I’ve answered this question a few times. Yes, I know, my name is odd; to have chosen such a name is a curiosity. In a world where the current operating system dictates we only spew positivity, and are not allowed to share our pain and suffering without being preached at about living in the half-full, I chose a name that would make most cringe. With it, brings a raft of implications, and even though the spelling is creative, it is still a label of anguish.
Back in 2008 I was almost thriving. My horse training and teaching business had weathered much, and I was finally making a living. It was a hard life, and a lot of work, but I’d been at it for nearly 25 years, and finally my passion surrounding horses, was paying for itself. I had a barn full of mine, and client’s horses and enough drive-in lessons and training that I finally felt as if I’d made it.
I live rural, in a stunning part of California. The summers are cool and rarely reach 80F. The winters are temperate and rainy and it never snows! I leased a horse facility near me with 10 stalls and an indoor arena. I needed the indoor for our winters. It was across the road from miles of trails and just a short haul up to the show grounds for variety. I also live only 5 minutes away.
Even though I’d been there for 20 years, and I thought the owner and I had a solid foundation between us, she changed her mind, and restructured the lease to the point I couldn’t afford to stay. There was no other place for me to go. I explored every option at my disposal, even moving from the only place I adored living and where all my family and husband also dwelt. I would have moved, and taken all my horses with me, if I could have found something.
In the end, I was forced to give everything up, even all my horses. Even my 13YO superhorse who I’d had since he was a yearling. All of it, gone with no hope of retrieval. I collapsed and had a massive breakdown. I’d lost everything, including my cemented adult identity. I tried to commit suicide, and obviously failed at that too.
At this point in time, I wasn’t a writer or author. I’d always told stories, and written for myself, but in an extremely limited capacity. I also didn’t have the academic learning to back up any sort of writing aspirations. But I had to do something and I couldn’t afford a therapist, so I began putting it all into words.
I hurt. I ached. Everything in me was in severe pain, and it wasn’t physical, it all stemmed from the emotional. I was in a mire of depression so deep I saw no way out. Even though my faith game is incredibly strong, and I was begging for illumination, no answers were presented. So, I began a story about a lost soul who needed a miraculous rescue. Her name was, Payne.
Before this episode, I’d never had much depression, and I’d dealt with all my physical pain easily. I had multiple injuries over the years, and nothing slowed me down, but now, the inner anguish was radiating, and my entire life, my body, my emotions, my soul, all of me was in utter, and devastating pain. My outlook on life wasn’t much different. I still wished for death every day for well over a year. But I wrote, and I wrote, and I kept writing her story. In the beginning, she was me, but as it evolved, I became her, and together we began to heal.
I adopted her name as it became clear I had a book on my hands and I needed a pen name. I was no longer the horseygirl of my past and I’d severed all connections to that old life. I had only 2 people who cared if I lived or died, and they are the only 2 who still use my birthname. Now days, 7 years later, I am known as Payne.
Much has happened and much has changed in my life and inside me over the past 7 years. Oddly, I’m still not that excited about being alive and I often pray to be taken at the earliest possible age. I’m not suicidal, I’m just tired. This system and this program doesn’t work for me. Nothing about how other humans operate, works for who I’ve evolved into.
I’m persevering however, and my life is very full. I’m embracing the distraction of, ‘busy’, and spout the company line whenever I can muster a fake smile. I’m no longer in pain, but my soul is still alone and my soul is still, Payne.
My blog feed goes back to the beginning of my journey as an author and poet. You can find a link to it on my webpage, along with millions of words and multiple pages of my personal reflections and writings, here: www.paynehawthorne.com
All my fictional work is up in novel form, in both print and digital on Amazon, here: Payne Hawthorne on Amazon
I wrote a lot for 5 years and I learned as I went. I have 12 novels to my name now, all of which I am quite proud of. All but one is fiction. Just this year, 2017, I released my first memoir which included two poetry collections. This title is autobiographical and about a young man I feel deeply in love with, but we couldn’t make it work.
Look for it here: Peeing with the door open; Not a love story
That first book I wrote, where Payne is the heroine, is now a series and still my favorite. Someday I’ll manage to finish the third book in that series. Look for it under the name;
AdventuresinPayne Remnant, (book I)
AdventuresinPayne Discovery, (book II)
Back in late 2015 I was forced to stop writing and start earning a living again. My time was up, and nothing was bringing in enough, (any), money to live on. I’d given myself 5 years to show I could at least generate a grand a month from my writing. That didn’t happen, even though I produced so many great titles. I tried a go-fund-me page, thinking all the ‘fans’ I’d gathered and the ones who’d received all my work for free, might donate to my cause so I could finish some of my series.
Instead of them rallying behind me, I was maligned for asking. I was told I should work, and still write, and nobody would help me. I ended up with the nick-name, “Funder-Cunt.” This story has more to it, but that was it for me. I already didn’t have much fight left, so I walked away, and I stopped writing novels.
Since then, I’ve written a lot of poetry and short stuff. I also wrote my memoir when that love affair ended and my heart was once again shattered.
Now days, everything I write is all real, all non-fiction, all my inner truth, and all of it is heartbreakingly ME, Payne.
I’ve risen out of my pile of ashes a few times. Now days, I find comfort in being alone and living as a servant to others. I don’t have much of a life apart from my work, and even now, finding time to write anything of meaning is not very high on my list. What I do write, I post for free on all my social media sites, and for sure on my Pinterest boards or my website.
It means a lot to me to hear if my words resonate with others. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it comforts my lonely heart. Thank you for reading me.