Monday, September 13, 2010

Writers finish...and I don't.

Hannah is not going to get finished.

I feel sad. Really really sad, and embarrassed to have failed, yet again, but I just don't know what else to do. I do this thing where I set goals for myself, and if one of the goals go unmet, I can't do any of it. It's a personal issue I need to work on. But working on it with my writing is turning my writing into something I really don't enjoy, and quite frankly, these are still my favorite characters in my favorite story, and I don't want to think of them in the way that I have been. I enjoy the writing that I do, but every time I sit down, it's a reminder of how much I haven't done. It's just the words giving me trouble, and then I torture myself, hate everything I've ever written, hate myself for writing or not writing, or anything else I can.

Writing is hard. Making time to write is hard, having the discipline to write is hard. Knowing your limits is hard, giving up is hard, knowing when to put it down 'for now' is hard, knowing how long 'for now' is, is hard too. I'm not a novelist, I haven't been for years, everything I've ever written in the years since Hannah is screenplay, and I don't want to give her up, and I want to write, and I do think that self-publishing is the answer. But I am torturing myself about writing to the extent where I don't have time to read. And if I don't have time to read, how do I write?

Coming back from vacation, I realized a few things. The first is the same thing I always realize when I go home from a trip: I am capable of pretty damn amazing things. It's hard to be anything but humble while you're looking the Mona Lisa in the eye, or eating pasta under the shadow of the Roman Coliseum or feeling how it's like my feet finally touch bottom in a deep pool every time I leave Heathrow airport to go into the city. It's tough to be anything besides grateful when you're on top of the Eiffel Tower and realize that the woman next to you is eighty years old, and has waited her whole life to stand next to you, here, and millions who will keep waiting, while your own life hasn't even really begun yet. But when it's over, and I can look back, remember getting lost in Paris and finding my way back on my own, remember climbing the huge Coliseum steps with my friends, instead of taking the lift, like I should have done, not because I was embarrassed, but because I didn't want to miss a second, and, without thinking, ordering food in a fancy restaurant, and eating it without asking for help or worrying about who might be staring... That's me. Mine to have, mine to keep, mine to value, as I will. I think about my family and people I have known, the ones who asked me, not how, but why the first time, and the second time both. How the world was created and filled with beautiful things, but there are people who live their whole lives thinking it's easier to not see them, and I am not one of those, and that's enough to make me feel powerful.

I am capable. But I also grew up in disability culture, and one of the problems I have is common to, well, probably a lot of us, since a lot of people I know have a similar problem: I do not know my own capabilities. It's either too much to handle, or not enough to motivate me. I started this project easily because I knew that I would do that to myself, and then, from day one, I've been doing that to myself anyway (I still blame Day One on Amanda Palmer, but, whatever.) So... Hannah will get done. And I will publish a book before the year is out. But I'm not sure, if those things will be related.

Vacation resets me. I want a reset. Not a do-over. The nasty, negative, "You didn't do what you said you would" voices in my head have effectively silenced the voice in my head that tells me where the stories are, but there are a couple little imps still left over from spring and a couple late bloomers. There are other voices, and that's been part of the problem. Hannah has changed from something I want to experience and enjoy and remember, into something I want to get through, to get to other things. And seeing as how I plan to write it in three novels, it's so much more daunting that way.

So, I'll keep working on it. In quiet, in private, in bits and pieces. And focus the rest of my energy... somewhere else. Don't know where else yet. Like I said, a couple things are clamouring for my attention, but this is not what I want to be writing right now, and if I don't write it, I feel guilty, so I don't write anything else, and I continue to torture myself (seriously, nobody told me writers were this neurotic! haha) So. Regroup. I'll wait a week. Maybe two. One of the many little imps in my head will come forward with gnashing teeth (no, not that one,) my family drama will settle down, and start again. I do mean to make something of myself, and do it in this way, but I may have overestimated myself (again), and not quite grasped what would be the best vessel for that.

It's upsetting, and it feels like failure, but that's me being neurotic. I write better in the fall, anyway. (This is actual fact, not an excuse. Spring for ideas, Summer for obsessive creative spurts, Fall for grit-your-teeth, down-and-dirty writing, and Winter for hacking the crap out of all the stuff I was previously too warm-and-fuzzy about to be objective towards. It's always been that way, it just seems too obsessive-compulsive to not at least try to change habits. I am foolish, it seems.) I'll find something else. There are a lot of something elses. When the ideas have hold of me, they drown out the negative voices so that I can be perfectly happy writing crap. Hannah's not doing that for me right now, but something else will. Meanwhile, I'll keep plugging away and picking it apart, and it'll come out, eventually.

And I'll keep writing this blog. I like having somewhere to talk shop, and people who'll talk back. Writing this blog is easier than writing stories, which I never even thought possible, and it helps with that need to sift through stuff, to find the balance between who they are, and who I am, and who is more important.

I took tons of pics and videos from my vacation, and I'm going to cut them together in a massive doc-style video, if I can manage it. For now, for everyone out there who has to wait, or doesn't think it's possible for them, or just because the world is beautiful and I like being able to share it, here's some shots.

See you next week for round two?

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