Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21st

For some reason, my anxiety has just been spiking almost uncontrollably the last week or so. (And it's not because I think the end of the world is coming tonight, at six pm.) It is that time of the month, but usually I'm just moody, not... whatever it is I am now. Largely incapacitated, I guess.

I have a hard time writing and I'm tending to think that what I'm writing is shit. Just pointless, silly prattle with no purpose. And all my actions, in retrospect, whether I spoke to a person, or didn't speak to that person, or how I stood, or turned my head or when I sat down, or when I looked away, all my actions seem stupid, awkward and potentially insulting to the person in question. I haven't been able to keep up with even the small amount of correspondence that I had been able to before.

When the anxiety is at this kind of level, I sometimes think back at some action I took and physically wince. And then, I hear the words, "I hate me," in my head. They're my own words; I'm literally hating on myself.

But it comes and goes. Some days and some hours, I feel fine. Like normal. And then, boom! I'm hating on myself, and everything I do and say and create. And I want to rip everything out by the seams. I feel the urge to get back to playing the Sims, which was a therapeutic tool for me for a while, but that was because I needed to hide from real life while I was processing grief. I don't want to go back to that, I've been enjoying real life. But I feel the unmistakable desire to do so.

Beside, the empty play that the Sims provides is actually elevated in writing. Writing also plays with life, but it's much more demanding, rewarding and personal, as well as infinitely variable.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I feel like I'm on the verge of regressing. I'm really hoping that this is still moving baggage that was packed in on the deepest level, and that a steady jogging routine and the quiet house will air it all out and I'll get back to normal. Because, if not, I might have to go back into therapy for a while. I just can't let myself hate on myself. It's intolerable, and if I need an ally in supporting my inner sense of balance, I'm certainly going to find myself one.

The other thing it might be, but I'm just wondering, is this insidious idea I got concerning Ishi no Torii. For a while now, I've felt that story wanting to go dark. But I didn't let it, I made it run along the usual rails. Then I got what I think is a potentially brilliant and terrible idea, the idea that story wants to work out.

As soon as I starting seriously writing, I wondered when the time would come that I would tap into the sexual abuse as emotional material for a story and maybe it's now. I know pretty much exactly how I have to change the beginning of the story to suit its new focus. It seems like it was tailor made, actually.

I wonder sometimes- I wonder frequently- how much of my writing is conscious and how much is unconscious and which comes first, the idea or the writing. Did the writing spark the idea, or did the unconscious idea direct the writing?

Anyway, maybe I'm not ready to write this idea out. Just because I have the idea doesn't mean I have to write it out. Because as I write it out, I will bring it to life and live in it all over again. I won't lie, a part of me finds this beguiling and powerful. It's another way to conquer the abuse. I will work it like a metal, I'll bend it to my will and in the end, it'll make something stunning. I hope. If I have enough skill and ideas interesting and innovative enough to support it.

Anyway, who knows? Maybe I'll start it and won't be able to finish it for ten years and then I write it brilliantly. That's ok too. I just know this little girl very well and I want to write her into being. I want her to be victorious.

I'm going to make up a layered world, a classic idea in fiction. There's the mortal realm, and under it, the underworld and under that, hell. And above the mortal world is the spirit world and above that, the sacred realm. The middle three are porous. The outer two are permanent places of residence. (My imagination is ever symmetrical.)

One of the interesting things is that children who are abused frequently hide in their imaginations (which partly explains mine) since it may be the only escape and place of control available to them.

Only this girl will actually escape. And at some point, she will be able to physically destroy her abuse. Because, in ways I haven't worked out, in the spirit realm, the spiritual energy of human actions take physical form. She can send it back down to hell. Then maybe return to the mortal realm and confront the person who cast the spirit shadow that she already took down.

The success of the story lies primary in two things, I think. Firstly, I must be able to think through and craft a very compelling spirit realm. I have to think through the consequences of the parameters I put in place and populate it accordingly. Secondly, I have to be able to capture the sexual abuse, its emotional and physical consequences, the atmosphere in which it is done, in a very real way that still is bearable for a reader to process.

If I can't do those two things, then I don't think the story will work. Anyway, thinking this through on a mostly unconscious level is probably contributing to my anxiety. But I think it'll be worth it in the end. I just have to keep telling myself that if I can't capture it yet, I will be able to at some point and there's no rush. It's my story; it'll wait for me.

I think I'm going to do what my Dad recommended and write out a list of writing affirmations and tape them above the computer monitor. I might print out all the lovely comments and compliments I've gotten on my writing over the last few years or so, as encouragement. I've gotten quite a few, but I forget about them on purpose, so I don't get vain and cocky.

In the meantime, the Ceallach story has ironed itself out and is moving along smoothly. I see my way clear to the end, now. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of my writing, a glimpse that is free of the heavy, impenetrable cloud of subjective judgement, and I see that the writing is good, and that it is a good story. It's an old story, but I'm telling it in my own voice. That's the best a writer can do anyway, since there is no such thing as a new story line.