Back to Life

Confession? I’m not the biggest fan of change. Whenever someone comments how boring it would be to live the same day over and over again, I always respond half jokingly, “Well, I’d do it if it was a nice day!”

Which day, exactly, would I choose to live over again? A good day at work? A beach vacation with my family? A nice weekend back in my school days, or maybe a summer vacation? After losing a loved one recently, I wished many times to go backwards in time instead of forward. Even the most mundane day without the sweet presence of my great-grandmother was more whole and familiar, safe and happy than the shock and grief that followed in the wake of her passing from a massive stroke at 91. However, in the months since life has gone on, and brought even more changes. More changes than I counted on when my family rang in the new year, 2023.

However, sometimes when we actively decide to make changes, those decisions can bring us back to life.

For a good few years, I was a pretty well known writer in a small but passionate fandom for an indie film and the novel it was adapted from. I first discovered the book, with one of those movie reissue covers displaying the stars of the upcoming film, when I was working at a bookstore/coffeeshop. The coffeeshop portion of the establishment didn’t have many customers, so I was often able to indulge my lifelong love of books and wander from behind the espresso bar to the stacks. When I was let go from this job, I was devastated. I loved both aspects of my job, both preparing coffee and being surrounded by books. I clung to this book in particular, one of the last I discovered during my time there, as a talisman of my time at a job I loved that ended unexpectedly.

I loved the film and book for its own merits, and began writing fanfiction for the franchise. The many reads and kind comments I got from readers sent my confidence higher than it had even been as a writer, but being cyberbullied by other readers sent me into a maelstrom of doubt. I continued to write, as a fanfiction writer, a freelance journalist, and a blogger, but never with the same innocent joy as before the bullying. 

A haunting song, a piano ballad by a youthful new musician, has been stirring my heart and reminding me of the book and film I once loved and was so inspired by, every time I hear this song. I recently decided to forget about how long it has been and all of the mixed feelings I once had and write a short piece of fanfiction after three years of absence in fandom spaces.

While I wrote, I felt that same sense of creative curiosity I always felt while writing. The scene was a vague outline when I began writing, then the characters and their dialogue and actions started to take shape as I wrote, like flowers bursting into bloom and creating a meadow of color as they bloomed one by one. The finished product, all of those words coming together to form the  story of a  (fictional) moment in time, always amazed me, and humbled me.

The comments from other readers were warm and kind, welcoming me back. I realized then that I had been afraid of the bullies for so long, afraid that my days of having positive experiences as a writer of fiction were over. Seeing that this was not the case opened my heart, and brought a part of me back to life. In a year that, so far, has been full of grief, I really needed that!

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