I haven’t written in this space for a long while. To be back feels strange, and good. If you’re reading this, it means you haven’t given up on me, just yet. Thank you.
The truth is that I’ve been in a new relationship which has consumed all of me. That’s a lame excuse, I know, and I’m ashamed that I’ve neglected you and this blog. I apologise that I haven’t made time to respond to some of your comments. I hope that you’ll forgive me.
I have fallen in love though.
Not with someone new. Sexy Legs is still very much part of my life.
But rather I’ve grown to love WRITING.
I’ve never considered myself to be creative in anything specific, but the desire to express myself in a creative way, never disappeared. If anything, that need became even stronger after my paralysis. I craved a means of relaxing and an outlet for personal frustrations, joys and sorrows. Well-meaning people suggested that I learn to paint with my mouth. I have the utmost respect for those artists, but it wasn’t for me. Disability shows up your strengths and weaknesses in a quick and profound manner. I’m not artistic, but I have an innate need to be creative. I discovered that I enjoyed writing after I started this blog. Your support and encouragement kept me going, and this engaging community grew my confidence.
During a creative slump last year, I signed up to do an online writing course run by renowned author, Charlene Smith. It was one of those impulsive decisions that you question, yet in the end, do not regret.
At first, it felt more like an affair that I needed to keep secret. I was afraid of failing and having unrealistic expectations. But the butterflies and the tingles persisted. Writing was on my mind day and night. I spent more time in front of my computer than ever before, but now, I wasn’t only filling a void through social media, I was learning and being constructive and creative. I met wonderful people from all over the world who shared the dream of writing a book. I’d never felt so stimulated. It was like I’d found a little piece of me that I never knew was missing.
That’s when I realised that I’d, unexpectedly, fallen deeply in love with writing.
Charlene helped me choose a working title: Brave Lotus Flower Rides the Dragon.
- Tracy means brave.
- My second name, Lian is of Chinese origin, and it means Lotus flower.
- I ‘ride’ through life in a wheelchair.
- Becoming paralysed has to be scariest dragon I’ve ever faced, and my memoir aims to show how I tamed it enough to live with. I wish I could say that I’d slayed it, but taming it comes close. Also, Dragon NaturallySpeaking software enables me to write without hands.
Although I’d been told that publishers get to make the decision on what to call your book, the title we’d chosen inspired me. Once I had completed the course, I dumped my life story onto my computer, working late into the night most days. Then Charlene gave me great advice on how to proceed.
But, still, I felt overwhelmed. I wanted somebody to hold my hand. So I joined All About Writing’s mentoring programme where Trish Urquhart, Richard Beynon and Jo-Anne Richards guided me through the process with patience, encouragement and practical advice. The interaction with my fellow wannabe writers was invaluable.
The journey has been challenging, and agonising at times. I completely underestimated the roller coaster emotions, and they were worse during the rewrite. It’s not easy to put yourself out there and lay your own character flaws bare. It’s a lot harder to write a book than I ever imagined. I have a whole new respect for published authors. But my mentors taught me that everybody can learn to write, and like an art, it can improve with practice, especially if you want to do it badly enough.
So after a decade of false starts and procrastinating on writing my memoir, I finally did it.
I’ve handed in my completed manuscript and I’m waiting for feedback from Richard and Jo-Anne. Even though there is a huge possibility that I’ll need to rewrite it again, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Finally, I feel like I have the ability to produce a story that I can be proud of. And if the universe allows, I may even be lucky enough to have it published some day.
Please hold thumbs, and toes, that I can pull this off.