Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Breaking Up’

I have always prided myself on the fact that, when in a relationship of any kind, I have never sacrificed a friend for a man. I have never cancelled a night out with the girls in favor of a last-minute date. I have never responded to text messages during dinner and interrupted the smooth flow of a conversation. Nor have I ever disappeared for weeks or months at a time to lavish all my time and attention on a man – I am not that kind of girl.

That kind of girl…

Or so I thought…

For several months now, instead of writing this blog, I spent those precious hours in a daily and dedicated correspondence to a long-distance (and distant) lover. A lover who, I might add, also has some literary aspirations. Aspiration is a good word, because I could literally feel his aspirations sucking the creativity and life out of my own writing and observations. As I channeled my time and creative energy over to him I had less to spend on myself. In addition, as his “editor,” I spent a great deal of time propping up his ego. This is essential in a vocation that is riddled with insecurity and angst. Just ask my editor.

So, in a sense, I abandoned both my readers and my muse for him. And having done so, I was afraid I had lost both. I was afraid that my readers, tired of waiting around for a new post, had gone off to read other writers’ blogs and that my muse had gone to whisper words into other writers’ ears.

But after a week of steadily blogging and receiving a warm “welcome back,” I have learned that this is not so. And, as I sit in my hotel room in Paris, I am reading all of your wonderful comments and feeling my muse pacing the floor, pausing every few minutes in search of a perfect word to place on the page.

After such a long absence I was also afraid I had lost my rhythm, my words, and that panicky pleasure I get when I write regularly. The same doubts plague the actor, musician, or athlete who, after a long absence, returns to the public stage and asks herself, Can I do it again? Will I be as good? What if I choke?

Writing is, like most things, a profession you have to practice – a lot – if you want to be good at it. The less I practiced, the farther away I got from writing this blog and the closer I came to shutting it down.

That was, until I had a conversation with my editor, Melva McLean, who reminded me that I was still writing every day, just a different kind of writing but writing none the less. It was to an audience of one – my lover. At the same time I was writing to him I was able to see  the tentative first steps it takes for someone else to tell a story.

I could see myself in him and how I too started with the easy stuff. It was the expository, the superficial, the description and the reportage of daily life. Not bad if you wanted to be a working journalist but dull as dirt if you want to tell a story.

I remember when I started writing Any Color but Beige how I rested on the surface of my experience and feelings. I was afraid to go any deeper to plumb the emotional depths that gave my story its joy and sadness – its life. The thought of sharing that part of me with strangers caused my heart to race. I suppose that’s why it took two years.

Over dinner one night Melva said something about great writing that haunts me. She said, “The best stories break your heart.” And she’s right.

My book was born out of heartbreak. The story broke my heart, and writing it as truthfully as possible, with all of the messy wonderful emotions that went with it, helped to heal that heart.

I tried to explain this concept to my lover. I gave him some examples of great writers who bared their souls and risked opening themselves up to ridicule and judgment in the name of great writing, who paid a price but created great works in the process. But he prefers to go through life skimming the surface.

He certainly skimmed the surface of my life. Our relationship had all of the depth of a puddle. The up side to this is that although he may have nicked my heart he certainly didn’t break it. So I must be getting better at this relationship thing. On the other hand ours was not the kind that breaks your heart. It was more like reportage. And I will leave him to write that, since he’s so good at it.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

The future’s so bright…

February 13th, 2009 I packed my bag, purchased an airplane ticket and walked out on my Italian lover. In spite of the temptation to do so, I never looked back.

I arrived in Montreal on Valentine’s Day. How appropriate I thought, to come home to a city that I love, and on Valentine’s Day. It was my gift to myself. Rather than see irony in the situation – as a cynic might, I only saw how right and fitting it was. That’s the optimist in me.

More importantly, I fell into the arms of girlfriends who, with very little notice, came to my rescue. We were Sex and the City “North” I was Carrie Bradshaw – returning from a disastrous Paris experience minus Mr. Big. There was, however, one small glitch.

I had planned to stay in Europe for while and travel, so when I returned not only was I heartbroken, I was essentially homeless. Luckily for me, that was no impediment to my resourceful friends.

Zara was waiting at the airport, car warmed and ready to “come pick” me as she likes to say in her charming Syrian accent.

Nadia made a few quick phone calls and found a furnished place for me at a very reasonable rate. And it wasn’t just any apartment: it was in the heart of the city with a view that took my breath away and my mind off of my troubles. Inside were a lovely orchid plant – and a bowl of bright red apples to comfort me. Nadia had even made sure the internet and the satellite TV were activated.

Annie wasn’t far behind with a bag full of groceries and some toiletries. It was like I had never left. Perhaps, I thought, I had dreamed the whole thing, awakened from a nightmare and found myself in safe and familiar surroundings. Whew! That was a close one.

We celebrated Valentine’s Day– just us girls – a few days later at a cozy little restaurant on McGill. Tucked away in the corner, we ordered tapas and ‘tinis and we toasted ourselves and celebrated our first Un-Valentine’s Day.

We had such a good time that it’s a tradition we plan to continue. This year we plan to spend our UnValentine’s Day on February 27th by creating a pot luck dinner complete with candles, champagne and of course chocolate. No need to worry about reservations.

Break-ups are never easy, and the ones that occur on Valentine’s Day have to be the worst. However, that experience became the inspiration for a book – the premise for which you can read on this blog.

It’s also the basis for this blog which has come to be one of the most satisfying aspects of my life because it touches so many people.

Last year I felt I was in the middle of a long dark tunnel with only a match for illumination. I didn’t know it at the time that one year later I would come out the other side happier, with a new purpose – needing to wear sun glasses.

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Primeop76

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: