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Friday, August 24, 2012

"I've waited 20 years....."

About a month ago, I started reading again. It has been quite a long time since I picked up a book. In fact, the last book I read was written by my friend Jeffrey Ricker, and I'd finished that one more than a good while ago. After that, all hell broke loose in my life and the truth is, I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. I didn't have enough energy to breathe properly, let alone read. I was just trying to survive. Not a great way to live.

Slowly, when our emotion-wracked household began to find some small favor of peace, I started to breathe again. Tentatively. It has been such a horrific year that I felt like I was constantly waiting for the next swing of the hammer to come down. Scared to inhale, scared to exhale, scared to leave the house some days. Unless someone needed me, I was having a difficult time pulling myself together. Then, a friend called and asked if I would come and stay with her while she sorted through some of her own issues. I had many hours of time to just sit and "be", and so, instead of carrying the massive autobiography of Michael Palin that I started two years ago but never finished, I dusted off my Kindle and packed my bag.

I read SO many books while I was at my friend's home, that Charlie called me to make sure I was the one making all the Amazon purchases.

Pua: Yes Honey, those Amazon purchases are definitely mine.

Charlie: Okay. So, are you enjoying reading?

Pua: I AM enjoying it, however, I'm thinking I can do a better job than some of these authors.

Charlie: Um, I think I've been saying that to you for many, MANY years. Not just me, but quite a few people have been saying that to you. You don't seem to get the message.

Pua: Well, you know what Buddha says; "When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive." I guess maybe I'm ready now.

Charlie: Better late than never.

When I returned home, I sat at my computer, looking at the blank page on the screen, and suddenly, my fingers started flying across the keyboard. A vision that had been in my brain for decades was now coming to life in words.

Charlie, ever the encourager told me that he thought that now was an excellent time to write. I was discouraged with not having found a job, I had been depressed for so many reasons for so long, and this, he thought, would be an outlet that I'd overlooked for a long time. "Write", he said. "Let that talent that I have always known is in you come out. Now's the time."

With the weight of worry and guilt off my shoulders, and let me preface that by saying that I put that weight there, not Charlie. He has never made me feel bad for my recent inability to help us financially. That's ALL me. So, with worry and guilt a non-issue, I started to write. And write. And write.

Each day, Charlie would come home and ask how it went, and I'd proudly give him a wordcount for the day. I began by setting a goal of 1500 words a day. Some days I hit goal, some days I don't. Some days are spent more on research, but I'm still sitting at the computer everyday and plugging away at it. One day this week, I was so engrossed that I forgot to get up for breaks, and I never ate. When I pushed away from the desk, I had 5,000 words on paper and a horrific ass and backache. It felt great.

Charlie and I walk together every morning before he goes to work. On our walks, he asks me about my characters, how they're coming along, and if I've made any changes. In the evening, when he comes home, he asks if I'm ready to share any new passages. Yesterday, I was ready to share something and so he sat behind me and listened while I read. I could hear him laughing at all the right parts, and making exclamations of encouragement, saying "Yes! I totally see that!" and other uplifting remarks. When I was finished, I turned around to talk to him and noticed, first thing, that my darling man's eyes were spilling over with tears. He was bawling.

"THAT is my Pua. THAT is the writer that I know has been in there, dying to get this story out. I can hardly wait to hear more, to find out where your characters are going. I am SO excited. And so very proud. Keep going. Keep going."

Today, I will be going back to my friend's for a few days. I had mentioned to Charlie that I needed him to disassemble my computer so that I could take it with me and write while I was away. I didn't want to stop momentum. I sighed and lamented how I wish I had an old laptop. My birthday is just a couple of weeks away and a friend of ours had mentioned that he could get us a refurbished laptop for less than $300. But, I knew it wasn't really something we could do right now.

I went to our room and started to pack my suitcase. A few hours later, as I was lying in bed reading, Charlie came into the room. I didn't look up from my reading until he was standing right next to me, on my side of the bed. When I looked up, there he stood, grinning like a madman while holding a brand new laptop. With a glint in his eyes, he said:

"I've waited for 20 years to give this to you. I wanted to see you write in earnest. I knew you could do it, you just needed to believe like I do. After what you read to me tonight, there is no doubt in my mind that you are a writer. Take this everywhere you go, write whenever you can."

His eyes were tearful as he put it in my lap.

Stunned and overjoyed, I hugged him and told him that I must be the luckiest "writer" in the world with the best fan club. "But, what if this doesn't go anywhere? What if no one really thinks it's good?"

With confident resolve, Charlie said to me; "I don't think that will be the case, but that never really mattered to me. I just wanted you to start writing. And you did. You just keep doing it. We'll take the rest as it comes. There are stipulations and conditions, however. If you stop writing, I take back the laptop. It becomes mine. Understood?"

I smiled. "Whoa, that was kinda dominating. Very sexy. Yes sir, understood."

He laughed. "Just some extra incentive. It's my job to help you do your job."

Later, as he nodded off to sleep, Charlie squeezed my hand and said; "My wife, the writer."

So today, me and my little laptop, now equipped with the chapters I have so far written, will be traveling together for the first time. My husband says I'm a writer. I'm tending to believe him.