I've slipped off the road, onto the roller coaster. It jumped its tracks from the highest point and I'm plunging down. Gravity can't be defied. I've been working on this novel for months. Will it take years? Turning down opportunities to do other things...questioning myself, re-questioning myself, over-thinking it. I'm experiencing seasons while the characters kill hours in the book.
Old haunts victimize me. Are the characters flat? Is the plot overdone, and does it even make sense? What will others think of it when they read it? Will anyone ever read it?
I have other things I want to write.I have other things I want to do.
Sure, whine, whine, whine.
I briefly distracted myself with an intriguing article, "Recommended Holiday Reading for the Caring, Agitated Mind", by Ralph Nader. Ralph is a chuckle machine. He recommends....let's see, "America Beyond Capitalism", "Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers", "The Vertical Farm - Feeding the World in the 21st Century"...that one sounds very interesting. There are twelve books on the list. They seem and sound interesting, new ideas, old ideas re-addressed, new data to fuel the fires and calm the agitated mind.
In some light, this seems like I'm struggling through Kuber-Ross's stages of grief - 'the stages of writing a novel'. Let's not be too dramatic and narcissistic here - writing a novel is just like losing a loved one, ain't it? Not too far over the top here, am I?
Yes, I'm over-thinking things, and my thoughts are squirreling into a dark hole, the darkest, the hole I prepare for myself. Who knows better how to torture me? The Torture Pros? They'll let the hounds lo0se, for sure, especially in that physical realm and there will be pain, but is it worse than the billion little cuts of self-doubt, self-loathing, frustration, anger, bitterness? Where does it all come from? Why can't I cap that well?
Looking back, it has always existed for me, so I suspect that it will always exist, no matter what I write and how well it might do. I will look at it and think, oh, god, that.
Wow, went off and read about NPD and avoidant personality disorder, and I think that's me, baby.
Naw, that's not me. It was good to read the symptoms and reflect on them and realize, I'm just your ordinary common nutter, coping with struggles to get ahead and the usual middle age angst of "Is that all there is?" Yes, I have some NPD traits but I probably have other personality disorders spilling out as well, not much different from many other people. I've returned to stories I've written and published, and I enjoyed them.
It's as important to assert myself and not accept that I'm helpless, that I am the world's victim, the system's victim. If I want to succeed, I need to work on it - focus and perservere.
And that's actually the nub. As I prepared to write yesterday, my wife came in and mentioned something about going down the road to Medford to look for a new coat. So I, to be social, friendly, supportive, said, "Okay." Continued getting ready to go out and write.
She returned. "I have a coupon for Macy's but it ends at one."
Hmmm, it was ten. Writing takes about three hours, including the walk and drinking the coffee, and find a new vein to cut. "Do you want to go now?"
"If you don't mind...."
"No, I don't mind."
"I'll go get ready."
Now, see, I could have stopped it there. I could have replied, "Sorry, babe, but I need to write. She would have accepted it, suffered some disappointment in semi-stoic martydom for the remaining day. But I didn't. In my head, we would go to Medford, do her hunt, get back here and I would go write.
That's not what happened. Of course not. Since we were in Medford and she's looking for a new shower curtain for the guest room bath, we went around to stores looking for one, along with Ked's socks for her, and wicking exercise tights, and since we were over there, a furniture store up the road is having a sale on Stickley furniture and shouldn't we go to it, and since we're here, can we stop and pick up a few things at Costco?
So...it took a while. We returned home at 3:30, unpacked, put things away. Frankly, driving around and being in crowds enervates me. Once I was back, I sat down to write....
Here come the cats. We've been away and they want to show us how much we missed them by getting on my lap and purring. My lap can fit two at once, if they're willing to share...which they were not.... Each demanded their own time to give and receive affection.
Dinner time arrived and we made dinner and ate...then I turned on the football game and started writing as I watched, but it was all crap. Nothing seemed to work right.
So today is a result of frustration and resentment and dissatisfaction that I didn't write well yesterday, and that my habits and patterns were disturbed. Part of it, I think, too, is that I am at odds with the novel for the moment. Russata is an outsider being asked and manipulated to do something, which she wants to do out of a perverse sense of order. But it's all going so smoothly for her, too smoothly....
Changes are in order. I must accept that, go back, go in and address the changes.
Okay, have expunged the darkness for now. Worked expectations exercises, remembering times when I felt better about myself and my accomplishments. I've also had some coffee. That black goddess of goodness is wonderful for plucking me up off my ass. That's why I like blogging. The writing helps me think, walk through my personal issues, and stand up and regain my balance. Time to do something with the novel, hopefully write it, time to do something with "The Festival of Forgetting", like write it as well.
One word at a time. Small steps. Hit the gaps, keep your legs moving, keep looking upfield, keep going, don't stop at the first hit, don't give up just because you struck out once, because you fouled out, because you tripped while sprinting away, because you hit a wrong note or the composition is off or you didn't get a hundred on a pop quiz, or even the high score. Keep going, keep going, keep going.
Just stay out of Medford.
(Now, an editing aside, back in the first paragraph, why did I switch from 'I' to 'It'? What caused that slip? What does it all mean?")
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com