It’s a Western character type, the dark and world-worn hero. He’s got back-story, haunted eyes and a half-growth of beard. His cynicism is cool and his standoffishness endearing.
It doesn’t really translate well to real life.
I’m finding out how grief and depression really work since my father passed a few weeks ago. The event itself moved me (in a quiet way). I reflected on him, I wrote his obit, and experienced a few moments where his memory came back to me. I talked about him a bit more than I expected, finding myself relating stories about him.
But now I’m sitting on his porch, looking at his hills as the rain sweeps across them, and I’m bleak. Bleak as Heathcliff, as Ahab, as any bitter fighter pilot, western gunslinger, ex-spy, ex-mercenary. I’m a crummy archetype and I hate it.
I’m not sleeping. I’m snappy and standoffish and angry. I take offense at slights (even through my brother really is a bit of a wiener* ). I can still write, thank God, and still find my voice inside, but its a quieter, darker voice. And I don’t like it, not at all.
My reflection on this new mental place I’ve fallen into is interesting, at least from a literary sense. I tried to capture hopeless love in my (hopefully) upcoming novel Indigo. And I wrote about AADD (which I think I dance around the borders of) in the unpublished Kingdoms. But I’m getting to realize that my literary understanding of depression is not close to the actual disorder. The scene does not open with me in the corner booth of a small backroads bar waiting to be contacted by a mercenary captain or members of some elite team I served in. I don’t feel like being drunk, being social (even sitting in a corner booth is an act of being social, really) or being romantically misunderstood and isolated. I’m just tired and cranky and difficult to be with (my boss even hinted a vacation might do me good. Bad news – it didn’t).
So I suppose I’ll need to keep working through this and try to find my way out of it. And unlike literary heroes who find themselves in this state, I don’t have a Nazi bridge to blow up.
* I don’t have to worry about my brother actually reading this blog, and mentioned HERE. Wiener.