Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Renaissance Soul in a neo-medieval world.

This guest post on Later Bloomer caught my eye and caused me to stop and think about what I really want to do with the next phase of my life. And then this post by Debra Eve herself provided a counterpoint, and sort of an answer.

My primal desire since the fourth grade was to be a writer. While doing a whole lot of other things along the way, I fooled around with writing on and off from that time until after I was 50. At that point I decided that I was either going to have to actually write something or give up the Dream. Giving up a life-long Dream seemed harder than sitting down at the computer and typing a bunch of words. Since then I have self-published sixteen novels as e-books on Smashwords. I have several others completed but they still need work, and I have two new first-draft manuscripts that are presently hanging out in my writing folder while I decide whether or not they are salvageable. (I use Mark Twain’s “tank method” -- I work on them until I think they’re done or I get stuck, then I put them away for months, or sometimes years. That gives me enough distance to edit them again and determine if they’re ready to launch.)

My stories are not masterpieces, and I don't think they would ever be great works of art, no matter how much professional editing might be applied to them. They are, however, my stories, written with love and passion. I share them at a very modest price in the hope that they will find their way into the hands of a few people who will enjoy them and/or need something that the story offers. Writing a novel is lot of work, and I’m very proud that I finally followed my Dream and wrote these stories. 

I struggled with the last couple of novels. I felt as though I was repeating myself. Writing became a chore. I didn’t want to do it any more, at least not at the pace I had been working. 

After spending a few months sort of at loose ends, I realized that the biggest question before me is “what next?” I am sure that writing of one sort or another will always be a part of my life, but I feel myself drawn to do something other than writing novels, at least for a while. I find myself wanting to do something new. Something I haven't tried before. That made me feel like something of a quitter, just when I'm getting the hang of novel-writing, I'm bored with it and I want to do something else.

In preparing to write this, I went back to reread the post on finding and following your “primal longing” when I happened upon [serendipity!] Debra Eve’s post “All Those Who Wander Are Not Lost” about the difference between the medieval mind and Renaissance mind: specialization versus diversification. That was an "ah ha" moment for me. 

I have always loved the idea of the Renaissance person, someone with a wide variety of interests and  breadth of knowledge. Intellectually I need to learn something new every day. I don’t like to spend enough time with any one particular subject or task to become an expert. I’m satisfied with knowing a little about a lot of things. I guess the truth is: I’m kind of a “dabbler.” In our neo-medieval world that’s a very bad thing. In our culture my intellectual dabbling is interpreted as meaning that I am either not serious about my career or that I can't stay focused on any one thing.  The fact is: both of those things are totally true, but it doesn't seem like such a bad thing inside my head. Spending too much time on one thing takes up too much time that could be devoted to learning something else. 

Now, that I feel finished (at least temporarily) with writing long fiction, my Renaissance soul is looking for something new to learn. 

I don’t know what it will be, yet. But I’m pretty sure I will throw myself into it (at least for a while) with the same fervor I approached writing novels. I'll no doubt share the adventure here. I hope you'll wander along with me! 


  1. A Renaissance Woman. You've set my head spinning with that phrase. Yes, I'm wandering along with you. Thanks for the invite. It seems that women sometimes need permission to go on those journeys. I'm giving myself permission. Thanks Meredith.

  2. HaHa. I guess I didn't realize how strange that sounds until you called my attention to it. It seems countercultural, but it feels right for me at this stage in my life.

    Journey away, and feel free to share here in the comments.