Friday, March 9, 2012
Posted by Liane Gentry Skye
I retired from my barely off the ground writing career last month.
No, really, I did.
I didn’t choose to call it quits because I didn’t want to write anymore, but rather because I mourned the joy the pursuit of craft once brought me. It was passion for the craft that pushed me to the brink of seeing all my literary dreams become a reality. And then, as lives sometimes do, mine imploded. And imploded. And imploded again.
Yeah, it sucked to be me for a while.
For two years, I have floundered to recapture the author I had once been. Instead of building on my prior successes, project by project fell to the wayside. I stopped trusting my voice, my very ability to carry a story through to the end. Sometimes my failures were due to my personal difficulties. Others could be blamed on the extreme flux the publishing industry has experienced over the last two years. None of it was good for the ego, especially one boasting a generous helping of diva.
One day about a month ago, after yet another horrific family crisis, I sat down at my keyboard to write. Instead of the familiar fluttering of joy I longed for, I found only tears. Writing was the last thing I wanted to do. After a good cry, I admitted to myself that the creativity that once infused my life with joy had morphed into drudgery—not a good place to tell a story from. At least not one I’d ever ask a reader to invest their precious time and money in.
It was time, if not to quit, then at least retire.
The only retired people I truly know are my parents. While my mom’s version of retirement involves a recliner and an endless stream of soap operas and talk news shows, my father’s retirement has been all about FUN.
Since quitting the job he devoted forty-odd years of his life to, he has reinvented himself several times over by simply following his passions.
First he retreated to the attic bedroom and reclaimed it for himself. There, he indulged his lifelong love of trains. Over the years, he has replicated, from memory and in miniature, the railroad that ran through his childhood home, right down to a scale reconstruction of the log cabin his grandparents built long before he was born.
At the age of seventy, and concerned with his health, he became an accomplished mountain biker. He spends many a weekend indulging his inner research junkie by biking old railroad routes or searching out the sites of historical events. Dad, he loves him some history. Want to know something about the civil war or various versions of the Arthurian legends? Go ask Dad. Trust me. He’ll tell you. And tell you. And tell you again—assuming you can pedal fast enough to keep up with him.
I want a retirement like that.
After the load of crap that’s befallen my family over the last two years, I think I deserve it. So yes, in my retirement, I will write. Not for money, but rather for fun. Not for editors, because as a retired author, I'm allowed not to give a damn what's hot and whats not.
Should that writing find print, so be it. In the interim, I aim to have fun. Because for me, turning my passion into my work was what sucked the very soul out of it. And that's what I'm retiring from. (Yes, I allowed myself to end a sentence with a preposition! I'm retired, I can do that!)