My writing instructor from long ago told us this would happen, that true writers are morose, suffering bouts of depression that could even lead to suicide. I knew this going in. But then again, it wasn’t the writing that brought the darkness, it was the darkness that brought the writing.
But in the last 24 hours, everything went into the crapper.
I got a rejection letter from an agent who said she couldn’t get into Indigo , that it didn’t catch her (well, then get your nose out of Harry Potter and seek things fresh and new). At work, the usual feuds. On the cycle-trip home, harassment from kids from behind the smoked windows of their fart-can car. And even though it’s after July 4th, some defiant straggler was launching rockets, one after the other, at 10pm. Just as a rain washed out his siege gun detonations, I discover an important tax document buried under composting junk mail (and I’d just sent out my sales taxes for the quarter). And while I’m pondering this, the cat gets on the layout and breaks stuff. I run to fetch the squirt bottle and end up in a discipline fight with the wife, who seeks mercy for that fuzzy dumbass like the Chinese backing Syria.
So I’ve had it. I seal myself in the train room and work on the layout damage, winching at each defilement to my art. The wife goes to bed, I don’t care. I just stay in there, deciding to sleep in the desk chair. I finally drop off, only to have next-door fireman-hero turn on his stereo a little too loud at 1am. Then he and his latest tramp have a quick glass-breaking fight on their driveway at 2am, ten feet from where I’m propped up.
And it goes on the next day, with tailgating BMWs and my work team splitting an apple pie without even inviting me.
And there is that depression, erupting into the upper atmosphere like a large volcano, throwing ash and darkness over everything. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to do anything, I am not in the mood to suffer the fools that surround me.
I don’t even ride the bike in. Let the world flash-fire in its greenhouse hell. I wash my hands of it.
Lunchtime. I’ve got the tinytop with me and I really don’t feel like doing much. I don’t want to write or edit anything. That reptilian agent really curdled my enthusiasm.
But still, I don’t want company and I don’t want to hang around, so I jump in my car and degrade the world’s climate a tiny bit more to go to a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint with an outdoor sulking area. Automatically I fire up the laptop. No signal.
What to do?
I write under assumed names on the web, just fun little stories unconnected to my true effort, some racy laughable stuff that is a kick to write. And some of the readers have been asking for more, and you know, it’s been a while. There was that one idea I had.
So I sit for a bit and think about it. And the ideas click into place like puzzle-pieces. I pick up the saga where I’d left off, a whole new story with all my established characters. And as I write, my friends, my true friends – the characters that I write, join me. It’s too muggy for anyone to bring their kids out, the waitress keeps me in cokes, and I’m okay.
Oh, there is still volcanic smoke and the plains are ruined hellscapes. But I’m not alone.