Choices and Costs: Awakening

Posted October 14th, 2011 by Julie Carriker

“That was you…?  We could have had years already…”


Those were the words that unlocked a part of me I hadn’t consciously known, that had been lying dormant within me for a very long time.


At seventeen I put away (mostly), my most precious schoolgirl longings and faced “reality.”  I began interacting more with my peers: dated, married, had children…  I put myself on the path that led me away from that teenage girl and to my forty-fourth year.  To the casual observer my life seemed normal.  I was a wife, a mother, a teacher, a college student, a Girl Scout leader.  I was the one everyone could depend on.  I saw to everyone else’s needs and wants before my own.


But I didn’t know who “me” was anymore.  I didn’t know what whoever-that-was needed or wanted.


I hadn’t in I don’t know how long.


But those words, whispered into my mind, began to bring it all back.  I was so enamored with it all that I was heedless of any consequences.  I was more self-focused than I had been in a long time, maybe ever, so I didn’t notice the effect my metamorphosis was having on those around me.


And the words!  The words continued to flow through my fingers, scenes unfolding one after another.  I was captivated!


My husband had been emotionally distant for a long time, but I had remained steadfast.  This all changed when I found something that was MINE!  Honestly, I didn’t think he would notice, but he did, and the jealousies began.  I had supported him through everything he did, yet he was threatened by my awakening.  It drove an additional wedge between us, and was ultimately the thing that tore us apart.


In the seven and a half years since I first heard those words whispered into my ear my life has turned 180 degrees.  Ten years ago I would NEVER have imagined I would be living the life I am now, that I would have made so many drastic changes.  I do have regrets; I regret that I have hurt people I love, especially my daughters, and I regret that a thousand miles separate us.  I did what I felt I had to do though, for my self and for my sanity (although I doubt many people would classify my choices as “sane”).  I hope that one day my girls will understand, and that they are never faced with some of the decisions I have been.


The words are still here, and although they do sometimes elude me, I have faith that they WILL remain with me always.  I also have faith that SOMEHOW I will negotiate the complexities of the publishing business and find a way to share the stories that burn in me with the reading public.


Any ideas on HOW to accomplis THIS would be greatly appreciated, of course.


The Beginning: Kissed By The Muse

Posted October 5th, 2011 by Julie Carriker

It was one of those moments when my life changed.


We all have such moments, of course.  We have them all the time, but usually we are unaware that they are occurring, that they are pivotal, until they are long gone.  This time though, I knew as it was happening that my world would forever be changed.


But even I could never have imagined how great the changes would be.  I knew that giving myself over to the stories burning within me would disrupt the even flow of my life, but not that it would lead to events that would shift its entire course.


I was settling down, trying to fall asleep, when I began to remember scraps of a recent, recurring dream.  I saw fluttering images and heard a whisper in my ear.


“That was you…?  We could have had years already…” his familiar voice said.


My eyes flew open!


I crept out of bed, leaving my sleeping husband.  I HAD to write!


I wrote all through that night and most of the next day; most of the next several days and nights, actually.  Three days later, after only about seven hours of sleep, I was swimming in the euphoria of putting words to paper.  I had never felt so ALIVE!  I had never really taken drugs, but couldn’t imagine any kind of high more intense than this one!  Several times I literally found myself dancing along corridors and sidewalks!  I rushed through everything else–cooking, schoolwork, caring for my family’s and my own needs–so I could get back to my notebook or computer, so I could live in THAT world.


The rest of my life seemed like a movie I was watching, while the story revealing itself to me word by word was my reality.  I could hear the water rippling in the fountain and see how it caught the sunlight.  I could feel the sunshine on my shoulders and the touch of his hand on my arm.  I could look into his brown eyes and hear his voice.  This was a path my life had not taken.  Although I knew that road had disappeared forever, I hoped I could recapture some of the girl I had once been, the woman I might have become, if I had followed him into the story we never had.


I followed where he led this time, and it took me to places beyond my wildest expectations.  It also took me to a whole new life.  I look back on that time, over seven years ago now, and think of how I have changed since then.  I’ve changed as a woman and as a writer.  I am closer to being my whole, true, authentic self than I have ever been.


But, as with everything we do, there have been costs…


Get Yourself Out There!: The Revival of My Blog

Posted October 2nd, 2011 by Julie Carriker

I seem to have a big problem with procrastination.


And success.


Actually, perhaps I ONLY have a problem with success, which manifests itself in the form of procrastination… or maybe I’m just lazy…?  And wishy-washy.


Case in point–THIS BLOG!  I started it about a year or so ago, and have done virtually nothing with it.  True, I wasn’t quite ready to do a blog, but seeing Deneen and Mike launch their blogs spurred me into action.  I have this problem with competition/proving myself, etc.


My list of “problems” keeps growing; procrastination, success, wishy-washiness, competition/proving myself, (is that one or two problems? yeah probably two).  Oh, and I tend to get off-track writing parenthetically.


So, where was I?  Oh yes, this blog.  I started it, then didn’t know what I wanted to do with it.  I came up with what I thought was a clever title, wrote my bio, etc., spiffed the whole thing up a bit, then abandoned it after only a couple postings.  I even wrote a few other entries, but didn’t ever post them!  What’s up with that?  Did NaNoWriMo last year derail me?  Honestly, I don’t even know all the reasons I let this blog fall by the wayside, I just know that I did.


I need to “build my platform,” as the writing books say, and do other SERIOUS things to get myself established as a “real writer,” so I can get an AGENT and a PUBLISHER!  I’m ready to FINALLY move myself forward in this process… whatever that may entail.  This revived blog is one of my first steps into that great beyond.


Wish me luck!

May I Have This Dance?

Posted April 1st, 2010 by Julie Carriker

Sometimes I dance with my given/chosen Muse. We are in each other’s arms as we glide across the shiny floor, phrases and paragraphs fluttering around us as the music rises and falls.

And other times that Muse won’t even let me turn the music on. I sit alone in the silence, remembering what the dance felt like the last time, yearning to feel that communion once again.

This seems to have been my problem the past week and a half or so, pretty much since I began this blog. Before launching it, I’d felt the Muse’s kiss on my cheek and was FULL of ideas. I’m still full of ideas, actually, as the sensation of that gentle kiss lingers, yet there appears to be some sort of disconnect between my thoughts and the process of getting them down on paper. I wonder if the music is actually playing, but I simply cannot hear it.

Some might think this is nothing more than a bad case of ‘Spring Fever,’ but this is often a very creative time of year for me. The reawakening of the Earth usually gets my own creative juices flowing so freely that my fingers have trouble keeping up with the images exploding from my mind.

Not so this year.

I’m not certain I can blame this on a reluctant Muse though, since I too am playing a part in the obstruction. Perhaps, it is only I who hesitates. I’ve noticed that in recent days I have immersed myself in many unnecessary housekeeping tasks, such as organizing the photo and music files on my computer, and even my CD collection. At least I haven’t started on my books or rearranging my office! I’d KNOW I was in trouble in either of those cases.

Is it something deeper, my timidity in blog writing, or am I simply not in my writing mind just now? I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from writing recently, and know that when I do get back into it I will admonish myself for neglecting such an essential part of who I am.

I WANT to write. I FEEL better, more alive, more ME when I’m actively writing, when my Muse and I are moving together in a whirl or words.

So, let’s crank up the tunes and get on with it, eh?

May I have this dance?

I Am A Writer

Posted March 19th, 2010 by Julie Carriker

When people ask me, ‘What do you do?’ I always tell them ‘I’m a writer.’ I’ve never been paid for it, but I’ve written millions and millions, (maybe billions and billions?), of words over the years. Those words have appeared in school papers and personal correspondence, newsletters and academic journals, poems presented as gifts and various other venues, but until almost six years ago, I didn’t consider myself a ‘real writer.’

That all changed in late March of 2004, when the images just beneath my consciousness demanded to be given voice, and I began to ‘seriously’ write–although I’ve certainly had a lot of FUN doing it. Those first few days I got hardly any sleep, I was so excited to meet the characters forming beneath my fingertips. It was a high like none I’d ever felt, before or since.

I’ve learned in these six years that the actual work of writing isn’t a constant high–sometimes it is agony–but I cannot imagine a life without it now. Writing, even when I am chipping away at some difficult buried emotion, or embedded in research about and obscure event that happened before I was even born, has become as essential to me as breathing. And although I have had to make sacrifices, sometimes causing suffering and disappointment to others, as well as myself, these are offerings I’ve felt I HAD to make. For my art, or for my sanity, I’m not sure which.

It is what I do. It is who I am.

I am a writer.