Behold, a collection of sundry writings from the scriptorium...
I don't usually write fan fiction, but after Once Upon a Time's Episode "The Outsider" in the middle of Season 2, poor hospitalized Belle was whispering to me all through the night, and she wouldn't stop until I put this one-shot down on paper. I hope you enjoy my one (and only, maybe?) fan fiction.
THE STONE QUEEN
Grasping fingers of icy sea wind
in the solace of my mind.
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."
T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"
"Why don't you write anymore?" asked Denise.
"I don't have the time," answered Lori.
Countless post-college conversations
My dearest friend Denise,
Yes, this is my blog. I will grant you a moment to collect yourself and mop up that spilled coffee.
My first entry is a long-overdue letter to you, my oldest and closest friend. I watch my handwriting form my thoughts and flow over lines again for the first time in 15 years and my mind rewinds to our college days, when the patterns of our lives were shaped by words.
**Cloistered in the third floor of the library with smuggled cups of tea, pulling words out of stacks of research books and reforming them in notebook pages to create reams of English, History, and education reports, academia laced with laughter and the neverending drama of young adults.
**Sprawled in your basement apartment, a writer's collective (Temi, you, me, your future husband, your brother the Bard), creating stories together on paper but living stories as well. We had a novel friendship as bound together as the books we discussed. And, oh, the colorful language we hurled at each other during those ruthless card games! Drinking coffee (sometimes more potent concoctions), and singing along to Fleetwood Mac's The Dance, always. I will never forgot those times with kindred spirits.
I'm drafting this letter in the old journal I used to carry to your home; my part of the story we were writing together is still in the front. There is no difference between my handwriting then and now, except for time.
Time. I have decided to write again. A simple yet profound statement (with my ever-present leaning toward the dramatic), as you who understand me all too well know. I don't remember ever deciding to stop, just as I don't remember deciding to begin when I was a child and I wrote my first unicorn poem, as little girls are wont to do. I just was a writer. And I carried that being in me through the ensuing years, filling binders with poems and stories, ideas and dreams, even sketches and maps of the lands of my mind. I can only suppose that once we emerged from that college cocoon I focused more on the landscape of outside life rather than inward. I started teaching, focusing on perhaps the more practical career of a steady income, but also getting fulfillment from the service to young people, the enrichment of their minds and selves and inspiring them to love and understand literature as I did. And the more I focused on bettering the world through my students, the more I left the worlds that existed in my imagination. And that seemed okay at that time. I was happy, and even happier to become a wife and then a stay-at-home mom involved in my children's school. But over the course of these years an ink blot has seeped into my being, spreading until I have finally taken note of it, finally realized there is an emptiness that is staining my reactions. And it's really just because I stopped writing; I stopped being fully me.
Now you want to say to me, my sarcastically astute friend, "You are going through one hell of a mid-life crisis, aren't you, Lor?" Yes, yes I am. After all, I am turning 40 this year (as are you, dearie). Perhaps it's simply the shock of reaching this magic number, but I have finally accepted a certain truth that you have been gently trying to impart to me for a long time: one must be selfish in the nourishment of one's soul every now and again, in order to be selfless to others with fullness and grace. I have been teacher, wife, and mother all encompassing and with much love, but I have neglected the writer who was at the core of my being. I have been false to the medieval concept of "trouthe" (integrity, being true to one's self) that spoke so strongly to me long ago that I devoted a section of my thesis to it. Dee, I'm so tired of feeling like the impotent Fisher King. I can't go on like this, with this nothingness that bleeds into everything, draining my energy and joy. "I sat upon the shore/ Fishing, with the arid plain behind me/ Shall I at least set my lands in order?" (T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land)
Synchronicity prompted this. I know it seems silly, but the catalyst really was that show. Once Upon a Time is the only TV show to enthrall me like my favorite books have and inspire me to analysis and discussion. In my quest to connect with people who shared my obsession (haha), I joined Twitter and the Once Upon a Fan website (www.onceuponatimefans.co.uk). Upon reading a fabulous cast member interview by one of the website's team, I tweeted the interviewer, Diane J. Reed, who is a published "indie" author of the novel Twixt. As I read interviews in which she described her writing process and then I tore through the fan fiction on the website, I begin to feel a glimmer of possibility that I could, at this stage in my life, revisit the lands of my mind and bring them out on paper again. But the turning point was when Diane encouraged me directly, replying to a comment I made about her interview on Rachel Kall's Blog: "I truly believe that if such a yearning is within you, then that's your soul's way of telling you the dream is within reach. Artistic hunger is a sacred fire. And if you honor it, then the universe will open up a way for you." I read this and sobbed. I realized that this chain of events was caused by an otherworldly presence trying to get back in touch with me, so I could get back in touch with myself: the muses granted me an epiphany. I sobbed, and I felt that creative fire rise up in me again. I was distracted by the longing to write. Then I heard your voice, Dee, and your question. I'm finally ready to give the right answer: this blog.
So, here it is Dee. I'm going to make the time again, for me, for the words, for the imaginary lands that I left for too long and the characters that are huffing in exasperation at me. When I'm done with this epistle I'm pulling out the dusty plastic box wherein lies all my old writing: here be dragons. Most likely I'll first write a review of Twixt, which was a blessing to me in a myriad of ways. Maybe I'll eventually write a story for my bookworm daughter, who carries stacks of paperbacks from her bedroom to the basement playroom, a gift of my being to her so that she can know who her mother truly is. I don't know how this is going to turn out, or where exactly I'm going with this blog. But it exists now. Time to arrive where I started and start writing again.
there and back again,