This past Wednesday, things between my fiance and me ended. Part of me had expected it, and to be brutally honest, it wasn’t the first time this year when I had thought our relationship would end, but it still pierced my heart when it finally did.
I moved quickly from injury to recovery, having already prepared a path in my mind for where I would go next, what I would begin to do as a truly single man. One friend called me to ask how I was doing, and he told me I had already grieved the loss of our engagement, that the end of our relationship was not the start of my grief, but its conclusion. And in many, many ways, he was right.
A little more than two years ago I wrote The Plight of Paper People, reflecting on the coming close of one chapter of life as the new pages unfolded before me. I described people as paper, able to be torn and taped back together, able to be colored upon or crumpled up and tossed aside.
The changes I spoke of looming on the horizon are all the changes that have now happened, and like those paper people, I feel torn up and taped together, stained and set aside.
November is a time of great feats, and great drawbacks. There’s a few little monsters, however, that are especially pertinent this time of year.
The first is the will to write. It’s a monster worth riding, a monster we want to tame and take under our wings, squeeze the ink from his fountain-pen claws and write masterpieces while he suffers (which in turn is our bliss, but the imagery isn’t as sound as when I started, or at least not as sound as when it started in my head). Other times, the will to write is our master. These times may feel like he completely leaves us, but in truth he’s still there, waiting to strike, waiting to let us capture him again.
It’s all about taming this monster. It’s easy to let him go, to let him wander away, but it’s much harder to get him back. A steady mind and a steady hand and a determined spirit are best when taming this one. Sometimes we may feel it’s best to leave him be, and it’s probably those time when we need steel ourselves the most and reel him back in. The will to write is ours, but only if we catch him.