No, please do not remove the pickets from the fence or the spicket from the side of the house. This blog has not been abandoned, despite the cobwebs in the cornices. And I am not dead, or disappeared to places unknown... it’s just felt that way.
I don’t know how to preface this, and believe me, I don’t want to sound like some sort of tortured artist. I believe most tortured or drug addicted or alcoholic artists that stand around wringing their hands over their art are that way because they refuse to do anything about it - in other words, they have carved themselves a niche and become comfortable, and the fear of crawling out of that niche and having to redefine themselves is too overwhelming. That doesn’t mean they are bad people, they have just forgotten that artists are supposed to push themselves. I'm not talking about depression not being a real thing - it is. Many artists that struggle with depression do just that: struggle. There are several people I have met “virtually” who are open and honest about their struggles, and they continue to work, write, and produce material. Those are people I really admire. And I don’t want to alienate the boys because I am about to bring up three little letters: PMS - the scourge of the 80’s!
I haven’t been around too much because I’ve spent the last two weeks drifting in and out of a hazy darkness, and trying to pretend I wasn’t. In other words, I wasn't struggling, I was drifting. I didn’t want to admit it, I didn’t want to say anything to anyone, and I tried to continue to be myself, at least on the outside. This slow slide began around the time of the dreaded PMS - pre-menstrual syndrome to those of you without uterus-usses. That phrase is a wormy one, because the symptoms can come before, during and/or after the menstrual period (I know! UGH!) Mine is usually 12-24 hours of a strange, disassociated sadness, where I think everyone is whispering about me and my feelings are continually being hurt. I know during that time that it's just hormones, and the people I was friends with 24 hours earlier will still be my friends in another 24 hours - in other words, I try to take it for what it is - 24 hours of woe-is-me, and then done.
Not this time. I felt withdrawn, and began to withdraw. I’ve been in lurker mode on AW. I haven’t kept up with my blog or anyone else’s, and I feel bad about that. I’ve not responded to some emails. Have let a few promised things fall through the cracks, which sort of intensified my downward spiral so that I withdrew even more. These feelings coincided with the realization I didn’t have an ending for my book, and the overwhelming feeling that the year and half work on this has been akin to a mouse with four wheels in its cage; it spins and spins and spins them but never gets anywhere, and doesn’t come any closer to making those four wheels into a usuable vehicle. That feeling led to less writing. The less writing, the closer the black cloud came, the more worthless I feel, the more I withdraw.
So, I think I am going to admit that I am feeling down, downright down. I haven’t made it any better by putting up with some crap in the name of not making waves. Now I’m trying to kick myself in the butt, to not wallow. I’ve gone over some notes and found a magic line in which there is an ending for the book, rather than a lame cliffhanger. I think it’s a real, acceptable, jam punch ending where something is lost, something is gained and the story is moved forward. I have known the book needs work, what book doesn’t? I know the fairies aren’t going to write it for me, and the re-write is where the real work is, and a writer shouldn’t be afraid of doing real work.
So, that’s where I’ve been, and this has been my self-indulgent rant. I’ve gotten it out of my system, I hope, and will try and muscle forward. This blog was going to be about the writing process of a working schlub, and if I don’t write about the down times, then I don’t think it is a valid representation of said schlub’s journey. I wrote “Novel Done” on the square for August 14th and I hope I make it, but if not, that’s ok, because the “Summer Challenge” I joined on AW had a date of September 1st. I can live with that.