“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

(Quotation – Charles Darwin)

Change is good, right?

One of the big cliches in life is that embracing the unknown is a frightening thing. It’s probably a cliche because actually it’s very true. That is after all one of the ways something becomes a cliche in the first place. There have been a lot of changes in my life since my last blog post, and many unknowns to embrace… much fear, and pushing and pulling (internally) a lot of which I didn’t even realize, or certainly not acknowledge, until I was thinking about it, usually while in the shower, over the past few days.

I’ve moved home permanently, not just to a different city, or county, or state, but to a different country. Exciting – but terrifying too. Sure, I have a wonderful support system of people I can go to with all my stupid questions: how do I do…? Where do I go to…? And generally they forgive me all the stupid questions because – love. It’s really quite astounding how much ‘letting go’ in order to move on to where you want to be, is both a welcome relief and a wrench to the heart. It’s also very hard to explain. It’s like – cutting apron strings that tie you to the past – to where you’ve come from.

As a permanent resident of the US now, I have a green card, I also have a social security number. That was when the first snipping of the strings really registered. For 46 years I’d lived with a National Insurance number (the UK equivalent of an SSN) made up of letters and numbers which I could (still can) rattle off at a moment’s notice. All of a sudden I find myself with a new number that I have to look up every time I need it. It’s not unwelcome, but it is different, and strange. *snip* The next slice came just very recently with the acquisition of a US/NC drivers’ license to replace my UK driving licence, yes the difference in spelling is deliberate which is another thing – to embrace the Z and toss out the U, and other subtle changes in all thing concerning literacy.

As I write, the image comes to my mind from the movie Fellowship of the Ring in which Sam and Frodo are tramping across fields, and suddenly Sam stops walking.

“This is it,” says he, and Frodo turns back to face him.
“This is what?”
“If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”

It’s both true and as far from the truth as could be, for me at least, because, I’m far from home, the home where I was born, but I’m closer to home than I’ve ever been – the home that is my home now: where I want to be. What is home, after all, but a state of being, not a place at all. Of course, like Samwise, there are many, many more steps still for me to take, that I have to take – steps masquerading as ‘red tape’ and unhelpful ‘red tape’ at that… but such is the challenge, such is the measure of my ability to adapt to change, I suppose.

All this has meant that writing, and progress on Use’ara has been… well, slow to pretty much non-existent. The reasons for this are manifold and varied, not least of which that I had stalled, and stalled badly, come up against walls I couldn’t see a way over, or around, and certainly not through… my own personal bear hunt. Another reason involved another ‘change,’ the embracing of another ‘unknown.’ Having said for a long time that I didn’t write a particular genre of novel, mostly because during my earlier attempts at experimenting with that style I didn’t believe it was for me. In going through my files, I discovered the digital manuscript, looked it over with eyes having 20 odd years more experience and decided, yes – I probably could do something with it, and set about a massive edit, the creation of a nom de plume, (for no other reason that to avoid confusion while writing in different genres), and finally the publication, through Amazon Kindle, of the resulting novel… a scary foray into the world of Romance, as Linden S Barclay.

And yet…

Deep in the darker recesses of my mind Use’ara still turns about Her crooked axis, the retrovirus still silently eats away at Her writer’s DNA, subsuming her, changing her, molding her… and the characters, but sending them down deeper, darker and different pathways, until what is emerging is a much more ‘mature’ – and I don’t mean that in the sense of intended readership, but an internal maturity of the world, and characters themselves – and, I hope, accessible onward journey or revelation, struggle and yes… Thirteen Stars.

I had stalled, but now I believe I see a way forward, the glimmer of a light at the end of a tunnel that may not be an oncoming dragon, but something at least as powerful, and deadly. I’m excited again, but daunted, because if it felt huge before, it feels even bigger now, and somehow to have far more… gravitas, for want of a better word.

Now all I have to do is find a way to clone myself to have enough hours in the day to do all the things on my ever lengthening ‘to do’ list.


About Eirian Houpe

Writer and Teacher. Published works: Eternal Dance (as Linden S Barclay) and articles for Wigston Magna Dog Training Club, and SFX Magazine.
This entry was posted in Life, Use'ara, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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