Hard Single

Some nights you just have to wonder if the last time you had something was as good as it gets. It wasn’t even the best of what you’ve had. That law of diminishing returns that takes you back to your first love all those years ago when you would do silly things like buy matching jean jackets and be the obnoxious couple in love who was never more than a few feet from each other. Then you find yourself wondering why the hell you are still missing the last person, when they showed almost no effort at the end. They blocked you. They probably tell everyone how much they hate you.

I’m at that point of my life that I call Hard Single. I’m in no rush to “get back out there.” I’ve seen how people treat each other and I want no part of it anymore. Nothing is organic. It’s all a game of creating a persona, lying to each other, and then waiting for the whole thing to implode once the darkness starts to seap through the seams and rivets like tar.

It’s a choice I’ve made, because I am remembering my worth again. Sometimes it’s a lonely place to be, especially when your whole life, you have been told the metric of your worth is having a relationship. Any relationship is better than none, they tell us.

My last one was not the best, and though it is over, there are pieces of me that freak out a little because the one before it probably was the best. And it ended too. So it’s only getting worse from here on out. So, my options are to stay hard single, to work on me, and never settle again. Whatever that looks like.

There is peace and quiet, and at the same time solitude and loneliness. It ebbs and flows like the tide. Mostly I miss the high points of the last go-around. I even miss when things started falling apart because there was potential. It was something new too, and it gave me hope…of something.

The time before last…jeez, that was really good. The connection, the communication, spoiling the hell out of each other. Like I said, the best I’ve ever had it. Until I didn’t have it anymore.

Maybe the scariest thing is how it seems to get worse every time now. Even when what I had the last time wasn’t the best, but it still hurt as much as when I had lost the best. I don’t want to feel like that ever again. I don’t want to learn someone’s favorite color, their kids’ middle names, their birthday, any of it anymore.

You can say I’m bitter, but really, I’m just tired of the bullshit. I’m tired of feeling like the bad guy for setting boundaries too. For having standards. And for feeling guilty for not taking shit anymore. The emotional neglect you’ll get for not doing things their way.

What a waste of time that is. Exhausting. Unnecessary.

Today I’ve been editing and I feel pretty damned productive. I can see my books doing good things for people. I understand that right now I’m at a weird place in my life where I’ve needed to let myself be for a very long time, but haven’t let myself yet. There’s a fear of letting go of that old life because it’s what I’ve always known. Damn it, I’m so scared of just surrendering to it sometimes that it puts my teeth on edge.

Like doing a trust fall off a cliff into the sea, with the surf raging underneath you.

I look up and over the precipice of the mountain range before me and I see a vast landscape of possibilities. All I have to do is take a few steps forward and leave all the rest behind. How exciting! But it’s scary as hell. I’m not going to lie. I have no idea what awaits. Right now everything seems so difficult, like a pipe dream that I know won’t ever come true.

Maybe one of the things I can do is continue to carry the good memories of this old life with me, and not be burdened by them. To have little keepsakes but not carry enough around anymore so that they feel like baggage. Little tokens that make me smile instead of bringing me to a screaming halt. Maybe if I keep them in stories, they will be safe.

I can’t change the past. Not even the most recent past. I have to keep moving forward. I have to see what is on that next horizon. Because the past hasn’t been all that great. Certainly not enough to give up my future in the hopes of living again.

It’s time.

Being hard single is something I haven’t had a chance yet to explore. When everyone else is chasing, I’m just…not. I’m already here. I get to decide what happens next.

So, Mr. Harris. What happens next? Where would you like to go?


Into the flood again, same old trip it was back then

It’s a writing post today. For now.

I’ve been editing. I am six chapters deep into the first book with a second draft. Last night I hit a chapter that put tears in my eyes. Jeez, it was beautiful. It really set the bar and because of that sometimes I wonder if I did the other chapters well enough. I guess that is what other drafts are for.

Editing is such a weird critter. I mean even if I just added up the word counts for my blog posts for this year alone, I would be at nearly 40k words. But editing is the other side of your brain. It can also be a little addictive. Addicting? Either way. It’s reading critically, but it is also keeping an eye fixed on the horizon with the narrative. And dealing with little things like efficiency of words, active and passive voice. And in my case, using that machete to clear out a lot of stuff that you like, but doesn’t matter. Sometimes as I edit, I get ideas for new scenes and chapters later on.

I’ve discovered a lot of empty expressions, such as “There was…”

The bummer is that it is a little…boring. So it takes a lot to keep my butt in the chair so I can actually read through something with fresh eyes. Once I’m in the chair though, and I’m reading through, it feels good. I get a flow going. But there is also the matter of knowing that I’m not getting paid to do it. Maybe I never will, if the book doesn’t sell. There are no guarantees with being a writer. You do it because you love it. You hope it will catch on and others will also love it. There is a lot of garbage out there that seems to do well, and there’s also the best book ever written sitting in someone’s files that will never see the light of day. I hope to land someplace in the middle.

Anyway, these posts lately have been just about my only left brain outlet (right brain?–I guess all of that is bullshit anyway), which is why I have been posting so often. It’s the candy my brain gets just before it gets switched over to the other side to deal with things like sentence structure and transitive/intransitive verbs. It would be cool to just have an editor one day, but I doubt that will ever happen. You never know!

Anyway, enough stalling. I’ve got chapters to edit. Which isn’t fun for someone who constantly second-guesses himself all the time.