Thursday, August 7, 2008

Angel in Blue

Ideally, you should feel safe in cyberspace. I know from watching too many episodes of Law and Order that this is not true.

You take precautions.

I admit the Myers Briggs had me down as an introvert. From a family of mostly extroverts. I admit my idea of a perfect Saturday afternoon would be to sit in front of a roaring fire, listing to music and reading, the cat at my feet asleep.

That would be hell to most of my family who like to move and stay active.

I know I isolate too much.

I know my writing habits are strange. I've been hearing that since my first creative writing course as a Freshman in College.

My ex, and almost every other writer I know, professional and amateur, set a time of day to write and that is when they write.

I cannot do that. I have to wait for the bolt of lightning to strike, and then I write. And write and write and write, for days on end straight, til my fingers bleed. And I write. Then I rest, go back to what I write and edit.

Consider me both Eliot and Pound.

My ex, would always tell people I was the better writer. But at home, in private he would yell at me I wasn't writing enough. Because I was sinking down into depression and with depression the darker it gets, the more vast the waste land it is, and I cannot write.

When I cannot write for more than a day or two, look out. Send the men with the white jackets.

When I first set up this blog, I was urged to do so by two of my dearest friends in the cybersphere. The email address that goes out to people is in my cat's name. No one knows my surname. Less than 5 people in cyberspace know who I am in real life.

It was supposed to serve as therapy, a kind of letting my soul go, a safe place for me. It isn't anymore.

The whole goal of this blog was to help other people understand what the hell goes on in a bipolar's mind.

My ex, a published and respected writer in the field himself, once told me, :"No one can get inside the bipolar mind like you do. What you write is difficult to read, impossible to put down and brilliant."

That seems to be the opinion of another friend of mine in real life who said almost the same thing on his blog back in January.

I write, I write. I don't know how to do much else. I am not that good with people. I would rather be alone than in a group. I feel uncomfortable with them, I feel like I have to be "on".

I know this also was a deal breaker in my marriage, the ex would tell me I am too much of a homebody. Like I said, when the lightning strikes......that is the way I am.

I wish I was disciplined. I'm not, much to the wrath of my Creative Writing teachers and other writers I have met and befriended.

"I would suffer like Van Gogh to paint like Van Gogh. I would not suffer like Van Gogh, however, to paint like Gaugin." said Kurt Vonnegut in a New York Times interview.

I believed that. I wrote like Van Gogh painted at the end, painting after painting in the last few days of his life alive, before he put the gun to his chest and pulled the trigger.

Much to the detriment of my family who loves me. Because I don't answer the phone when I am on a roll. I don't get dressed. I stop every hour or so to put fresh ice in my water, or use the toilet.

I don't want to be disturbed. I just want to write, damn it. Leave me alone. The world can go to hell, I will write and write and write. And when I am done, then and only then will I make time for you.

It may be selfish. It probably is, considering I quoted Ayn Rand yesterday and her views on selfishness as a virtue.

It might be selfish to wish I was able to live my life without meds. I know in my heart that 23 years of over 30 different psychiatric meds must have done a number to my brain. How could it not have? It would be ridiculous to assume any thing else.

Besides, As Neil Simon said in the play "The Odd Couple", "When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me".

I went back on an antidepressant around noon yesterday. This morning I woke up with a splitting headache, nausea and diarrhea. I cannot sleep, my brain is going too fast. But I am depressed at the same time. I never had mixed states until this year. I try to write, the ideas are flowing but the hands won't type. I have my notebook out to jot down ideas, and a tape recorder if I cannot hand write fast enough to keep the words flowing.

My brain feels like it's covered with cotton balls. I lay in bed last night , listening to the air conditioner spit out a cold blast every now and then, and tried to sleep. And the thoughts raced, even with a Klonepin. At 2 am I can barely hear the traffic there are no cars on the highway.

I tried to work on my novel but my brain is too tired. Instead, I vegged out on the couch, watching daytime TV, and making trips to the toilet.

I feel this in my heart right now.

"And the song that I was writing/is left undone/I don't know why I spend my time/Writing songs I can't believe/With words that tear and strain to rhyme" (Paul Simon).

if my brain becomes lethargic, it won't write. I will try to discipline myself in the future, set aside a block of say , six hours a day and leave that to write. And if I only write a couple of sentences that day it's Ok. I have read enough books on the craft to know that is a verity with writers.

What do you do to a dream that is deferred? Let it die like a raisin in the sun???

What do you do if you cannot dream anymore? You don't feel safe anymore?

And she never had dreams
So they never came true
My fade away angel
Angel in blue
(J. Geils Band, 1981)

Lovely song. Dust off your vinyl records and listen to it. Really listen to it. It was supposed to be written about Faye Dunnaway, but it is so much like me it's scary.


jessi said...

I think you have to be in the 'mood'to write... I can relate to that. I don't think all writers can simply spit out quality writing on demand, or on a designed time of day...
So please don't be hard on yourself.
Would you say writing is healing for you?

Writing used to be very important to me. I would write lots even in grade school. Later on I went to the School for Journalism (because I couldn't get into art school) and was very unhappy (needing to be a journalist when I just wanted to write; it was a big mistake). Later on I went to writing classes and wrote many poems and short stories. And was praised for it, too. I also had a complete script of my experiences with psychiatry ready, but never tried to get it published.

And recently... I realize that writing was NEVER really my thing. I learned to write because, as a child, it was the only way that I could express what I felt. All verbal ways were met with mockery, silence, judgment, criticism, contradiction.
So I just became very good at writing. Writing was an indirect way of getting attention for my pain. A way of validating it without running that risk of meeting with denial or being 'punished' for having feelings.

My real desires lay in feeling, dealing with emotions (mine and those of others), I'm beginning to think.
Writing was a substitute.

So that's my experiences.

I don't know if they mean anything.

love, jessi

Ana LuĂ­za said...

Art is a very complicated process.
One have to have discipline but it does not mean that the work will be good.

Stephany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
susan said...

Jessi, thanks! I think you need to be in the mood also, but I really could use a bit more discipline!
Sharing your experience touched me. Really. Thank you.

Ana, I agree 100 percent

Stephany, wow. Thank you so very much. For everything.

Gianna said...

writing is a mystery to me. I cannot choose when I write. it comes upon me...I don't think you're so strange...I think a lot of writers are like that.

I can't write now...that's why I went on hiatus and I don't know when I'll be back or if I'll write in some other format...

as far as the internet being safe...well it's not...that is one of the reasons I'm not writing...I've been silenced by angry hurt people...not because they have any real power...they have none...but because I'm tired and sensitive and now I need to heal.

I respect the rhythm that my psyche sets for my writing even if I don't understand it...even if I have to lose readers while I stop writing. It's silly but watching my stats go down hurts---that's the hardest part of letting my being be...It's taken a lot of work to get hundreds of readers.

but I may need to let it all go because that is what my soul is saying right now...

maybe tomorrow, or next week or next month I will have to write again. I don't know...

notice I say HAVE's not a choice for me.

but now I need to hide and be safe...

ahhh...I get a little bit out here...thank you.

Larry said...


I tell people that I can't NOT write. I sense that would be true of you as well -- on steroids.

But since your own intensity frightens you, you can imagine how it worries your friends (and they are a lot more than you think) who care about you.

I wish you the gift the petite gymnasts of Beijing will display over the next two weeks -- balance.

Merelyme said...

i can so relate to what you have said here. my writing or lack of writing is my mood barometer. it is all or nothing for me. there are times i am writing like a maniac...there is no stopping me. and other times the inertia kicks in and i am stuck. no nothing. what helps to have rituals. a bottom line of survival when i cannot muster the energy to do anything. sometimes a note from a friend to just write back one word...helps. it relieves the being stuck just that tiny bit.

anyway...i hear you my friend.

sara said...

I have to wait for the bolt of lightning to strike, and then I write. And write and write and write, for days on end straight, til my fingers bleed. And I write. Then I rest, go back to what I write and edit.

Sounds incredibly familiar.

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