A friend mentioned, the other day, that this just-finished (almost) book seemed like a tougher road than The Spiritkeeper had been. I think she was right.

Made me think.

Inevitably, I think, each of has a zone in which we are more comfortable. I’m not talking about fiction vs nonfiction…or even the choice of genres, necessarily… although the playing field of literary fiction may be closer to what I’m getting at here than, say, Science Fiction.

In this zone, the ethers are more willing to speak to us. The muse is kinder. The deep-diggings are more natural. The currents carry us faster and farther.

I wonder why that is.

The Spiritkeeper is about the expressions of the heart…a deep-dive exploration of what love is; how it discovers and reveals the transforming qualities in each of us—with a rather unexpected twist. This latest book is more plot-driven; a path that travels from the physical to the cosmic to our place in all things. The first was wrenching in a particular way—the laying bare of my own life experiences and states of need. The other has been, at times, like trying to untangle a ball of barbed wire. It asked me to assimilate learnings that sometimes made me feel as if being moron would be a big intellectual step up.

I spend (as I imagine most writers do) much time examining thoughts, reactions, interactions, feelings; listening for the music in them. For me, emotional truths seems to be a more natural expression of my thoughts/self/curiosity than twining plots are.

For me, the link between that inclination and my inner self is a mysterious one. Why are we more at-home with one expression than another? Is it a male/female thing? An introvert’s observations? The playing out of Astrology? A carrying-forward of a personality wounded by early-life experiences with dyslexia and outsiderness? What makes me readier to play back my heart than my ideas? Am I just more confident in heart than in intellect?

We are not un-analytical, writers aren’t; we can’t be—not if we want to get better at what we do…and not if we expect to whip into shape the thoughts and ideas from which our writings are drawn. If we refuse to challenge ourselves, if we fail to stretch that unwilling muscle, if we stay within our comfort zones, are we doing justice to ourselves? To anybody?

I know this…those blisters on my psychic feet, the aching head, the frail and battered self: The result is worth the struggle. At least right now it is. Maybe next book I’ll head back to my comfort zone for a while. Like taking a vacation. Like visiting friends with benefits. Like coming home.