Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Boring Guy With the Watermelon Head

by Sariah S. Wilson

So, as far as excuses go for last week, my oldest son was in an accident - he and my brother were rear-ended and got their heads smacked around in the car. My son was dressed for football practice, and I do think that padding helped him from getting bruises and such, but it was a pretty scary few days as we tried to make certain that he didn't have any worse/internal injuries. It wasn't my brother's fault - the other driver was the only one cited, and her injuries actually seemed to be worse - several windows and the windshield shattered, leaving her with lacerations and bleeding. Help arrived right away, and everyone is fine now, but it shook all of us up (particularly my little guy). (We can add this to one more bad thing that happened to Sariah, right?)

Not that my stress levels aren't already extremely high. I've been running on empty for a while now - probably close to three years. I remember my mom talking about how when she was a young mother, people were always telling her to smile. People who didn't know that she had a severely handicapped child at home, five other kids, and that she had to run a daycare with seven to eight additional children out of our home. Her life was constant stress and it was all she could do to make it one day to the next. When people told her to smile and be grateful, all she wanted to do was scream at them.

I'm starting to get that. I don't have the trials she did, but my trials are overwhelming for me. I try not to be down or depressing, but I'm starting to suspect that I may be dealing with some form of depression (thank you, DNA).

Has my writing suffered? Definitely. I haven't written since my daughter's birth three years ago. At first it was because I was just so worn out - this was a child that would not sleep in a crib. I literally had to hold her all the time or else she wouldn't sleep. And it was worth it to hold her or else I couldn't sleep, and I desperately needed to sleep. But she is definitely a mommy's girl, and wanted everything from me. I gave her, my sons, my husband, everything that I had. And then along came another miracle baby, and as much as I love and adore all of these people, it's hard.

By the end of my day, I'm done. I should be writing. I have time. But there is nothing left inside of me. The well feels dry. With my two youngest I'm realizing why it is that a lot of people don't start a writing career until their children are older. Even writing these weekly blogs - I sit in front of my computer and think, "What should I write about?" And there have been weeks where there's been literally nothing (or next to nothing).

I decided that I don't want to look back on this time and regret not being with my babies. I want to be with them, I want to raise them and watch them laugh and learn to talk and throw a ball and lay on the cat - I want to be there for all of it. This comes at a sacrifice, but it is one I'm willing to make.

I wish I were a different kind of writer. I wish I were the sort of writer that this was a release and a necessity, that I needed to write. But I'm not. I write because I want to put something inside of me on paper. It's hard when there's nothing inside of you to give.

I know it won't always be this way. I know that things will get better, children will get older. I will always have my own trials that come in my home life, but as far as writing is concerned, it will change. I'm even thinking that it might be this fall, as my daughter goes off to preschool and I don't have to spend 12 hours a day preventing her from trying to off our youngest, that there might be time. I might start filling up my well again.

I also worry that as long as it's been, that my writing won't be the same. Maybe it'll get worse.

We've talked a lot on this blog how much criticism stings, even when it's warranted, even when we secretly agree with what's being said - when you put a piece of yourself out there, it's painful to hear that somebody didn't like it. When I think about sitting down to write, that invisible audience gets to me. There's few things I hate more than a negative review.

This isn't logical. I get it. I know I can't please all of the people all of the time. And while I've been mulling that over, I recently read an article in "Entertainment Weekly" regarding the actor Liev Schreiber (image Google him - you may not recognize his name but I'd be willing to bet you recognize his face). The article spoke about how despite being an incredibly talented actor, Shakespearean trained and all that, despite accolades for his stage work, movie stardom eludes him. He's a solid second banana (i.e., recently playing Sabertooth to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine), but Hollywood doesn't seem to acknowledge his talent.

EW went on to name Liev Schreiber as "The Best Actor Of His Generation (Or At Least Pretty [Darn] Close)." While Schreiber thanked them for this title, he recalled a critic's review of some of his stage work and said this about it:

"...the somnambulistic Mr. Schrieber with a head the size of a watermelon." "I had to look up somnambulistic,” Schreiber says. "It means someone who puts you to sleep. So if you’re going to be okay with being the best stage actor of your generation, you also have to be okay with being the boring guy with the watermelon head."

That has to be my new battle cry. For someone I might be the best writer of my generation, and for another, the boring chick who couldn't write her way out of a paper bag.

And that will be okay. I will take them both. The time is soon coming when the invisible audience won't get a say anymore, when I'll put pen to paper (or keystrokes to computer) and get lost in a story I want to tell. I'm looking forward to it.


At 8/08/2010 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somnambulistic actually means "sleep-walking." Both that and the comment about his head are kind of apropos, actually. Did you seem him in "Omen" or "Manchurian Candidate"?

He's a good model for humility and persistence.

At 8/08/2010 9:38 PM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

Mr. Schrieber is a very good actor. I did recognize his face when I Googled him, but the only thing I remember him playing in is the original CSI. He guest starred for several episodes. And, yeah, he does kind of have a watermelon shaped head.

I love chocolate! I think it’s the best tasting food group in the entire universe, yet my best friend won't eat it. She'd rather have plain vanilla. It's not that she's allergic to the flavor, but she just flat doesn't like it. It goes to show that there isn't any logical reason why one person can prefer something and the next person can't stand that same something, whether it is a taste for a certain food, or for a book, no matter how well written.

You’re published, Sariah. Nobody can take that achievement away from you, no matter how long between books. Let your children grow some. Enjoy them! They won't be this age again. And don’t stress that you’re not keeping up with the next author. You’ll know when the time is right--to write.

I always look forward to your posts.

At 8/09/2010 11:28 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Sariah, I'm so glad your son and brother are okay!

Negative reviews are one of the hardest parts of being a writer. I've learned that no matter how many good reviews I get, SOMEONE isn't going to like the book and is going to say so publicly. It hurts, but I guess it's part of the deal.


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