Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday Musings: Finding help when you need it

Every once in awhile, the stars, the moon, and sun align just right in my life to help me make sense of what is going on. For many years, writing in my journal helped me do that. The ten years it took to bring my memoir to publication did that in a major way, helping me understand how I got to be where I was and the things I did to overcome a difficult childhood and young adulthood.

Two things happened Friday to bring things into alignment for me. One was a session with someone I'll simply call a healer. She is a Ph.D. and uses a number of tools and resources when she works with a client. In that session, we arrived at a core issue of mine that causes me to shift into a negative space when good things happen. That is an over-simplification, but I can't go into the details in a blog post. I was overwhelmed and exhausted after that session, but I had scheduled the first session with my writing coach, Mark David Gerson, http://markdavidmuse.blogspot.com, and wasn't going to cancel.

Mark David wrote my favorite book on writing, The Voice of the Muse, a vastly different approach to writing than anything I'd read before, but one that resonates with me on a very deep level. I had several things going on: my health deteriorated back in February when I suddenly developed A-Fib and Thyroid disease at the same time. As a result, I was tired, irritable, losing my hair, mentally confused, and gaining weight, which made me depressed. I also finished the first draft of my novel. At the same time, I began having throat problems and singing was more and more difficult.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I had completed several more drafts of the book and decided it was done. I simply needed an editor who would guide me through revisions. Mark David said some things to me after reading the manuscript that pushed me into that negative space I referred to earlier. What I heard (not what he said, mind you, but what I heard) was that I needed to completely re-write the book. And there was no way I was going to do that, so I got more depressed. Four years down the drain, yada yada yada.

Friday, at our meeting, I was finally able to hear what he really said, which is that there is a difference between story and making a story into a book. My story is complete, but it's not yet a book. I don't want to say too much about the particulars, because I would give away too much of what my book is about, but suffice it to say, just as I needed to open myself up to the voice that came to me in Ireland and Scotland asking me to tell her story, I need to open myself up to the energy of the book that wants to be brought into the world. It is not a re-write. It is an expanding of what is already there.
The hard part is injecting the emotional realism into the characters, because as we all know, we feel whatever it is our characters are feeling.

Oh, and the last piece. I truly belief my health issues are related to not wanting to do this hard work. All my life, the essence of who I am was suppressed for a number of reasons. This book really represents that essence and to suppress it means to suppress me. We always have a choice, but to choose not to write this book would have serious consequences for me.

So there you have it. Sorry it was such a long post. Hope you hung in there with me.And hopefully, as always, I hope that sharing my trials and tribulations and successes, just might help someone else out there with theirs.

Blessings to all of you.


Optimistic Existentialist said...

Of course we're always going to hang in here with you! We're a blogging family. I love how we can all share these things with one another.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You'll feel even worse if you don't.
I always have to add a great deal to the first draft, including details and emotional depth. You can do it!

Karen Walker said...

Awww, thanks Optimistic
Alex, I'm beginning to think I can. Thanks for the encouragement.

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Karen Walker said...

Thank you Jhon.

Julie Flanders said...

Definitely still hanging in with you! I'm so glad these things came into alignment for you, it's a magical thing when that happens.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love that you stated 'it's an expansion' and not a revision. Expanding on a story is always so much more exciting and fulfilling than cutting back...so glad you're in that boat and that things are looking up for you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. the most important thing is you keep sharing and doing - all will be well - and I'm sure you'll get yourself through ..

Cheers Hilary

~Sia McKye~ said...

Critiques are always tough for a creative person to digest, imo. We have to have the right attitude to hear what's really being said. Our crit partners want the story to be the best it can be. Like mine tell me, always assume the story is good (unless it's said otherwise) but these are the things needed to make it shine. That helps.

Glad to hear things are going better for you. :-)

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Karen Walker said...

julie, that's a perfect word for it
Elizabeth, thanks, me, too.
Hilary, I think so, too - thanks
Sia, yup - thank you!

Sharon Lippincott said...

Wow! I hope you are feeling elated. Such powerful input. Mark David's comment about the difference between a story and a book is awesome. I'm hearing something about the difference between the energy coming from YOU and you being the channel for STORY ENERGY. One is hard work. The other openness. Wow!

Mark David Gerson said...

It's a great story, Karen, and will be an even greater book. I feel privileged to be guiding and supporting you in this small way on your journey from one to the other!

Mark David Gerson said...

Sharon: In the end, the "hard work" is the resistance to that very openness, which is true whether it's a "writing" thing or a "living" thing!