This weekend, we hosted my in-laws, as we usually do around this time of year. I always love spending time with them, and this time was no exception. We explored the National Building Museum, ate our collective weight in chicken taco soup and banana pudding, and agreed that when someone asks if you're a god, you say yes.
As is our tradition, we also gathered around the dining room table for a rousing game-- this year, we decided to go with Skip-Bo. Brother-in-law won by leaps and bounds, for which we are equal parts proud and envious. See, we are a very competitive lot, and while we love one another, we also love to school one another in any way possible. These games get very intense, and there are often "disagreements" that result in threats of divorce. Everyone has their own strategy, and no one should ever question it. In fact, the only thing we agree on comes from Trivial Pursuit: when given a choice between a Roll Again or a Question space, you always "roll again-- don't be stupid." It can be said in one quick exhale to speed the game along; it can be shouted at your teammate when they try to move your pie in the wrong direction; it is usually declared in unison by all six of us while raising our glasses in the air. It's not much, but it's all we got.
I bring up games with the in-laws because of an interesting conversation I had with my father-in-law. After dinner, while we were avoiding clean-up, FIL asked me a question that usually sends me into a mental panic.
"So Jess, with all of your reviews and writer friends and such, when are you going to write us a book?"
That is a good question, FIL.
Anyone who's ever told loved ones about their passion for writing has heard this question, and those folks know there were many ways I could have answered. I could say that writing doesn't interest me. I could tell him that I don't have any ideas for a good story. I could change the subject to something, anything, else. However, I'm going through my own personal things right now, and I don't have room in my head or heart to be anything other than honest.
So, I tell him the truth. I tell him that writing and completing a novel is ultimately my goal. I tell him I have story ideas that I need to get out of my head and onto paper. I talk about my writer friends and how they've been so helpful just by asking me about my progress and keeping me honest. I even break bad on myself and tell him how much I find myself to be my own worst enemy. "I'm so full of excuses," I say. "I just need to shut up and write." He mentions NaNoWriMo (which I tried in 2012), and I tell him the story of how my brain turned to mushy goo when I tried NaNo, how I hid myself away that year while spending Thanksgiving with them to try and write, but it didn't work. I shrug and say, "It can get a little daunting and scary."
He nods, and with a knowing smile, he says, "Well, roll again-- don't be stupid."
Maybe it's just been so long since I've blogged that I found inspiration in a silly place. Maybe I need a little more sleep and a little less banana pudding. Or maybe, just maybe, I should take a breath, believe in my own words, and push past the doubtful demons that live in my psyche. Roll again, Jess. Don't be stupid.