Well, to be honest each day is different but today feels more different than most.
Still have a migraine – so I guess that is still the same. But for the first time since my surgery I feel like yoga and walking. Real walking – none of that walking around the block 10 minute BS but real 3-4 mile walking.
I’d head out the door right now, except for the migraine, the house that is a disaster, the laundry that needs to be done, and a promise to myself that I would write today.
I’ve learned a few things while I was out of it. Productive procrastination and all that. While I was recovering I finished the edits on a short story and then read, a lot. You know it is a lot when it is multiple times the amount that I watched Netflix or Hulu. Drowning in visual media was a way for me to escape my migraines, when they were bad and continuous. At the time, reading took too much effort – not to mention memory.
Sorry, got distracted by the wind in the trees and the stormy look to the sky. I love walking in the wind.
So I read. A lot of fiction and a little nonfiction. You might say that my taste are lowbrow. I like genre fiction. Can’t really help it. Although I have to admit that my choices probably added to my depression. I re-read Ghost Story by Peter Straub, On Writing and Bag of Bones by Stephen King. Oh, and a few short stories. I love Straub’s Ghost Story and re-read it every few years.
Like every few years I re-read Sherlock Holmes and all the ghost stories I love so much. I like Poe, but I also like Afterwards by Edith Wharton, Green Tea by Le Fanu, A Terribly Strange Bed by Wilkie Collins, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappaccini’s Daughter. There are so many more… M. R. James, Algernon Blackwood, O. Henry, Lovecraft… Faulkner and Hemingway both indulged in tales of terror and I’ve read those too. There seems to be nothing like a good fright – and the catharsis of survival.
I have a strange desire to read a little Hawthorne now, and James… but M. R. or Henry? Turn of the Screw is delightfully frightening. Hmmm…
As usual I digress.
I leaned a few things during my enforced inactivity. Time to think, and rethink, is such a wonderful thing. I realized that I’m not editing hard enough – I’m getting close now, this last thing was edited to within an inch of its life – but I need to focus on getting that part of the process down. My best tool, besides my friends, is reading out loud over and over again. When I’m tired I stop reading what I think is there and read what actually is.
I also realized that I’m my own worst enemy (okay, we knew that). I get afraid and I back off from the drafting process. I need to drown in it – and let it go.
There are times when I am so far into a story that it seems real and the rest of the world seems out of phase. It is a bit of a trip to go out like this, often the story will continue in my head as I wander the aisles in the grocery store. My only hope is that I’m not muttering to myself. A perfectly appropriate thing when I’m home with the cat but would cause most people to keep a wide berth.
It is funny how we instinctively avoid those displaying behaviors we dub as outside the norm.
Again I digress.
Oceans of Notions – to misquote Rushdie.
I need to drown in the Ocean of Notions… the funny thing… I think I’m ready. So much of the last few years have been taken up with figuring out how to structure my life to the best effect. Once I’m here, at the desk, and things are moving I do pretty well. But getting here, staying here, when there are so many other things calling to me – like the wind in the trees or wondering about the evolutionary value of avoiding individuals displaying odd behaviors… it is so easy to be distracted by the bright shiny objects that lay all around me.
So, I need to jump in the Ocean of Notions and let it take me. Turn on the tap and let the ideas flow – good, bad, indifferent, downright silly – letting them flow through me and allow the fear of drowning go.
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ~ Frank Herbert
I wonder if he was talking about fear – or writing?
I’ll see you when I come up for air.