Cynthia Hamilton


Follow me on FacebookFollow me on TwitterGood Reads - Follow Me
Cynthia Hamilton

Writing, Interrupted

2015… Where to begin? I could say the year just flew by, but unlike productive years in the past, this year—when considered from head to tail—seems entirely too long for the twelve months it encompassed. It will stick out in my mind for many reasons, but most significantly as the year writing was very nearly snuffed out of my life.

This post today is another defiant attempt to reclaim the one activity that truly defines who I am. If I can get this written, and if I can post it without my computer crashing, and assuming Goodreads doesn’t inexplicably go off the air, then, perhaps, this will herald the end of a particularly vexing year and the reentry into my life as a writer. I’ve got everything crossed.

There have been times since my last blogpost in October 2014 that I’ve wondered if I were being sent some kind of signal, like “Hey, lady—enough writing, already! Time to move on, deal with other stuff, don’t be so obsessed, be more flexible with your time, get out there and enjoy life more,” etc. I will say that after the various upheavals this year has served up, I’ve wondered as I staggered from one grand hiccup to the next if I would ever find my way back to the habit that has sustained me through so much.

My hiatus from writing and publishing was not due to lack of desire; I’ve got two manuscripts—one three-quarters finished and the other in its promising infancy—that clamored and pulled at my heartstrings until I couldn’t take the sense of failure and longing anymore and forced them out of my mind—temporarily. In the fifteen years I’ve been plugging away in this fashion, I’ve never had two books in process at the same time. I told myself when I began the second I would jump back into the first when things settled down, but that was a very transparent lie. With every day that passes I get pangs of regret for having tossed the third Madeline book aside mid-stride.

The truth is, when I thought it was safe to venture across the keyboard again and reconnect with the very involved plot with the accidental sleuth, I got boxed in the ears by fate again. After that I couldn’t face the possibility it would happen again. The only thing that made sense at the time was to go with the new idea that had been hounding me since I had to go through my mother’s belongings to prepare for her move into a skilled nursing facility. It hit me then that though I’ve known my mother all my life, I don’t really know who she is, or more importantly, who she was prior to four failed marriages and countless other disappointments.

This avenue of pondering led me to the realization that I know even less about my father, who has been out of my life since I was twelve. Encountering old photographs of times long past sparked the same kind of curiosity writing about fictional characters has always done. Before I knew it, I had a full-blown obsession on my hands. For the first time in my life, I wanted to know who my parents were outside of their roles as mother and father. At this point, the only way for me to do that is to put together collective memories with whatever other clues I can find and spin a fine web of imagination to bridge the gaps. It’s a different kind of a mystery, one that gives me the added satisfaction of learning about the people who made my life possible. Underneath it all, it will be a love story, or at least a story about a love that once was, how it came to be and the many things that ultimately broke it apart.

It will be interesting to see what enthusiasm tempered by adversity will yield. I don’t know if I’m gun-shy or if I’ve just been able to put writing in its proper perspective. At the same time, I wonder if it’s possible to write well without being consumed by the desire and the process. As I look toward the coming year, I imagine that if all goes well and life decides to indulge me, I will settle back into the comfortable old mode of living for the precious time spent pounding away at the computer, head fastened to imaginary—or at least speculative—people, places and events. I must admit, I do like the sound of that…

Until next time, if there’s a next time…

Yours very truly,