different than my others. Maybe I'll be adding a few more chips to my door but  that's a writer's life.

Have you had recent writing battle scars?


Lillian Robinson said...

I think the whole path to publication is covered with scars. Even the mega-hit debut books are most likely written by writers that are bearing those same scars. Some from others that are learning experiences. Some self-inflicted.

Great Grandma Lin said...

I gave up writing my column for a local newspaper after 6 years of doing it as a volunteer during which time I also used that material for several books I wrote. Now I'm more experienced and refined as a writer and moving on to new and different projects.

Sally Wessely said...

This analogy is great. I think you have such character, and you have written well about how you have gained this character in this post. Terri, you are an inspiration. Keep on keeping on.

Karen Lange said...

I love considering the history behind such items. So much story potential. :)

In reference to your question on my blog, I think Alex would be okay with you sharing it as long as you give him credit. I know several people have shared it on social media already. Appreciate you coming by!

Anonymous said...

So often I hear the words that what does not kill you, makes you stronger. Honestly, I wish I didn't have to go through those storms to get stronger! But the results of what you have produced so far show it is all worth it! I echo Retired School Teacher--you are an inspiration!

quietspirit said...

In my living room sits my grandmother's cedar chest. It looks like it's been through a few wars. I will never refinish it because, you see, she died from a complication of childbirth a few days after my dad was born. I always felt strange when my mother told that story. I had a stepgrandmother who was good to me but I always felt empty because of a loss that happened to my family a long time before I was born. Also, in my living room is a small antique library table that belonged to my great-grandmother. I know it has been refinished.It was a fixture in our house where we lived until I was in high school. I love these connections to the past.

Melissa Amateis said...

Having to abandon a manuscript for the second time left me reeling. I wondered if I'd "lost" my writing ability. But then I realized that I simply wasn't meant to write that story right now, if ever.

Ceil said...

Hi Terri! I'm glad you didn't fall off that horse!
I'm not sure I am tearing it up getting to my writing desk. It still intimidates me, after all this time.
I do enjoy thinking about the past too, and looking to the present to find the movement of God in my life. That's something I hope I always run to!

Enjoy making new memories (and dents) in your new doors!

Unknown said...

I have been out of the writing mode for too long - so I guess that is kind of like a writing scar. It is such a blessing to return - one article done for a magazine and now my blog post. I really wish I could make a living doing this and quit my day job. That would be abit of heaven. Enjoyed your post!