Brain cramps, self-reflection and new stories

“Stephen King didn’t wait a year to come up with a new book idea.”

Those piercing words came from my muse a few nights ago during an impromptu pep-talk while I was half-asleep on a week night.

My muse, of course, is my fiancée, the love of my life whom I will be marrying this November.

Over the last several months, Krystina and I have had our fair share of time-consuming days.  Krystina’s multiple sclerosis reared its ugly head back in April and ended up putting my best friend and my soul mate in the hospital, then a rehab facility for forty-seven days.  Suddenly, writing horror wasn’t appealing to me anymore.  Hardly anything was.  I was living a horror story at the time.  I didn’t have the energy or will power to create any fictional scares.

With a smarter and more proactive medication regime, including stronger medication and a much more progressive neurologist, Krystina was able to return to work a little over two weeks ago after missing three months.  She’s doing great and we take it day by day.  She fought some of the darkest battles I could ever imagine and she’s come out of the other side having recovered just about everything she lost. (She’s still short a good two feet of hair from where she was back in May, but hair grows back and the Lord blessed her with the return of her mobility, speech, swallowing and cognitive functions and that is what we truly prayed for)

As Krystina returned home and improved with a steady schedule of therapies (speech, occupational and physical), I began to feel my creative drive return.  I wasn’t ready to start writing about death and emotional trauma just yet but I was getting there.  I had my sweetheart back at home with me, my muse to bounce ideas off of.

On a few occasions, Krystina would ask me when the last time I wrote was.  I wouldn’t lie to her- “I’ve been brainstorming and doing some research, but not really sitting down and writing.”

A few nights ago, Krystina playfully suggested that she get to stay home and cuddle with the cats all day once I make a big book deal.  I laughed.  She laughed.  Then her eyes narrowed and she got serious.

“Of course, that can’t happen unless you actually WRITE.”

There wasn’t an ounce of spite or rudeness in the sentence.  She was telling me what I needed to hear.  What I was ready to listen to.

That night, as I faded into a dreamy oblivion, Krystina put it to me straight. “You’ve got all the talent in the world and you just aren’t using it right now.  You had people who don’t even like horror tell you your book was good.  You scared people. You still have people talking about some of those stories.  It’s time to get back at it and make the career you’ve always wanted.  You can do it.”

I agreed with her and told her I really wanted to start writing again.

“Do it.” She said. “Stephen King didn’t wait a year to come up with a new book idea.”

And there it was- my muse, the woman who I get to spend the rest of my life with and the woman who I watched fight through Hell and back to get back to doing what she loves to do, bringing up the King himself to really lay some truth on me.  I just received life-changing therapy and didn’t even have to pay for it.

This post isn’t to get any pity props from anyone- I didn’t write this to hear people say “yeah, you are good at writing!” and I certainly am not comparing myself in any way to Stephen King (nor is Krystina- one look at our bank account and she knows there’s still some work to do!)

It’s just a bit of a therapeutic release to get this off my chest.  And to be able to put into words how thankful, in every sense of the word, I am for Krystina.

Last night I collected every notebook I have in our apartment and I audited the hell out of them. I tore pages of scribbles and random notes that made no sense out and separated the notebooks- completed projects, blank notebooks and half-baked ideas.

Those “half-baked ideas” notebooks are now stuffed in a tote bag and I will be bringing it with me wherever I go until I read through all of these notebooks, salvage any story ideas or paragraphs I can, and put together some new stories.

Half baked ideas and all sorts of random story paragraphs galore

Half baked ideas and all sorts of random story paragraphs galore

I’ve got a ton of ideas in my head that I’ve been fleshing out as of late and I have been in constant talks with artist extraordinaire Kevin Spencer regarding what’s next for our collaborative efforts.

Things are looking up, in every way possible and I look forward to coming out of the other side with some really scary shit for you all.

JH

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