Trying

Today has been a productive day on the book. My resistance for a few days has been the avoidance of some of the topics of the story. Today, I have been focussing on a lot of the hard elements. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that not everyone will like this protagonist. And there are many reasons he often hates himself in spite of enough external challenges out there he faces.

Some of the topics are pulled from my own life, and at the advice of a few of my friends, some truly supportive and awesome brothers of the writing craft, I am taking their advice to heart and truly cutting down to the marrow.

It’s not a very nice mirror to hold up, but the story rings truer than any other way.

I don’t know how many words I have gotten down today, but I will say that I have transcribed several notes and scenes and written three or four large scenes today. I’m starting to get tired and so I will attempt to let the brain wind down so this isn’t all I am doing all night long.

When people ask me how the book is going, I am surprised to say lately that it is going very well. There are days it feels like it is writing itself. It’s a story that is demanding to be written, often at the expense of a normal sleep schedule, or reminding me of awful bits of my past I wish I could have forgotten long ago.

Lately I have been re-reading Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” and am finding that the first read through was a personal story, but now I am reading it from a writer’s perspective. There are moments I stop and open up the notes on my phone and I have to write a scene or a chunk of dialog, because her fearlessness in the narrative has been giving me permission to explore a lot of things that I would have otherwise left buried.

I’m taking the advice of Joe Lansdale to heart when he says “Write like everyone you know is dead.”

I’m not writing a story to make people happy or feel better about the world. I’m writing to break their fucking hearts. Whether or not reading about this heartbreak gives the reader some kind of catharsis is up to them. That is what it has been doing for me at least.

Right now, some decent sleep would be nice.

So, yes, the writing is going well.

Starting is the hard part, because it’s like that wince you get when you expect something to sting. Touching a hot stove.

The Storm has passed

There are days where the storms roll up on you, the wind howls, and the branches snap from high limbs of trees. The rains come and threaten to wash you away. The noise, the lightning, the chaos. It is maddening. You feel like you might die at any moment. Alone against the storm.

Then the wind subsides. The land is quenched. The distant rumble that you hear is almost comforting.

You look at the devastation left in the wake of the storm and understand that things were bad, but could have been worse. I’m tired of these storms. But what this last one left in its wake was a story of hope. It’s a story that continues to be told.

A story of picking up what is left and moving forward.

I get to pick what was good from every moment of my life. All the lessons. All the happy moments. Nobody can take those away from me. I had forgotten that for a little bit. They exist independently now, in a room in my heart, in an archive of my memories. They are safe and yet always with me. Along with perfect moments, kissing in moonlight, sweet moments with my children, good friends I have met along the way, and houses with solariums and libraries that are yet to be built.

I’m going to get some rest now.

Hangover

Yesterday I got a lot of writing done. I started off the day a little late, after beating myself up most of the day before. You might not know it to read my last post, but things were not good. I had a few deadlines which would have been due today at 2pm, but first I had to take care of some other things.

I visited with my therapist for an hour and got some things lined out. It will probably be my last session for a while. She is very helpful, in spite of it just being over the phone due to social distancing. According to her, a lot of the thoughts whizzing through my head are attributed to grief. Grief over my relationship, my work, and even the general grief many of us are experiencing due to the pandemic. The world is changing and like it or not, we are mourning the loss of how things were before. It just sucks.

After that, I went to my doctor for my yearly physical. She was not happy that with the end of my job I wouldn’t have medical insurance with them…possibly indefinitely. She is a really good doc and has an excellent bedside manner. I discussed a lot of things that are going on, and she pretty much echoed what my therapist had said: Stress. Nearly all of my concerns were stress related and she couldn’t blame me one bit for any of them. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

I wrote a personal blog post, and then I sat down to write one of my paid posts. I decided I would write it and then do the second that was due today when I woke up in the morning. I got it outlined and then a regular client dropped three on me, which I did in the interim. I ate some food, made some coffee and finished the big assignment. I watched a couple episodes of Peaky Blinders. Made dinner. Drank a cider. Read a little. And my brain would not shut up. It was midnight when I crawled into bed and my heart was just going. So, I figured I might as well put the time to good use.

I got up, wrote the next big post from start to finish, and had the whole thing done before 2am. My brain would not shut up.

So I took a melatonin and before long, I was watching patterns ebb and flow in my vision even though my eyes were closed. My brain would not shut up. I fell asleep around 3am. Then I woke up at about 4:30am. My brain still just going and going. I fell asleep and woke up again at 6:30, then 8:30. Then I finally dragged ass out of bed at 10:45am. My head was pounding.

I managed somehow to drive to get coffee. That part is a little foggy. I got home, paid some bills, and made a hamburger. I am not a happy camper, and I blame stress, as well as melatonin. I feel the effects of that even now. I feel drugged, in spite of the caffeine I have been mainlining since I got up. Part of me also wonders if I’m not going through FaceBook withdrawals. I am 36 hours clean right now. When your doc and your shrink both tell you social media is bad for you, it’s beneficial to listen to them.

There has got to be a better way. Eventually, I hope, my brain will give me some damned peace and quiet. Until then, I plan on taking a nap. This evening, I hope to work on the book some more.