Though really, it would be more surprising if this was an awards eligibility post.
“Surprise, everyone! I wrote and sold something to a pro market in the last year and I never told anyone! You know how humble I am about these things, aw shucks.”
Nope, not on THIS blog. This is the space for me to roll around in complete honesty about my awesomeness or lack thereof. Humility’s got nothing to do with it.
Anyways, my writing. 2013 was both a worse and a better year for writing than 2012. It’s better because hey, I actually wrote something! Thanks to a creative writing class I took in the winter semester I turned out probably 20k, including my first ever poetry! (Don’t ask to see it. It is the sort of thing you get participation points for turning in. Aggressively so.) Thanks to the teacher of that class, I was asked to participate in a chapbook collection, which is forthcoming soon. (My story is about three bored kids and some missing tourists on Mars. Like you do.) I will tell you about it when it comes out for public consumption, and probably post pictures of me being shocked and surprised by my name in a TOC. I understand that is the traditional response.
Unfortunately I have not written more because this year my brain was the least effective it has ever been. I have had worse years, sadder years, more destructive years, busier years, and probably even sicker years, but this was the year my brain just threw in the towel and stopped working.
(There’s a lot of TMI below the cut, so only read on if you really want to know what it’s like inside my skull.)
The first third of the year everything was so hard. So, so hard, and I fought back. (This is thanks in great part to my friends who wouldn’t let me give up.) The second third of the year I had given everything there was. There was nothing left to pour out, and when I boiled dry I damaged some things. Wires were crossed. My reactions made no sense. Scared of showers? What is that? Doesn’t deserve to cook for self, so eats at restaurant? Where is the logic there? And then I entered the last third, where we are now, where my emotions burned out. This is a little bit more serious than it sounds, because it turns out not caring about anything includes not caring about “food” and “sleep” and “employment” and “not letting everyone down”.
So that’s been going on, with the added background music of memory problems, exhaustion, inability to focus, and general confusion. I have gone through definite periods of hoping it’s a brain tumour messing me up, because they can take that out, but so far it looks like it’s still just depression.
Anyways, interestingly, I have been not-writing not only because food and work have taken precedent, but because it has become very difficult to conceptualize my characters. My stories start with world, grow with plot, and move with characters. I have not been able to voice my characters, because they are so unlike me-as-I-am-lately. So stories have prepared and then stalled at the starting line.
My characters , I have realized, take a lot from my family and friends. They love hard, learn hard, work hard, rebel hard, party hard. Not saying they always do things effectively, but most everyone I have ever written a story about is expansive. That is how I understand people to be, how I was before my brain apparently broke. All the stories I want to write are full of fierce colour and weight. Meanwhile, I have become have become thin and insubstantial.
I either need to learn to write characters made of fog or get my weight back. I’m personally hoping for a weighty 2014.