Friday, February 10, 2012

Crooked Queen

I have a crown on my back. It's a birthmark that reigns over my lower lumbar to the left of my spine. Thing is, it's not obvious. It's the size of my two thumbs held together; it's nearly invisible, except when it sees the sun. When it gets some color and my skin tans around the crown, it brightens, stands out, and the spires, the pointy bits of the thing are jagged, like teeth. It stakes it's claim to me. Otherwise, in the winter, when I'm pale and clothed in sweaters that do not let in the light, I forget about it. I forget about that birthmark, my symbol of power.

No one should ever forget about their power. No one, but especially writers, for our power is the power to create worlds. We are mini-deities that rule over the characters we create from a spark and set into motion in places and times that also come from that void.

Lately I've forgotten my power, and because I've lost track of it, I've given it away. The baby out with the bathwater. It wasn't that I was asked to give it away. I just gave it away freely. My mom always told me to give, to place others before myself, to be nice, to not rock the boat, to forgive and forget. She piled on the adages. So I did those things until all that spark and vinegar and kindling in me that fueled my plot twists and decisions about characters' facial gestures and my diction got pulled out of me and given away as well. This writer took her power, wrapped it up in a nice, floral gift wrap and shipped it off. With a sodding bow on top.


So how do I get it back, now that I realize what I've lost? How do I get back the urge to tell stories? They're still in me. I haven't given them away, covered in pretty packaging. But I've given away the desire to tell them. I've always told them, whether on the page or verbally. I'm a bullshitter and a damn good one. It's me. Fiction. Me. Without it, without it bubbling up and out of my fingertips or my lips, I'm lost.

The crown has slipped. The crown has fallen.

Some say to just put the time in each day. Just five minutes, ten, fifteen at the keyboard. Some say to take it easy, to rest the mind and heart and soul and the inspiration will come creeping back on soft toes at 2am one restless night in the near future. Some say if you aren't writing you aren't a writer (some people are assholes). Some say nothing really. Some just want to talk. Some, the ones that are near me, will just touch my hand, as if I am grieving a loss. I am grieving a loss.

All those suggestions are good suggestions if I were looking for suggestions. But I'm not.

My birthmark has become a sort of worry stone while I've contemplated where I go from here. I knead at it with my fingers. I catch sight of it in the mirror while dressing and wish that it were brighter, the summer crown, not the one of winter. I think of it as a symbol of me at my best, in kick-ass form, in proper, game-on form.

I've decided this, while holding my palm to my birthmark. Here is how I'm reclaiming my power: I've identified where it's gone and I'm going to kindly ask for it back.

So, can I please have it back?

Man, that felt good.

The other night a friend asked me what my full name meant. Erica means ruler/royalty/queen. Crockett means crooked, as in shady or possibly crippled. I'm a Crooked Queen. It fits me perfectly. Sure, the crown is little more than a faint glimmer of power right now, but I'm still wearing it. Besides, it won't always be that way. Summer is coming. The sun is coming. My crown came with me when I entered this world wailing and it'll stay with me until I wail my way out.

And look. Just got a present. I remember this gift wrap; I remember wrapping this power up and giving it away. I'm not going to forget it again. I'm keeping it.

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