On Finding Jasilandia

Snow Trees

Snowing Above Ground

It seems strange to start a blog about writing. Strange because I’ve always blogged, but never about the whats and the whys of my writerly life. I never wrote in a journal. When I was a child, I had a diary that I kept for about a week, scaring myself every night with how boring my life looked on paper: woke up–again, watched cartoons, drank coffee [I started drinking coffee when I was eleven. Yes, yes, I know–mom was right–it TOTALLY stunted my growth], went outside, came back inside, ate dinner, went to bed. I was horrified at how the magic of the day, most of it occurring inside my head, looked so flat and dull when scribbled out on those little flowered pages. My sister wrote in her diary every night–it seemed like such a great idea. For me, it was like trying to capture a dream. It never mattered how many words I used; it never came out right. Something was always missing.

Somewhere during week two while staring numbly at the W in the words “woke up“, the little light went on: Woke up, made coffee, was about to turn on cartoons when from outside came the thundering rumble of hooves no! tanks NO! Spaceships LANDING …

So, I’ve never had the firmest grip on the whole separation of reality from fiction. To me, it’s always been pretty much the same thing. For years my friends have called this fusion:  Jasiland.

Errr: If I were a literary and not a genre writer, which to me is only determined by the size of the paperback your novel comes out in; nice big one = literature, little one = genre, I would call Jasiland Magical Realism, incarnate.

This is why, in the past, my writerly blogs have always mixed fiction with journaling. You remember, you were there. My beloved cat’s last days on the planet turned into a post called, Sivi the intangible and Dr. Fate play a few hands of poker. A post about “Dating When You Are Over the Yahoo-Personals Hill” (which, apparently, means any female above the age of 27) turned into an anti-morality play, replete with dark minions and talking “dating accoutrement” and please don’t get me started on The Patch Dreams series, which unfortunately for me, were mostly all true.

The problem with this, I’m figuring out at last, is that I’m always so disappointed when my reality does not mirror my fiction. I’ve always written, but I haven’t always wanted to be a writer. At some point in the past, I do recall wanting to be a wife. That went well. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come close to being a writer, alarmingly close, only to fail time and again in such spectacular fashion that it frequently takes years to recover.

So, these are the things that I’m thinking I need to address in this blog:

What do you do when you’ve wasted all your chances and you’re on that last one?
When you’ve driven your writing demons underground, only to find out that they were your staunchest allies?
When is it really too late to start over? Is it ever?
What happens when, despite everything you’ve thrown in its path, you have–yet again–a fairly done novel (and I’ll leave you to decide what that bit of poor grammar means) and NO ONE is banging down your door to get at it?

Time to head Underground.

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2 thoughts on “On Finding Jasilandia

  1. What if there are no set number of chances? What if, your soul knew you were a writer to the extent that your conscious mind never had to go out of its way to ‘tell’ you? You were a writer—you are a writer—no stakes, no high wire, no stunts. You don’t have to worry about the right way or the wrong way (the best ones never do). Don’t think for a moment that your reality doesn’t match your fiction, because your reality is what makes your fiction.

    Think about it this way; like Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland, there are little traces of your everyday in your creative works. Something so small as the color of a stranger’s shirt, or the letters on a filing cabinet (O-Z for example) determine, sometimes, the most extraordinary things. My personal opinion: You’re more talented and determined than you give yourself credit for.

    “I’ve come close to being a writer, alarmingly close, only to fail time and again in such spectacular fashion that it frequently takes years to recover.”

    I think we’ve all felt that way, but what you’ve got to remember is that you aren’t trying to *become* anything. You already are…and the moment you realize that, you’ll feel how much freedom there is in existing how your soul has intended for you all along. Your being an author comes through, loud and clear, in everything you do.

    Love your first post—particularly the vulnerability in it. I think you’re off to the start of a wonderful blog!!

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