“If you think real beauty’s on the outside, well that’s a far cry from the truth…”
It’s the last Sunday in January. I’ve been sick. I’ve finished a book that tore my heart out. I’ve walked the equivalent of a 5K and a 10K. I’ve made some decisions and loose plans for my writing this year. I’ve gone to a concert. Read a couple of books. Started a writing weekend thing called 10K Weekends For Writers. I blogged most days. Watched the Rolex24 with my son. Mourned for a few beloved one of a kind men who were totally out of this world entertainers.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad month. I woke up every day. I laughed a lot. I cried a lot. And I still haven’t gotten the hang of writing in my planner every day/week. I’ll get better at it.
The other day I wrote a post about the new book I wrote, Break Me. I love that book. I mean, I really love that book. And if no one else does, that’s okay. I wrote what I wanted to write. I put my heart and soul into it when I hadn’t put my heart and soul into writing in a really long time.
And it felt incredible. Scary as shit. But incredible.
It’s not selling all that great. Maybe if I’d put a different name on the cover it would have, but then, it wouldn’t be my story. Lissa Matthews is me and I’m Lissa Matthews. There’s a reason I chose this name as my pen name and there are reasons I stick with it. I can be stubborn and that’s not always a good thing in this business.
But, with a new year, we’re often open to change, but when it gets hard, we quickly do a 180 and go back to the way we were, to the things we were trying to change in the first place. And the sad thing is, we usually know we’re going to do it, too. I know I’ve wanted to do it. I’ve wanted to go back to the before instead of sticking it out to see the after. Not this year. This year I’m bound (don’t I wish) and determined to see it through, to make the changes I want and stick with them, to try and fail and try and fail and try again. To not give the hell up, but to press the fuck forward.
I’m looking deeper, challenging myself to stay the course when I think going back would be easier. It’s always easier when it’s routine, when we know the outcome already. What’s hard is the unknown. If this, then…? We don’t know the Then… I want to find out.
So, if you’re reading this and you see me start reverting back to the old me, not taking chances with my writing, not saying Fuck You to the things and people that don’t serve a purpose in the grand scheme, you have permission to call me out. In public, or in our cases, on social media and remind me of this.
I have a voice and I damn well intend to use it.
And now, it’s on to February… What does the month of Love have in store for us?
The title of this post was the first line of an email I received and while Shirley likely didn’t and doesn’t expect an answer, I’m going to give one anyway.
It came from me. It came from deep down inside me. Claire is me and I am Claire. At least, parts of me are. At least parts of her are. And she needed to come out. She needed to breathe. She needed to talk. I needed to let her. I needed to shut off all the shit inside my head and let HER out, let HER talk to me, to you, to whoever wanted to read about her.
It’s not a long book. It could have had more added to it. Thousands of additional words, but you know what? No. It’s good right at the length it is. Too many more words and would have been the same extraneous crap that fills most books, the superficial shit that doesn’t need to be there.
But it’s good where it is. It ends as it should. It begins as it should. It follows a personal journey. It follows a timetable. It follows a thought process, though at a deeper level. Facts have been changed, but the pain remained the same. Healing happened and the catalyst was real.
Those initials in the dedication? They’re all real people. Three Dominants and a male submissive. All real. All I know. All who helped this journey at one stage or another. It’s personal and you don’t get to tell me that it’s not true to the lifestyle this time. You don’t get to tell me it’s not BDSM enough, or BDSM at all. You don’t get to tell me ‘Oh but you don’t write that.’ You don’t get to tell me to change the blurb, change the cover, change how I promote it. You don’t get to tell me the characters aren’t damaged enough. You don’t get to tell me that it’s really vanilla wrapped in kink. You don’t get to tell me it’s not important, that it happened to quick, that it needed more, that it isn’t real. You don’t get to tell me shit because there are parts of this that you haven’t lived, that you haven’t touched, that you haven’t known. Until now.
Some books take off. Some don’t. Some have a short shelf life. Some don’t. Some names, some stories have finite existence. Some don’t. I’ve been told enough that I couldn’t, shouldn’t write certain things. I’ve had, and let, myself be told how and when and what. And let’s be clear… i LET myself…
I wasn’t strong enough. I was a newbie. I listened to others tell me how to tell my stories, what visions I should have, what I needed to do to if I was going to make it… I listened. And I was MISERABLE! As a writer, as an artist, as a storyteller, I WAS MISERABLE! Add in some personal trials, some heartache, some emotional challenges, and I was THIS. CLOSE.
But, then… I met someone who let me talk. Who liked words the professional world of writing has never read from me. Raw, unpolished, from deep in my soul words. Words of desire, passion, forgiveness, and growth… And that was when I knew. It was time….
All the negative, undermining, should’s and shouldn’ts, need to’s and don’t need to’s… All the voices I kept hearing in my head, all the words I kept seeing from emails and reviews and memories too hurtful to keep inside anymore… All the caution and safety and hiding behind walls, both personal and professional, came down. And you know what it came down to? It came down to Fuck you. Fuck. You. It’s not your book to write, not your story to tell, not your business to make or break, not your life to live. Fuck. You.
I turned to a friend who told me it was okay. Who said You Got This.
One turned to me looking for advice and help, but who, in the end, helped me.
Four active in BDSM, who all taught me many things about myself and the lifestyle.
And then, I wrote. I said fuck you to everything and everyone who ever said You Shoudn’t Do That, and I wrote. I poured my heart out, my soul out. For 27, 000 words, I cried. I hurt. I gave it my all. And I sent it out into the world.
Then, I got scared. I texted my friends. I was scared. The voices came back. The doubt, the fear, the anxiety. It all came back. What had I done? What was I doing? I don’t write this. I don’t put myself out there like this anymore. I don’t get personal anymore. What had I done?
When Shirley’s email came in last night, it was like a balm to my bruised and battered being. I told a story that made someone else cry. I told a story that made someone else FEEL! Do you understand what that’s like? To make someone FEEL? To make someone else’s eyes tear up while they’re reading my words? MY WORDS?
Break Me is a new voice. I’ve been telling y’all it was coming. It’s different for me. It’s new for me. And I love it. Do you understand that, too? I love this voice, this vulnerability in my writing because it’s fucking real. It’s painful, it’s beautiful, and it’s MINE. It’s ME. It’s been locked up behind doubt, both self and from outside sources, you know, those successful, know all the things people. This one story, this voice… This is who I dreamed about becoming, who I dreamed about being when I began writing. This is who my college English professor saw through the words I wrote in class. This is who the catalyst saw through the words none of you have ever seen.
I have said Fuck You more times in the last 4 weeks, than I have said in my entire life. Every piece of self sabotage or self doubt has received a hearty helping of Fuck You. Every bit of anyone telling me what I MUST do, what I MUST write, has received a helping of Fuck You, too.
I want authentic. I want real. I want ugly crying. I want joy. I want the stories I want to tell to be what comes from me. Not what is safe and sound and that fits perfectly into this category or that slot in promotion. Will I be successful in the business of writing/publishing/selling my soul to the Facebook Gods? Probably not. More than likely not. It doesn’t work that way. You have to conform. You have to do what everyone else is doing even though we’re all sick to death of it all.
One of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies, Wonder Boys, is “He respects us enough to forget us, and that takes courage.” He is the writer. Us are the readers.
And my happiness is worth more than fitting in to a writing cookie cutter. I want the books I want to write. It’s reckless and it’s daring. It’s scary and it’s brave. It’s my fucking story to tell and it came from deep down inside me.
Thank you to T for breaking me. For helping to shatter my ability to trust myself and others. Same goes for J and L and S (female)…
Thank you to JR, the blue collar atypical Dom, for helping to put me back together again and for making me laugh through it all.
Thank you to another S (male) for letting me open up, for letting me share, for letting me explore my own emotions, and for reading each and every word of Break Me without judgment.
Thank you to m for showing me another side of selflessness, of selfishness, of devotion to self.
Thank you to Shirley for the email Friday night… For asking where this book came from. It came from me.
And thank you to Scarlett Dawn and the bringing together of so many wonderful authors and the many different voices to tell stories from The Club.
It’s that time again and y’all I’ve got a crapton of words to get down this weekend. 10K minimum! Who’s with me?
If you’re new to this, all you need to do is sign up with the Linky at the bottom of the post, then start writing! That’s it! Oh, and we talk on social media, encouraging each other through the weekend with the hashtag #10KWeekendsForWriters
Blogger, or author… Come on down! Keep track of your word count and let us know at the end of the weekend!
One of our participants last weekend, author Amy Ruttan, logged 14K! How awesome, right!
Snag the button from the side bar. Tell your friends. Invite people to join in! The more the merrier. This is about building community, getting words down, and having fun challenging ourselves!
Let’s Get Writing!
I’ve posted this one before and I’m just going to post it again because I’m going to see them tonight. I will lose some valuable work time, but I think the concert is going to be more valuable to my brain function than anything else, especially, staying in…