I’m Not Giving up on You

Lesson learned today. Since I’m a sort of hopscotch writer (I jump around from story to story depending on which one calls the strongest that day, which isn’t very effective in the long-term I suppose, but it works for me for the moment.), I can’t help having a whole slew of stories that just sit unfinished when I boot up the computer and sit down to write. It’s the nature of the beast. But that also brings about its own sense of frustration.

There are those moments when I want to sit down to write, yet have no idea what to write at all. Nothing I say comes out remotely workable. Many call this feeling “writer’s block.” Well, I’ll let you know my stance on that thing later. But that’s not the thing I’m facing recently. Not really. It’s like one of my stories is begging me to pick it up and continue to make it grow into a full-length piece but its voice is so far away and hard to hear that I can’t really figure out exactly which one it is, and when tossed into the middle of a crowd, it’s even harder to figure out.

I went through three or four different story files today just trying to figure out which story I could most easily write tonight. Turns out that it was the story I haven’t taken a look at in literally months: The one I promised myself I’d get into a full first draft before the end of the year. It’s July now. I’m a little concerned I won’t be able to do it, but whatever. It’s a goal and I can work toward it at least.

So personal lesson #23420978: Don’t give up on searching for that story you feel most like writing at any particular moment – it will be there somewhere.

And yes, I totally just picked a random number out of the usual place. Deal with it.

Advertisements

September curled her fists. She tried very hard not to cry.

“Green! Stop it! I just want to know–”

“One! Because you were born in–”

“If I am special,” finished September, halfway between a whisper and a squeak. “In stories, when someone appears in a poof of green clouds and asks a girl to go away on an adventure, it’s because she’s special, because she’s smart and strong and can solve riddles and fight with swords and give really good speeches, and . . . I don’t know that I’m any of those things. I don’t even know that I’m as ill-tempered as all that. I’m not dull or anything, I know about geography and chess, and I can fix the boiler when my mother has to work. But what I mean to say is: Maybe you meant to go to another girl’s house and let her ride ont he Leopard Maybe you didn’t mean to choose me at all, because I’m not like storybook girls. I’m short and my father ran away with the army and I wouldn’t even be able to keep a dog from eating a bird.”

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Because sometimes, just sometimes, while reading a passage in a book, the words resonate so deeply with what you feel that you have to stop. I read this at work today during my lunch break and had to stop. My breath came out as a slight sigh and my thoughts for the rest of the day were daydreams I’d tried very hard to suppress.

 

Writing to Heal or Healing to Write?

Even though it’s been a few months since the “mascara hit the fan” as my mother so oddly puts it, it’s only in the last few days that I finally feel as though I’m healing. Yes, my days feel more empty if not outright hollow, and yes, I miss the Stray terribly, thoughts and memories and dreams often floating to the surface of my mind. But the thing is, I’m not entirely miserable anymore. One step at a time, I’m moving forward.

So maybe a massive fight where we both backed off from one another for various reasons (most likely not wanting to put up with angry attacks and refusals to apologize for attacking, not to mention the pain of feeling like nothing more than a huge disappointment) was a good thing, at least for me. Okay, maybe not. I still feel the void left behind, but I suppose there is something that can help fill that. Like my writing or taking on my newest everyday adventure: audio books while driving. Seriously, today alone I killed a third of a pen from writing this story I’ve had in my head for a while. This is a good thing! And I enjoyed my drive to and from work so much more with a story playing in the background than listening to the news.

I went most of today without daydreaming of things that may never happen or reliving memories that will never again come about. While at work, for the first time in a long time – or so it seems, though I’m terrible with my temporal cognisance – I felt almost happy. I have a bunch of really neat people around me, supportive and experienced in different walks of life. We’re all working toward the same goal – survive the damned training course. And as long as some people don’t throw temper tantrums over nothing again, it’s mostly stress-free. In fact, I came to realize just how at home I am in a classroom environment. I like having people around me who are working toward the same goals without really competing for the same single position or promotion or whatever. I like having the teacher droning on and on about the same three or four things for hours on end. I’m most productive during such periods. My few pages from today are a testament to that.

But I suppose it’s even more amazing because just last night I tried to write something, anything and nothing would come out. Everything I tried felt wrong or bad. Nothing was good enough. Judging by how easily this story came out today, I’d say that perhaps I’d been trying to write the wrong story and need to step away from it a bit. I think I’ll do just that after I finish the sequences of events I have already worked out. (Alice, you’ve never seen the Wonderland I’m painting you.) I’ve heard tale that when you’re starting out, it doesn’t matter WHAT you write, just that you do it, and that you eventually finish it. That last part is tricky for me.

But writing might just be what I need right now. I feel better when I do. I just need to keep reminding myself of that fact.

Just a Thought

What is the best gift a writer (or aspiring writer) can hope to give to someone they care about? What is the best way to show that you love a person? It’s simple. Write a story for them. Tell them what you think, what you feel, and try your hardest to convey it all in the words of a story. Sometimes the wording may not mesh exactly right. Sometimes a phrase becomes mangled. But usually, if you’re careful and you put everything you have into it, you can get the feelings across. And that’s the important part.

I screwed up. I screwed up the same way a person developes an illness. You don’t mean to get it, but it just happens and there’s nothing, if anything you can do to stop it from happening. The only thing to do is to pick up the pieces, hope they can fit back together, and get better.

“Woo me,” they said with a smirk on their face, as if I haven’t been trying from the start. As if I hadn’t been called the Best Girlfriend Ever multiple times just for being myself and giving thoughtful treats that were well received.

Oh yes, I screwed up. I didn’t mean to. And we’re back to that space before the starting line all over again, it feels. But you know, there are moments, a few very special tender moments, when I realize that maybe it’s not so bad to go backward like this every so often. When was the last time I felt such a thrill from just the thought of a hand upon my cheek or so grateful for a single hug that I know will feel warm and safe? When, before this mess started, did I stop appreciating the person before me?

Sometimes, we all just need a little reminder of what we already have and how wonderful it can be.

“Let the Challenges Make You Strong.”

I apologize to whomever cares to read this that I’ve been silent for the last few weeks. These past few weeks have been a bit rough for me. Between personal problems, health issues arising from said personal problems, and another push to find employment of some sort, it’s not been fun.

To put it simply, something in my life had me suffering a full-blown anxiety attack. I’d never had one that bad and over the days afterward I had mild aftershocks. Two days ago I had another one that left me terrified of some other health effects. Stress always goes straight to my stomach, so I lost a few pounds as a result. As of today, I’m happy to report that my stomach is no longer hating me upon waking up in the morning. I can eat a little without feeling nauseous or like it’ll make a return appearance.

It’s kind of sad when that’s my happy moment of the day, isn’t it? And truth be told, I’m a little disappointed in myself. I’m the cause of my personal problems. It’s a psychological issue and it amazes me how much control the brain and emotions can have over the rest of the body, how much damage we can do to ourselves just because of fear and anxiety or whatever.

A friend of mine shared an image via Facebook today. It’s a classic motivational poster type image with a scenic background in muted colors with an inspirational quote on top in white letters.

“Look for something positive in each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder. Let the challenges make you strong.”

And it made me realize that even though I used to do that regularly, I haven’t been doing that much, if at all, recently. The question of “when did I stop” floated near the surface, but in the end that answer is irrelevant. When I stopped doesn’t change when I’ll start again. But it does bring to mind a truly relevant question: What other good habits I once built for myself have I been ignoring and thus forgetting? What did I used to do that made me happy and fulfilled that I’ve stopped doing for one reason or another or no reason at all?

I used to meditate. I used to do regular tarot readings for myself because it made me think about my life and feel good (even when the reading was more negative, I still felt good for some reason). I used to dance regularly. I used to sing more. I used to sit at my computer and write almost daily. I used to sit down and enjoy a few cups of tea in the afternoon (haven’t been since my stomach has been upset, but I’m fixing that today). I used to go for morning walks. I used to stay up well past midnight and enjoy the quiet that comes from a house at rest. I used to play more puzzle and hidden object games than I do. I used to devour books and not feel bad about it. I used to go out for myself every couple of weeks (now it’s once a month if I’m lucky, and I’m not counting going out to fill out an application as “for me”).

So what am I doing to fix all of this? I don’t know yet. But I need to. And the consequences are mine alone to suffer.

The Day Off or Why My Brain Decided to Betray Me

So, originally I had planned to use today as yet another day of plotting and planning and maybe get a little bit of writing in. My body (or more specifically, my brain) decided to betray me instead. See, I’m female. I’m PMSing pretty bad today. And I know that there are a lot of people who say PMS ISN’T REAL. Well, then I challenge them to properly define a true crankiness, depression and a major thinning of the proverbial skin during this one week before my period. I have been to the doctor before and was never actually diagnosed with the proper term: PMDD. Maybe this was because I was too young (roughly 18).

For the record, this is how it turns out for me: I wake up, feel fine enough and go about my day until suddenly and for no apparent reason I start feeling horrible. It’s like every shadow and ghost and memory I’ve got locked inside my brain come out as if the gates of a Lovecraftian Hell dimension have burst open. I find myself facing a painful depression where my mind haunts me with all of my past, every ghost of my memories comes out to tell me how I’m useless and worthless. And no matter how hard I fight back, I still end up emotionally drained, crying, and feeling sorry for myself until I look up at the calendar, count the number of days since that little stamp mark from the last time I felt relief from this very same feeling, and realize what this really is that I’m fighting. See, knowing that I’ve fought against this particular demon and survived multiple times brings with it the relief that I can do it again. And somehow it brings, while not a full cure, at least a hope that I was lacking before so that I can go back to facing my day. For the next few days I just keep reminding myself that it will end until finally the day when Aunt Flo comes to visit and I finally do get relief… unless I end up with cramps just then, but that’s a different matter entirely. I’d honestly rather just suffer cramps than this emotional self-flagellation. (Lovely image there, right?)

I took myself off medication for very personal reasons related to my living situation, which I ask you to respect. My living situation in the intervening years has not changed except that I no longer have health insurance. I cannot afford it. And even with it, I would refuse going back onto pills until after my home life has changed for the better. (Mainly, I refuse to have my need for medication shoved into my face daily and with condescension, patronization and pretension.)

So anyway, I’ve decided that today I’m taking a day off from writing simply because I’ll only end up a) ranting, b) putting too much of myself into my main character, or c) both. Today is about surviving and finding something to smile about and appreciate.