Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When Creative Souls are Born

I was a mere 22, a youngster just out of college, fresh on the cops beat at a very small daily in my hometown. I lived with a portable scanner hooked on my pants or in my bag. I kept the sound low, but I was on call 24/7. I wrote about fires, crashes and murders. It was a hellish but thrilling life, a job that taught me more about working and humanity and the world than all 16 years of school. Perhaps this is why I am beyond my 36 years.

It was a job I actually didn't even want - such has been the case for most of my jobs in life.

One weekend I helped my best friend work in the local strip mall for that year's Domestic and Sexual Violence Clothesline Project. The shirts, all red or purple, were decorated by someone who was a survivor or a family member of a victim. They were moving as an installation; each one pulled at your heartstrings a little more than the one next to it.

A woman, in her early 30s, walked up and she was distraught and crying and begging to buy one of the shirts -- one about being raped. We tried in various ways to explain to her that the shirts were not for sale. She walked away more upset.

That week, I started a novel about that stranger. I wrote nearly 20,000 words.

Then Life got in the way.

I got a new job a year later, met my future husband, married, suffered infertility, got pregnant, WITH TWINS, had the twins, went through post-postpartum that I only now recognize as post-postpartum, raised the twins to little girls, where they now rest in a pretty easy state.

Along the way, I worked at another newspaper, writing, of course, then quit that to give back to my community in a role that managed mentors for teen moms, quit to be a Stay at Home Mom, then quickly became a Work-at-Home mom who freelanced by day and night while being a full-time mother. They were all hard and fulfilling. But they did all have one thing in common: Searching for more, seeking more, waiting for more.

I was always watching the clock for what was next, never just enjoying what I already had. Frankly, I do not regret that time for it led me to where I am now, to this place of still and calm (for the most part).

I'm not there anymore. I'm beyond all of it. I'm not waiting to get married, I already am. I'm not longing to get pregnant, I'm done with that. And, I am not writing to pay the bills, I'm writing for the fun of writing. More than that, the bills are paid and we're in a pretty stable place as a family.

The time is right. Do I think back and wonder why it took 11 years to write a novel? Yes, I have, but it was only this past year when the time was ripe, when I had the clear mind and the clarity to do it. I no longer question it but understand it and accept it. This realization is helping me move forward, making up for lost time.

And that's how my Creative Soul was born. How about you? When was yours born? Or, is it still evolving and growing and finding a place it can be sustained?


  1. I am SO GLAD you are back. I love your beautiful writing.

    I have always loved looking at photographs. It has always been an obsession. But it wasn't until I wanted to capture my life with twins that I finally realized I could DO photography. Really do photography.

  2. Isn't it AMAZING how it takes so much time and energy to get to the place where you CAN write? What a great story! Thanks for sharing! xo

  3. Great writing here Shawn. My Creative Soul has been born and died and been re-born several times, I think. My C.S. has worn many different costumes in many different seasons.

    I think my Writer was born during those turbulent teenage years. She is still trying to find her place in the world.

    I'm delighted to have found your Creative Soul to share time and space with in this world.