The Consequences of Truth

Well-made plans have a way of crashing around you when it’s least expected.  We’ve all had things we planed on doing, only to have life come up and smack us straight on in the face, leaving one a semi-bloody mess.

The measure of your personality is how you deal with the situation.

I didn’t deal with mine very well.

Allow me to explain.

I started out in a good mood.  I was writing, I was blogging, I was looking forward to the end of my novel.  I was looking forward to having a good time today, to maybe finishing an article and getting that out.  The path was clear, the way ahead was sunny.

I posted an excerpt from Chapter Six of Her Demonic Majesty, and was getting into my editing.  It was going to be a wonderful day–

Then Trusty Editortm came along.

They were reading the excerpt, going through it with the trained eye they have.  And just like that, I’m getting PMs on Facebook.  “You have this wrong . . . this should be . . . I think you meant–“.  It wasn’t much, and my Trusty Editortm was only helping me as they have done in the past.

But it killed me, because this was what I feared all along:  that no matter how much work I put into getting my manuscript clean, it would never be clean enough.

I lost it.  I logged off from Facebook and just shook for a few minutes.  I cried.  I doubted my own abilities to do anything right.  I’ve spent so much time on this story that it really felt like a kick in the gut, and with everything that has happened to me this week, I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore.

I actually reached the point where I was ready to say, “Fuck it, I can’t take this anymore,” and just wander away from the scene for . . .well, who knows?  I feel alone, I feel that I get very little support, I feel like I’m working in a constant vacuum located inside a singularity of indifference.

So I stepped away from the story for most of the day, simply because I couldn’t stand to look at the manuscript any more.

I finally finished editing the chapter I was on when I had my meltdown, then I headed out for the night, something I haven’t done in over a month and a half.  I wasn’t in much of a mood to talk, though, but I manged to get though the night without being too much of a Debbie Downer.

It was only while I was driving home with the late night light drizzle falling around me that I found my center.  See, long ago, Trusty Editortm was going over another manuscript that was my then Work in Progress.  And they had issues with a few things in the first couple of paragraphs.  I freaked out, because I thought what I’d written was pretty good.

Their comment to me, after I’d expressed my fears, was, “You need to get your ego in check.  Do you want this to be good?  Or do you want this to be the best?”

That’s an easy one:

I’ve never wanted to put out shit.  I can’t stand the idea that I’ll put out a story that’s crappy, with things that will give haters reason to go, “Yo, you used an and not a, loozer! ”  If I can’t put it out right, I’m not going to bother putting it out, period.

After buying a pretty cover I don’t have the means of paying someone to edit a couple of hundred pages, but I did have a friend offer to look over the manuscript for errors.  I have a bit of fear here, because they told me they didn’t like the title, but beyond that I think they’ll find errors and not much else.  I hope.  And if all goes well I’ll be back on the original path I’d set, which is to have Her Demonic Majesty published at the end of May.

It’s okay to freak out.  It’s okay to think you are worthless, that you are alone, that you even suck.  It’s happen to the best writers, sometimes to the point where they decided to end it all because they were told their novel sucked.

But you need to listen to people and know when they are helping.

Because it’s never okay to kill your dream.

Never.

The Forgotten Silence

There aren’t many days when I forget something that I should write about, but it does happen.  Yesterday was like that; I’d gotten my post written and set up all over the place, when I realized–oh, damn, I should have mentioned that.

So I’m a day behind.  Sorry.

One of my favorite writers is Hunter S. Thomson.  I loved the tales, loved the wildness, loved the apparent recklessness that Hunter appeared to live.  He was one of those people whose work, no matter how insane it appeared, I read.

On 20 February, 2005, he wrote his last piece.  It was short, and to the point:

 

No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun – for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax – This won’t hurt.

 

He’d had a hip replacement that never seemed to work correctly.  He’d suffered a broken leg.  His addiction to alcohol was acute.  Since Hunter saw no other way out, he shot himself, and brought an end to his life.

Yesterday, 10 September, was World Suicide Prevention Day, an international event that’s held every year the same day.  Suicide’s one of those things that’s around us all the time, but most people never give it a thought.  Fewer of us know anyone who’s tried or committed suicide, even though it’s the 13th cause of death world wide, and the leading cause of death for people 15 to 24.

I had a distant relative who killed herself and her two children.  It happened in the mid-60’s, and actually made the local Chicago TV news.  I was told later that she was “manic-depressive”, and had been in and out of treatment for years.  At the time it didn’t make much of an impact on me, because I hadn’t begun suffering from my own “manic-depressive” issues–but I would understand it later.  Oh, yes, I would.

Ten years ago I worked with a person who took his life.  There wasn’t any warning; there were no tells.  One night he went home and, just has Hunter had done, shot himself.  Another person who took himself out, because the demons were too big to fight.

But I know these things first hand, because I’ve suffered through my own darkness.  I’ve been bi-polar most of my life.  I’ve suffered incredible moments of depression I thought I’d never leave.  I’ve checked into a “facility” for forty-eight hours because I thought I would be a threat to myself, and almost did it again over the summer, when I seriously thought I was losing my sanity.

Worst of all, I’ve attempted that final trip twice:  once as a teenager, and once in my early twenties, when my life felt like it going nowhere.  Needless to say, I didn’t succeed either time, but I took those steps–

I’ve also taken steps to help myself.  I’ve seen therapists:  in fact, I’m seeing one now.  I’ve called help lines so I could connect with a voice that would listen, and offer help.  I watch my own tells, and understand when I’m getting ready to lose it–like over the summer.

You treat mental illness like any other illness:  with treatment and observation.  We aren’t lepers to be kept isolated, with people fearful we’re going to pass our illness to others through casual contact.  We need to be seen and heard.

Sometimes we also need help.

World wide there are a million people a year who die by their own hand.  How to stem this tide?  Through help and understanding.  Through dialog. Through reaching out and offering a hand where it’s needed.

Sometimes just a little human touch is all that’s required to break the silence.