Any film watcher has seen the well-used storytelling trope of a particular scene ending, fading to black or white, with the words ‘one year later’ (or another arbitrary length of time) then appearing on screen.
Based on what came before – and the set-up of what comes immediately after, the viewer then makes their mind up and fills in the gaps of what they didn’t see and of what will never be divulged. It’s such a common narrative trick that the individual doesn’t feel like they’ve missed out on anything at all, so clever is the brain at pattern recognition and filling in the blanks.
Here I find myself using the same method, a year after my last blog entry – but I am calling attention to it, which is rare and a tad signpost-like. And the purpose of it is to fill in the gaps myself and to narrate my own journey. That is the wonderful prerogative of a writer: the ability to put my thoughts into reader’s minds. It’s such a beautiful thing, and it’s something that I am careful about and respect very much. After all, when you are invited by a stranger to tell them a story and they willingly imagine what you have painstakingly created, you have to treasure and honor that invitation. Any perceived injustice would result in a rejection of any future tales, no matter how great they might be.
I am also acutely aware that, as of this writing, that I am not yet a published author – I do not yet possess a public profile where there is sufficient interest to have to explain my hiatus. In fact, part of the draw of being a writer is the awesome anonymity, even if you’re a bestselling author. But no, I’m just a regular lad with a handful of followers and many more casual blog readers, well-wishing family, friends and acquaintances. I could just pick up where I left off and go forward.
So why don’t I?
If I’m ever going to become the type of writer I want to be, I have to nurture the human being that I already am. One should influence the other. So, in short, this last year has been rather momentous. A lot has happened, and one of the major changes was moving back to my parents’ place in part to take care of them – my father in particular. Becoming a parent to your own parents is quite heady stuff, especially when you throw the curve balls that are dementia and Parkinson’s. Add my career, and any number of regular and extraordinary stresses that we all experience as inhabitants of this planet, and there you have it.
But in the meantime, all this enabled me to turn inwards and craft my first YA manuscript into something that truly excites me, but to also write another manuscript: another standalone that is quirky and full of spirit, which belied the difficult and sometimes frustrating circumstances at home.
So here I am, one year later, smiling, happy and grateful to write, with all the love around me that I need and which I am utterly grateful for.
In the end, it was a year well spent.