Humans crave connection. One article suggests our brains are hard-wired to connect with those who are similar to us. I like to spend time with the fictional characters in my stories. It’s often like a relationship to me. Where I do most of the work <grins>.
As much as I love to read and write fiction, I read a variety of non-Fiction as well. Namely articles, because they seem to take less time to read between writing, studying, and family time. A couple I found recently commented on how Facebook is replacing face time and how Fathers are often too busy for their children.
It got me thinking about my own real-life relationships. I often spend time spinning fictional scenarios in my head as a way to escape reality and cope with stress. Initially I thought it was an effective way to fuel creativity and press forward in life, an outlet. I ran into a problem with this reasoning, though. Being a full time student, wife, and mom on top of writing sent my brain and body in a tailspin of confusion, frustration, and exasperation.
Not too long ago I posted about how stress was beginning to take its toll and how my balancing act seemed a little off kilter. Well, it happened. I had an anxiety attack a couple of weeks ago and have been in limbo on what to shove off my plate ever since. My quality of life was suffering because I had neglected taking care of myself with food and exercise. I crashed, often after pushing for 12-16 hours straight trying to keep up. I got an occasional day off, and it helped short term, then the cycle started again. Something had to go.
Most anyone from the South will tell you Southern women are proud of their inner strength. I’m no exception. Frankly, just recently, my life situation gave me a swift kick in the ass a few times until I finally succumbed to defeat. I had to push something off my plate because it was costing time I should be and wanted to be spending with family.
It wasn’t only affecting me, but my marriage, my relationship with my Daughter, and friends who were sure I had either gone MIA or completely loco.
One day a sad reality hit me. I saw my Husband (who understood my need for privacy to take an exam) take my Daughter on an outing without me one day. I was happy they were spending time together, but miserable that it had been several weeks since I had been able to spend some real quality time with either of them. Since the exact same week classes had started in late May.
I’ve prided myself on being practical most of my life. Naturally feeling obligated to pull my weight as a spouse, I’ve been in the process of continuing my education in a field that would offer a practical career to bring in income. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But then there were times I felt guilty for working in my much needed writing time to have an outlet between coursework assignments. With all this work and juggling family and home, who has time for nurturing real-life relationships?
So, to the discontent to my Mother (who is adamantly supportive, but only if I’m working toward a practical, income-driven job) and a Husband who understands my need to work toward my dream of becoming an Author………..
I Choose Writing
Truly, it chose me. Yes, this means I’m a beauty school drop-out. I do feel a twinge of guilt for not completing what I started. I know there are a few superhero people out there who are able to manage it all. Good for them. But, that’s not working for me.
Right now writing is my refuge. It is also a full time job. I miss my family and friends. I miss living. I’m going back to what matters. Nurturing those real relationships and following my dreams full time.
Maybe there is a certain inner strength to admitting defeat. It doesn’t make someone a failure, but shows they are brave for trying. You never know until you try, right?
Time to jump in with both feet on the writing thing and boldly go into this story where I’ve never gone before…….
Robin:Holy hotness, Batman! Is that a steamy Contemporary Romance manuscript symbol I see in the sky?
Batman: *Scowls* That’s just Zane, the ex-pro Football hopeful and Hero in Laurie’s story. *Menacing glare* He’s not getting my cape! *Whoosh*
Me: To the Writing cave!
Zane: Yes, Ma’am *Winks and walks with Laurie*
Robin: I’m not sure what happened here, but I think I may need to read this book! *Runs to the Batmobile*
Lonely Hearts In Texas Series
“Untitled” – Book 1
By Laurie Kozlowski
Los Angeles Stadium – Home of the Sunrays, 4 years later
Zane took the stage with prestigious likes of LA’s football business elites in preparation to give what was to be one of the most full of shit and politically correct speeches to be announced as the new quarterback for the Los Angeles Sunrays. His PR advisor pulled him to the side, so they wouldn’t be heard over the mic.
“Remember, this may be a professional move, but it is also a celebration. You need to smile and engage the press. Answer their questions, but keep it short and sweet. Don’t try to be overly humorous or it’ll be a disaster. And lastly, if any questions come up about your supposed injury and mishap from the National Championship game make sure you direct the question to Coach Graham. Don’t answer it and don’t discuss any details of that game no matter how good-natured the question may seem. Don’t do it. Got it?” The lanky and sharp dressed PR rep asked.
Zane laughed, but it came out sounding of empty sarcasm. “Anything I can do?”
The PR rep slapped him on the shoulder and cracked a wry smile. “Yeah. Play football and win so I can get a raise for having to deal with smart ass rookies like you on a regular basis.”
If he were smart, he wouldn’t be trying to ward off guilt from the past and think about his future instead. It seemed everyone around him thought of this day as one of the brightest points in his future. They had plans for him, all he had to do was go out there and win games. The springboard for his career was the moment an agent contacted him with the news that The Sunrays were willing to pay him an obscene amount of money with extreme perks to do what he loved to do. All he had to do was sign on the dotted line.
Except, what everyone had planned for him paled in comparison to his true motivation behind pushing himself to win every single game. It was never enough. He was never enough. What had kept him going were the words of a certain sweet blonde willing to stay by his side no matter how much money he made or successful he was. She was willing to take a risk on him, and he had been taking risks to drown out her memory ever since. It wasn’t working. Her parents still sent cards every holiday reminding him of each time he could’ve been spent with her. The press had long memories, continually falling back on Emily’s death. Every mention of that tragic night was like a guilt ridden interrogation. The suspicion and speculation never seemed to end.
Once upon a time he wanted it all. To make his favorite game a career, the love of a good woman, and to live in luxury. He took a seat beside Coach Graham in front of the mic. The owner of the Sunrays shook his hand and handed him a gold pen. Everyone took their position surrounding the table, preparing for the official press photo.
Zane looked down at the contract of a lifetime and gripped the pen trying to maintain control and to block out the fact that one more concussion could end his career or take his life. The tip of the pen touched the paper and all was quiet except for the clicking of cameras and positioning of overhead mics and lights. His PR rep nudged him and exaggerated a smile as a reminder of their previous conversation. Zane looked up at the crowd and immediately spotted Emily’s Dad in the front giving him the thumbs up.
The encouragement did nothing but remind him of how he didn’t look for Emily in the stands the night she went missing. He was too busy winning the game. Football had lost its appeal after her death. His only motivation was keeping her memory alive by winning the Heisman in her honor. It wasn’t for the love of the game. It was a way to release the frustration of something out of his control, losing someone he loved.
© Laurie Kozlowski 2013