Someone put up a picture on Instagram of a quote from one of my stories in Ecstatic Inferno. And my primal brain knew that it was my writing, but in a way I couldn’t accept it, because the words that I had written were so far from my current state. It was as if I was looking at my writing from when I was 12 years old, when my brain was still going through rapid-fire development, and I could only barely see the seed of myself.

But this was fresher than that. I wrote that story mere years ago. So it was weird looking at it through that context. Seeing that someone deeply connected with the quote, enough to post it on their Instagram, and I could barely comprehend its significance anymore.

I am not the sad girl anymore who sees the world like pinholes poked in a dark curtain letting only a little light through. The best way to describe it is that I’ve ripped down the fucking curtain and the light has come bearing down on me with such force that I can see the entire landscape. I’m not wandering in the desert with Moses anymore, searching for the promised land. I am already there. There is no fog to stumble through. I see clearly many things that before were a mystery to me.

What does this mean for my writing? Honestly, I don’t know. If I think about the times when I was filled with chaos and rage, I can tap into that style. It flows easily, because the wound is fresh.

But when trying to explain this new reality, my writing falls short. I write with more precision now, but it lacks some color. Some of my ornate prose is gone. The world I see now is so brilliant and blinding I don’t have the words necessary to describe it right now, so I resort to abstractions. Simple analogies. One sentence after another marching in order. This. Is. Reality. The fluidity is gone. My descriptions are simpler.

 

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I always feared when this would happen. I was afraid that if I pursued happiness, or a better life for myself, my writing would become a stranger to me. And I was right. I can barely connect with that sad girl who wrote We Are Wormwood searching desperately for truth in a world that she’d been born into and broken inside of. Or the girl who wrote The Crooked God Machine who saw the apocalypse in every high-rise building and evil in the hearts of all men. That’s not to say those books aren’t valuable or have literary merit or connect with people – because I still think they do. That just isn’t me anymore, and I don’t want to write another We are Wormwood or Crooked God Machine. I want to step into the skin of this new person I’ve become and write with this new color palette I’ve found.

So, I’m not scared anymore. I’m excited. Because I think the struggle and the haphazardness and occasional stiffness of my writing as I continue to try to see the world in a new way is going to push me into writing at a kind of acuity that I thought was impossible for me.

In many ways: we write as extensions of ourselves. We write as we see the world. For anyone who is scared to take those steps, to change their life and see their art disrupted – I won’t lie and say that the art won’t be disrupted, because it probably will. But it doesn’t mean you’re going to lose a spark that made you wanted to create in the first place. I think if you truly do love writing, it’s going to give your writing new dimensions, give you new textures and landscapes to play with.

That spark you have may have the chance to become the raging fire that consumes the old parts of you, burns clean the debris for something beautiful and new.

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