Tag Archive | transformation

Chrysalis: a preparatory or transitional state

I look into my tea leaves and what I choose to see is the life of a writer. A quiet house by the sea or in the country, a child playing in the living room, a husband editing in the study or rehearsing for an audition, and me in a nook with a computer diving deep into other worlds. In Maui we dove down to 120 feet at Molokini Crater—the deepest we’ve ever gone. I swam at the bottom of the sea with eagle rays and octopus, but writing feels deeper. In a marathon writing session the real world melts away and suddenly I am through the sea, on an adventure with Niguel, Iris, and Gus, trying to escape the vengeful Callum before he gets to Iris’ father, Peter Applegate.

94fac0ae1d47570c0ffb191c99cf4bc8You have no idea what I’m talking about, I know. These are characters in my book. They’ve become close friends of mine, and I know they feel neglected.

Nymphalidae_-_Danaus_plexippus_ChrysalisThe neglect is making my wings hurt. I feel them pushing hard against the chrysalis that has protected them for 32 years, and if they don’t make it out soon the bones will break. I know this to be true, so why am I making it so hard to break free?

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In writing the first draft of my novel, several challenges emerged, one of which was knowing when to finish a chapter. Often, it was clear. The chapter finished itself and I sailed on into the next. Sometimes, though, sometimes, I’d want to stay in a chapter for reasons that were perhaps unclear, but what was clear is that I knew it was going on too long. The third chapter of my novel was such a one. I kept writing and writing, knowing that nothing about the chapter was helping to move the story along. I loved the characters in the chapter. I found the action of the chapter humorous and charming (if I do say so myself), even though I knew it was irrelevant to the ultimate motor of the book. In my heart I knew I should end it, perhaps even cut out the whole thing, but I liked it too much. It was comfortable. It was clever (if I do say so myself) and it had the desired effect of distracting me from making the book truly great.

I wonder if I’m a bit stuck now, in my life, spending precious time in a chapter that is comfortable and full of clever characters. It’s hard to know when to move on.

That’s not true, I suppose. Knowing is the easy part. It’s the moving on that is hard.

1af9d0cd9c6a6ed51e786e33437282b6Growing up makes moving from chapter to chapter effortless in a sense, because the pages were turned for me. I was born. I started school. I twirled baton. I survived middle school. I went to high school. I got into college. I studied in London. I graduated from college. I moved to L.A. The outline was all there, and then—suddenly—the outline stopped. Suddenly it was up to me to structure the chapters. I’ve done pretty well so far. Chapter 10: Rebecca gets a job. Chapter 11: Rebecca joins a theatre company. Chapter 12: Rebecca gets married. Chapter 13: Rebecca works at jobs and produces plays and spends a lot of time on Facebook and watching Netflix.

Chrysalis Emerging 3In revising the third draft of my book, I got wise and removed the chapter that was gumming up the action, but I didn’t delete it. I moved it to my “Some other time” folder. I’ll bet the characters and the very humorous dialogue (if I do say so myself) will appear in a future book, but they will only find their right place and time if I let go of them for now.

My wings hurt. Soon, very soon, I need to decide how important it is for me to fly because wings can break and wilt. Of course I know how I feel. Flying is the only thing I’ve ever truly wanted to do. If there is a heaven, I know it involves flying.

monarch-in-flight-1024x576It’s time to write the next chapter. Like a mystery shape on the horizon, I’m not sure yet if it’s a ship, a whale, a lighthouse, an island? Time to grab Brad’s hand (Brad is in every chapter you see), and swim out there to find out. Time to let go of this chapter that I’m in—turn the page. Come back perhaps “Some other time.”

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Chapter 14: Rebecca, author 

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30 Days of Thanks – Mac & Cheese and Metamorphosis

Days 12 and 13

I may have missed yesterday’s post (bad blogger!) but that doesn’t mean I missed the chance to contemplate on what has made me grateful. So today is a two-fer. I’m grateful for two things, seemingly anachronistic, but actually vital to each other’s worth.

You know what they say about sharks that don’t swim forward. Well, humans too in my opinion. Our “swimming” may look different, but if we don’t change and move forward we’ll die. Either emotionally, psychologically, or literally. Truly literally, not Chris Traeger literally. Many of the cells in our body are constantly regenerating and changing. And while that whole “our body is completely regenerated every 7 years” factoid is partially a myth (which I was disappointed to discover as it would have been a great zing to illustrate my point), it is true that millions of our body’s cells regenerate every day, and all but the cells of the cerebral cortex, the inner lens of the eye, and the muscles of the heart will completely regenerate several times in our lifetime. (Glad the point still pretty much works). To sum up, change is a necessary part of life.

I’ve been thinking back to last year and how much has changed just in the act of getting engaged. I’ve gone from someone’s girlfriend to someone’s fiance. Next year I will become someone’s wife. Not just someone’s. Brad Light’s. My sweet wonderful Brad. I’ve been thinking back to some of the trepidation I had at first of going through this transformation. So many unknowns. Such big steps. I think now about how happy I am. What a wonderful place I’m in; a place of excitement, eagerness, and honor that I will partake in such a sacred rite. So grateful that I didn’t allow fear to stunt this metamorphosis.

A year ago I still wanted to be a professional actor; well, to be more specific (and more honest) a movie stahh! There was a bitterness and toxicity attached to it that I just kept repressing and repressing. Finally in accepting my heart’s truth that I may be changing into something else, I have found peace of mind, I’ve found a renewed and more vibrant love of acting, and most importantly I’ve found goodness in my heart. I’ve let go of the jealousy, the anger, the bitterness, the worry, the judgement. I’ve discovered what it means to truly follow your bliss.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t allowed change to occur, and I would have never survived the change had I not had the next thing I’m grateful for in this two-for-one special:

Routine. If all I do is routine, a serious case of the blues won’t be far behind. If everyday I wake up, drink coffee, go to work, drive home, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed, sleep, wake up, repeat…. you get the picture; I would be a dead shark. And yet creature comforts must not be discounted completely for they are just that, comforts. In times of my life that I’ve suffered from terrible anxiety (usually related to fear of change) it is turning to certain routines that has given me the strength to let change occur. Bubble baths. My favorite foods. Mac & Cheese! A date with Brad. Walking along the beach. Snuggling with my cats. Talking to my Mom. Painting. Writing. Watching my favorite movie. This time of year is such a perfect example of the comfort and strength of routine. You know what makes it palatable to face a new 365 days of unknowns every year? Christmas carols. Eggnog lattes. Holiday cards. Mistletoe. Cinnamon. Apple cider. Baking. Snowmen. Snuggling by a fire. I love Christmas because it’s the epitome of comforting. And it rolls around like clockwork. Like a routine or something.

All of these things are not wildly outside of my comfort zone. They give me peace. They are the layer of security I need in order to walk boldly into the unknown.

So for today, a double-bill of thanks is appropriate for their respective topics. For Day 12 and Day 13: I’m thankful for the yesterday that brought me to today.

See ya tomorrow.