Honesty time.

The last couple of months have been hard slogging, and I realize that my Blog has suffered somewhat under the onslaught.  Digital Dame commented, in a conversation at another blog site, that she misses the weekend challenges.  So do I.  I also miss the long, unscheduled days off, a sense of freedom, and uninterrupted time to write.  

A week ago, my favorite public horoscope said something like this:  you’re trying to look relaxed while standing on a dock with one foot on a boat.  The boat is moving away from the dock, and you’re going to have to commit to either the boat, the dock, or fall into the water.

Which is a pretty accurate description.  Unwilling to abandon either the boat or the dock, I have predictably ended up thrashing about in cold water, still undecided whether to swim for the safety of the dock or the adventure of the boat.

Actually, it’s more complicated than that, but at least it’s an image to begin with.

Emotionally, I’m still struggling with the suicide of my very good friend.  My job brings me into contact with other suicidal people on an almost daily basis so there is no way of avoiding or silencing my grief.  And as a professional the questions I ask myself  involve more than the usual “how could he do this thing?” and progress to the “how come I didn’t stop him?”  My novel in progress, Swimming North deals with suicide, the type of work I do, and contains a character, Zee,  loosely based on my friend.  He and I had long talks about this novel.  He introduced me to Vivian the Penguin who inspired the whole thing, as well as Escher and certain interesting concepts of reality.  So, while the man is dead, the book and the ideas live on.

What is difficult, apart from the emotional process of grieving, is this: the book is a novel.  The character of Zee is fictional, whatever might have inspired it.  And this conflicts with a tendency to turn it into a monument to the real man and a discussion of philosophical ideas, both of which will kill the fiction dead if I indulge.  So, there is that.

As I mentioned before, a couple of good and insightful readers of my once completed novel Remember made comments which inspired a complete revision.  I’m about halfway through this process.  It’s been painful at times – a rather bloody and ruthless slaughter of hours of hard work and polished words.  And uninterrupted stretches of writing time have been at a premium.  But I do believe it will be stronger in the end, so it’s worthwhile.

On the home front, my partner is still unemployed.  My job is becoming increasingly difficult as the economy calls for tighter budgets.  Over the last couple of weeks as I’ve been working on the newsletter for my association – Washington Association of Designated Mental Health Professionals – I’ve been becoming increasingly angry regarding the lack of value that is placed on the mentally ill in my state.  Not something most of my readers will care about, I suppose, but Washington has less psychiatric beds per capita than any other state in the nation.  Since a big part of my job involves trying to put people into non-existent beds, this is a constant cause of frustration.  I spend hours with vulnerable, hurting, sometimes dangerous people, and expend a great deal of creative energy attempting to solve problems that are simply not solvable.

Which leaves precious little creative energy for writing and blogging.  I resent this.  And so sometimes when I open my Blog and click on New Post, I often look at the screen blankly and can’t think what to say.  There is simply too much.  Weekend challenges, the last few times I’ve tried, simply added to that sensation of one foot on the dock and one in the boat.  Writing has to fit into the corners and crevices of my life right now. Always crowding out some other thing that needs to be done.

Don’t get me wrong – I make time for it, as my family could tell you.  Today I really must find time for some household cleaning activities.  I plan to carry on with the revision of Remember.  There are errands to be run in town.  And, I’m on call again, meaning whatever I plan is likely to be interrupted by the ringing of the phone.  

It’s not all bleak in my world, I must point out.  Outside my windows, spring has finally managed to break through.  It gets so green up here sometimes it seems unreal, a Hollywood set design with special effects.  I’m going to my first writing conference in a couple of weeks.  I’ve refrained from taking on extra shifts in May, so hopefully will have a little more time for writing and relaxation.

As always, please feel free to use this site to share how your writing and querying and living is going.  Inquiring minds want to know.

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