What Becomes A Mountain

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Mount Drum, Alaska, stock photo

I’ve sometimes talked about the great plans that I had for being, becoming, a writer. When things didn’t go as planned and I found myself, instead, trying to pull myself back up and recover from a breakdown, there were things that though I’d previously dealt with them, and quite thoroughly, I might add, they once again began rolling themselves up into a mountain. I’d faced my demons down once already and so bolstered, what I thought was that I’d wait until my son was an adult, until my grandparents had left this world, and then, having acheived a place of personal peace and well-being in my own life, I was going to fearlessly cut loose with the writing. So goes the saying, “Man plans, God Laughs.”

Over the course of several years there got to be a list of things that I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to write or write about, just no way, not going to do it, never going to happen, whether it was writing about vampires, I’m never writing about vampires, I said, and then, I’m never writing about vampires again, or writing about my own life, or writing about my nervous breakdown, or writing about drugs, or writing poems, or this one book over here that I wrote about a weed growing through a crack in the sidewalk, I’m not ever writing that, no one will see or know about that. I’m not ever going to write that one book because Judy Noseypants Can’t Mind Her Own Business to Save Her Life said XYZ and she can suck it!  After a while, instead of having a list of books that I was writing or going to write, I had a list of books that I was insisting to myself that I was never going to write, for one reason or another.

“Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they’re yours.” ~ Richard Bach, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

      While still in my twenties, I worked very hard on overcoming all of that exact stuff so that I could be this fearless writer, free and able to just get it down on the pages and get it done. I was, I thought, the epitome of “well-adjusted.” How all of those fears, and everything that comes with them, crept in again so that they then became an avalanche of things that I wasn’t really dealing with just waiting to cascade down on me, is likely a book in and of itself. But, I got through it. I got through it only to realize that I’d survived the metaphorical avalanche, and now there was a metaphorical mountain in front of me. Now, I could just stay put, if I wanted to, metaphorically speaking, but not really, because I’d know that I was holding back or not really doing or writing what I wanted to do, in some way, that I was censoring my own work in an unhealthy way, that I was feeding my own repression, and that as a writer, well, if you’re going to do that, what’s the point? Understanding that of course there is a healthy level of restraint to be exercised at times, depending on what one is writing about, certainly, and I’m glad that I had a bit of a moment to regroup about some of those things and say to myself, “Okay, I don’t need to write about this person, and I can leave that part out,” etc., a moment to check and re-check my motives or whatever else and get my head straight, but that restraint, it isn’t the same thing as stifling ones own voice as a writer, and certainly not to the point of silence or oblivion.

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Without getting too involved in processes, as they are completely individual, and it would be too lengthy a discussion for this writing, we all deal with things in our own way, the point is, I do deal with things. I’ll deal with it, I’ll take it apart from the ground up, put it back together, dissect it, diffuse it, own it, disown it, whatever needs to get dealt with, slay a dragon, turn a mountain into dust, put it behind me and get on with living.

“The best way out, is through.” ~ Robert Frost

     If there is anything that everyone can take away from this year, from the year 2016, I think that it is the preciousness of time.One of the things that was put to me, by someone who had ulterior motives, was that I could write later. “You can write later. Your writing will always be there for you later. You don’t have to do it right now.”  The person who said that would have preferred it if I waited indefinitely. I had said recently that we seem so shocked by the passing, the deaths, this past year, of many of the iconic celebrities of our youth, but then if we were to consider their ages, that really, it isn’t that shocking a thing, I mean, what do we consider to be “old” now? The older I get, the more interesting a question that becomes. But it isn’t an unusual thing for people who are into their late sixties and beyond, to pass away. Not to mention that possibly some of those iconic figures did some hard living, all the drugs they did in the sixties. But then, a few days ago Carrie Fisher, who is only sixty, had a heart attack, while on a flight from London, and on Christmas day, the soulful singer, George Michael, passed away, and he was only fifty-three. Fifty-three is, without question, still young, and too young. My husband is fifty. I just turned forty-eight. I thought, I’ll be forty-nine in 2017. Enough of this shit. You can wait yourself right out of having any time left and generally, probably, for reasons and people who don’t matter or care about you in the least to begin with. I factored that right into my thinking as well, time waits for no one ever. In this I will admit to you, dear readers, that I don’t know if I am afraid of death itself or not, but, that I am afraid of dying before I think I’m finished living. In that, I’ve realized that there will always be something else that I will want to do, to accomplish, in this life. Will my writing, all the things that I’ve wanted to do, still be there for me later? Guess what time it is. It’s later.

I think that my favorite George Michael songs are probably “Freedom 90,” which I listen to on a pretty regular basis,  “A Different Corner,” which is such a beautiful song, and, “Careless Whisper.” But this is the one that I remember hearing that changed my mind about listening to “WHAM!”, at the time.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise.” ~ Sylvia Plath

     I had to work my way back around to this place with myself with my writing and it wasn’t easy. It has taken me the last five years at least to get my feet under me again and change, re-route, and rewire, my inner dialogue back the way that it belongs, from some stubborn, miserable, stilted, halted, mantra of “I am not doing this!”, to making a list of the titles that I am working on, the books that I am writing, to looking at that proverbial, metaphorical, mountain, and making up my mind. For me, 2016 became a year that was about learning how to let go, again. Something that I’ve discovered generally isn’t what people think that it is. Sometimes we hold on so tightly that we lose our grip. If we quit chasing the butterfly, it comes to us. If we hang on to something not meant for us for too long, then other things are getting away, and so on. This past year was, in so many ways, about the narrowing of possibilities for the sake of expanding possibilities. I had to come to a new, deeper, understanding of many things in order to get to this place with myself now. There have always been certain things that I’ve wanted to write, I’ve known that, but what I didn’t know was that while I was capable of conceptualizing them, I wasn’t yet capable of writing them the way that I wanted to.

    I published two books this year, my first novel, The Slick Furies, noirish-horror-romance- romp about the Agents of Aeternus Fidei hunting vampires, and a book of dark poetry, Winsome Vein. I hope to publish at least two books in 2017, the first of which will be a collection of short fiction titled, Grain, that I hope to release before the end of January. I’ve started work on a novel, and I’m about ten thousand words into something else as well. This is the life, the writing life for me, my life as a writer, one that I am happy to have, a life that I am once again learning to love and be completely in love with.

     I don’t know what the year 2017 will bring for me personally, or for those whom I care for. I had a wonderful Christmas holiday with my family, for whom I am so grateful. I don’t know what the year 2017 has in store for the world, “2017” seems an incredibly futuristic number to see written down. I do know that whatever the future holds, I am going forward into the new year without placing any limits on my writing, my work. Continuing to have faith, to learn and to grow, to believe in love, and to draw strength from whatever is good in this life and world.

Teri Skultety

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Categories: a moment, all night long, courage, dreams, Fiction, freedom, grace, GRAIN, heart, home, hope, life, living, love, My writing., Non-Fiction, Novelist, Poetry, Posted by Teri Skultety, soul, strength, transcendence, transformation, writing

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