Saturday, January 16, 2010

Angel In Blue- Repost

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 40 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.


Deputy's Wife said...

The mind is a crazy place, especially having a bipolar one. Nobody understands us and we can't explain it. Keep writing, friend. Its what you love and are good at. If you don't feel like writing for a few days, then screw it, you'll pick up then pen again when that lightening bolt strikes and its always lightening somewhere!

Matthew Isaacson said...

I can see the concern for being anonymous. I use a pseudonym myself. Nobody in my real life knows that I keep my blog. They all see the happy me on facebook. It's in the blog that I let loose on my bipolar and borderline stuff.

On the subject of writing on a schedule or when you're inspired. I tried to be a writer myself for a while in my free time, but just didn't have what it took. I was listening to a podcast on writing when the podcaster was addressing this issue and he said something like "if I'm writing crap, I think I should go do something else." I think that whatever works for you is what you should do.

I hope you can get past those side effects. I hate taking psych meds, too, but they save my life.

susan said...

@Deputy's Wife-you are right, the writing keeps me sane, that and the cat.....this was a repost, but it's still the same- days go by when it's sterile, I can just eek out a few words and then, nothing. Then the flood.

@Matthew- I didn't know you use a pseudonym? Are we friends on facebook? I should have set up a pseudonym..... I wasn't thinking, since facebook is my real name....I don't have any friends on facebook missing a head! ;-)

Matthew Isaacson said...

I use my real name on facebook. I keep facebook and my blog completely separate. On facebook I present the pleasant things going on in my life. On the blog, I pretty much let my raw thoughts and feelings spew out. I also review products for using the pseudonym Matthew the Raven. He was a character in Neil Gaiman's comic book series The Sandman.

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

I used to hide behind a psuedonym, but now I am just me ~ I hear you about the writing-discipline thing. Have you heard of "morning pages" ....?

Writing is a difficult, solitary and lonely activity. Each of us intereacts with our craft in a different way.

Ana said...

I'm anonymous and will remain anonymous till death because I don't want stigma because I take psych-drugs.
I am not bipolar, never been depressed and was misdiagnosed.
I know bipolarity because my ex is bipolar and I have seen him in depression and his first manic episode that made him go to a mental institution.
He is a painter and a very good one.
No, no and no.
Each writer has a way of working: some write everyday, others not and fear not being able to write again after publishing a book...
one thing artists have in common and I'm sure you have it: always working and even when they are doing something that has nothing to do with their art they are taking mental notes and thiking about their work.
You don't have to worry about what your ex think about you.
I know who he is and, seriously, he doesn't deserve a second of your thoughts and his judgement about you means nothing.
He doesn't understand what art is as he doesn't understand what bipolarity is even though he claims so.
Don't be so hard on yourself and, please, don't let people like this man has any kind of influence on you.
I like you very much Susan.
I have to say it once again and will say it over and over.
You have many admirers.
You are a brave woman.
I know more about you reading between the lines than you can suspect.
Love dear!
Be at peace and forget about those who will always find critics to say to you and to others.

susan said...


Thank you for your kind words and compassion. If you are ever ever in NY, or I am ever in South America, lets meet for dinner and shopping? I would love to meet you and get sloppy doggie kisses from Nell.

howard said...

the idea of writing on a set schedule is as old as anything, but not part of some universal creative truth. i write whenever the urge hits -- meaning the biggest challenge is to sort the thoughts as they hit me. i usually have a pen and paper, or some other recording device, handy.

i have always found it odd that people like to attach conventions to practices that are best practiced by unconventional methods. when you think about great writing, you're really thinking about innovation -- and how many great innovations came from people who followed the same path worn by everyone else?

as far as writer's block goes (and i realize this won't necessarily apply to you or anyone else in particular), i read a great book by Alice Flaherty called The Midnight Disease. it explores the tendencies of the human mind, regarding both writer's block and the creative bursts that break through those blocks. excellent book, for anyone who's interested.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

I'm a writer. I write when the muse strikes. Isn't that what being an artist is about? Or is that bipolar (which I also am)? A very famous author (can't remember just at this moment who) said that she was most often inspired to write when she was doing the dishes. The writing I do on schedule is functional. The writing I do when lightning strikes is illuminated. I see some real flashes of illumination in your writing so I assume it's the same for you.

susan said...

Thank you Mikka for visiting, I will have to stop by your blog later today and visit you!

Anon- I like the comment about the writer doing the dishes.... that was brilliant! Thank you for your kind comment. I would love to read your work as well, you can always send it to me, care of hollythecat at gmail.

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