bird at sunrise

A conflict arose between me and a friend this week. Passive voice = terrible writing, but that’s what it felt like. Not really a fight, not really an argument, but a conflict. Neither of us started it, neither of us wanted it, but there it was, rising up between us like an ugly, fast-growing weed.

Hmm, I like the image of friendship as a garden. Different friendships, different gardens? Rose gardens and tea gardens and straight-lined vegetable gardens, rock gardens and English gardens. Hedges and bougainvillea…

Bougainvillea is so beautiful and yet so mean. If you’ve got bougainvillea in your friendship garden, it’s just waiting to stab you unexpectedly. It’s not like a cactus, screaming “do not touch” but more of a hidden danger. Maybe a judgement that hurts? I have one friendship that mattered a lot to me — it was a gorgeous garden, lush and flowering and colorful. But it’s basically a desert now, all dried up and barren. I think it was bougainvillea that did it.

Anyway, not the point. My conflict this week is resolved, more or less, but I’m still having imaginary arguments about it. Ruminating, in other words. After lots of therapy, a couple years of therapy school, and plenty of self-help books, I know how to deal with ruminating — when I catch myself having the thought again, I stop and say, “I’m having a thought about X, what’s the feeling behind it?”

For me, ruminating about something that’s over and done with means that it’s not actually done, that there’s an emotion that I need to experience in order to let go. I am completely mystified by this one, though. I don’t know what the feeling is. Hurt? Rejection? Anger? Anger is usually a secondary emotion — at its root, anger is usually about hurt or fear, maybe shame. Fear and shame don’t fit either, though. I tried talking to another friend about it, but it didn’t help. Would that I had a good therapist on speed-dial, because I feel like I’m hovering on one of those self-awareness breakthroughs good therapy can give you, if only I could get there.

Speaking of getting there… I am leaving Cedar Key today and Grace is not finished. Sigh. I am not going to blame my ruminations. I am not going to blame my Lois McMaster Bujold purchases, either, although they definitely had something to do with it. I made progress, just not enough progress.

As with every step of this book, the problem is too many characters. At every moment, I’ve needed to know what all the characters are doing — not just Noah and Grace, my ostensible hero and heroine, but Dillon, Rose, Sophia, Joe, Nadira, Misam, and now Akira. It’s like juggling, I suppose — even when the ball I’m juggling is not in my hand, I need to know where it is and where it’s going.

But I refuse to be depressed about it. I’m heading into a really busy week, to be followed by a really exciting week, to be followed by a really busy week… and then I will sit in Serenity in Pennsylvania and not move until I’ve finished writing Grace. Well, probably I will move. But I will really try to focus on Noah and Grace. Someday these two are going to find a happy ending!

Meanwhile, my really busy week starts today: I’m headed to Sarasota for a Mother’s Day weekend with R. I liked sitting still for two weeks — it was not as productive as I wanted it to be, but it was relaxing to grow familiar with a location. There’s a balancing act between “on the road” and “living in a tiny house” and I don’t think I’ve quite found my balance yet, but writing definitely gets easier when I’m not constantly moving. A point to remember as I plan my post-July time!

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