So on Tuesday night, I hit the usual bottom. I was tired, and crabby. Feeling like it was impossible to jump right into other kinds of writing. And like all of this was too much for my writing practices to deal with.
And that I'd been working so hard to be the perfect writer, with the perfect practices and techniques that surely should allow me to jump right from producing what I only hoped turned out to be semi-insightful academic prose (that will later form the base for part of my dissertation) into revising my novel manuscript and working on the new one with no transition time.
Well, I eventually made it to sleep but despite exhaustion, didn't sleep well. When I woke up, things didn't feel much better, but after some cuddling with the cats, I picked up Leif Enger's new fiction book, which I'd had out of the library but hadn't gotten a chance to read yet. After a few pages, I realized three things:
- My friend Cindy was right--it was amazing, in that the prose was beautiful and the story was engaging, all at the same time. That, in fact, I shouldn't get too far into it because I had to go to work.
- I was not alone. The narrator was a writer dealing with feelings of inadequacy and having difficulty finding the inspiration to write some decent stuff. 'Nuff said.
- That what I should really be doing with all these depressing feelings was to start thinking out my new chapter in my new novel--after all, the characters in that novel are dealing with various angst-filled situations right now, so I should be striking while the iron was hot, as it were, and tapping into the present emotional types to remember other emotions, then smelting down, transmuting, and pouring the material into my characters in a new form.
Ah, the power of the self-evident to occasionally jolt one into action. See, I told myself, the practices really do work, stupid. One should not doubt like that.
But I'm sure it will happen again--'tis the nature of the beast. At such times I feel grateful, though, that I'm a creative writer--maybe not everyone gets to experience my wild mood swings, but most of them don't get to alchemically translate them into imaginary experiences for imaginary people, either, which is a pretty amazing thing to get to be able to do.
There's a beauty in knowing that no horrible, awful, no good, rotten experience I have is for naught--with time, a bit of distance, and a proper application of imagination in order to see how it might apply to someone in a different situation with a different experience and personality, it can become material.