When I started this blog, I had no way of knowing that so many deeply personal issues would present themselves. It was never my intention to join the online flurry of cry babies, bitching about what problems I have in which the solutions are probably apparent to everyone but myself. If you've been following the blog since its start, I think that I mentioned early on that there are two Prime Directives, really. I've been hesitating to share a lot lately, leaning towards a tendency to hold on to the things that I fear releasing into the wild, afraid to lose control of the chemical reactions that I bring about by pouring one toxin out onto another. In the end, I want to feel like I can write about whatever is on my mind when I sit in front of the keyboard. Today the two mission statements I laid out are front and center. As a reaffirmation exercise I wanted to delve into them a little bit, sharing why it is that I feel so adamantly that I must do this. Reminding myself in some ways and forming a kind of contract with the readers.
1) Keep writing.
I write every day (just about) for at least an hour. I started forcing myself into this pattern more than a year ago and have taken very few breaks from the process since its inception. <---(I secretly hate that nobody can use the word inception any more without conjuring images of the DiCaprio movie from a few years back. I mean, the movie was aight, but not worth stealing such an elegant word from the mouths of every person ever for who knows how much longer- ammirite? This parenthetical will actually tie better into Prime Directive 2, which if it were a movie title would be Prime Directive the Second: Even Primey-er. And also I just have to say that the irony over using so much embedded, self referential material that spirals into itself and ties back to a mini-rant about Inception is kind of giving me Writer's Wood)
So "Keep Writing." Basically, it's the secret sauce to my writer cocktail. I may not be better than everyone else who is trying to do what I do, but I can promise that I am capable of working harder and more consistently than anyone else. It's part of my diagnosed compulsion, actually. The part that I hold on to like a security blanket because I think it makes me better. The part I probably need to learn how to turn on and off a little better. I haven't been going to therapy long, but pretty rapidly both doctors zeroed in on my overactive sense of responsibility- which is funny, because I consider myself to be a lazy person. Fact is, I'm incapable of really relaxing until all my work feels complete though, and while I don't really want to paraphrase my diagnosis, my work is never complete. I get so fixated on an idea or personal improvement that I am standing in the way of who I am right now... I think. If that makes sense. Moving on.
I have three novels that I would consider active right now: The nearest to completion is a grounded fantasy in the tune of Something Wicked This Way Comes inspired by trying to delve into the back story of the characters my fiancee and I created for Halloween last year (pictured below). I love it because it feels very romantic to me, not in the sexy kind of "Lay You Down by the Fire" sort of way- just a pure and honest look at magic and dolls and carnival workers. lol. Okay, not really, but that's enough on that for now.
The second closest to completion is a very dismal look into the future, not unlike Fahrenheit 451, wherein we take the little things for granted, become willing slaves to the great machine and stop fighting against evil- from the most benign and casual forms of evil to the in your face atrocities that we seem powerless to prevent today. I don't want to get into much more detail on that one, not important for the point I'm leading towards- basically the first book is fantasy, second is more science fiction if not a total bummer, which will likely be the tag line if it ever gets published.
And the third book is in its infancy still, but holds a special corner of my mind. Witch Slapped was a concept that my friend Jeff and I came up with while riffing on how we could make better shit than what's on TV, pitching outrageous and sometimes obscene pilots back and forth, building on the premises together in a classic attempt to make the other laugh a little harder. I not so secretly fell in love with one of our joke shows and nurtured it into a full fledged idea, the premise being that three young ladies who think they are witches are each put into a psych ward with a bunch of other delusional and disturbed women. Only, in the process, these three form a coven and turn out to actually have powers and what not. It starts out as Orange is the New Black with supernatural slants and ends up in a very comic book, fantasy adventure tone that I love a lot and own the domain name to thanks to my brother. (witchslapped.com) Right now it just links to our podcast site.
The long winded point I'm trying to make is that these books (and there are dozens more that I would classify as currently inactive), but these three being my main projects at the moment- they all tap into a unique feeling or emotion or state of being. I'm all over the map right now- if you couldn't tell by reading this. I need different outlets for different days and in order to KEEP WRITING (Prime Directive the First), I feel like it's a good thing to have a little variety to choose from. When I am not in the mood for any of the three afore mentioned projects, then I come to the blog. Since my panic attack and Medical Leave, however, I've been constipated with thought, trapped inside of my anxiety cycle and unable to breath any life into these big projects. This blog is where I go when I can't write about one of the things I am actively trying to finish in an effort to make sure I don't excuse myself from the duty I've committed to, so I've been spending more time here and less time working on what I wish I was working on. Prime Directive the First. Keep Writing. Unfortunately, as much fun and freedom as I've found in this activity, there is a certain amount of guilt associated with it because when I am here, I am not there. Which in turn is probably why it often houses the bitchy, whiny, sad sap crap that I often wish I wasn't publishing for everyone to see, but then there's #2.
2) Exorcise My Mind.
Not exercise. That's #1. This is about releasing my grip on the beasts that dwell inside my head. Giving them a corporeal form turns them into something I can actually fight.
As someone who suffers from a bonafide Anxiety Disorder, in which I cannot stop myself from worrying about the infinite pathways every potential choice I make births, which then spawns more paths and so on and so forth, turning Ouroboros real fast until I can't remember what started the spiral in the first place, I have a lot of little demons creeping around my head threatening to take me out of commission at any second. Before I really started seeking professional help for this problem, I realized that writing about these things gave them a physical place to live outside of my mind and I could evict the thoughts from the mental real estate they were holding- you know, pay them a little bit of attention and they go away as opposed to thinking so hard about trying not to think about them that they are all you are actually able to think about? This is where the name of my blog came from: "Can You Hold a Secret?"
The saying "You're only as sick as your secrets" was rattling around in my head at the time and I couldn't help but think about how much I was holding in that was making me absolutely sick- either for fear of sounding like a crazy person, or fear that it would change people's perceptions of me, out of fear that I really was a crazy person and this would let everyone know and then they'd lock me up forever, or for fear that I wasn't a crazy person and I was just a terrible writer who had nothing valuable to say, or out of fear that my loved ones would love me less, or out of fear that people would fiercely disagree and want to create conflict and argue over things that I said, or on and on and on.
Point being that fear was dictating a lot of my actions and as bat-shits as I might be, I would like to think that I have a reasonable and logical mind buried underneath all of the self-doubting rubble. I know well enough to know that I don't want to live a life steeped in fear. I would rather die feeling like I've thrown my all into what I believe in, what I feel my purpose is, rather than avoid the chance to fail at all by keeping everything in. You can see notes of this theme in the short story I published on here a few days back, titled "I Believe in Faeries." I believe that the truest form of bravery doesn't come from rushing into a situation blind to the consequences, but knowing full well that the consequences could and most likely will have negative repercussions and then the hero does it anyways because it is right. When I risk sounding like a tin foil hat wearing extreme-anarchist, it makes me feel brave and I like that feeling more than I like the feeling of holding it in.
Unfortunately for me, I have more mental demons to purge than I have time to dedicate towards writing them into a new home, but if you've enjoyed following along so far then I suppose that's good news for you!
Now I'll let you in on "Super Secret Initiative the 3rd."
When my first book is ready to be published, either by self or whatever- I'm not there yet- I want to have an audience ready. An army of supportive people. Friends, family, strangers, it doesn't matter. What matters to me is that if you know somebody who likes to read, who likes to support art, agrees with the types of themes I jump into or just someone who owes you a really big favor that you don't know what to do with- I ask that you and they follow my Blog. You don't have to read every post- but with hope and luck and lots of hard work, I will complete a book. And when I do, there's a good chance I'm going to need an army of people willing to push a link around the internet and make it known so that I can move on to book #2 and so on. Go ahead and treat this like a Fan Club! We can make a handshake and everything if you like. There's a button on the home page that'll make you a Follower. +1 me or whatever the fuck that is, because it'll help give me more exposure to random people who might enjoy reading along as well. And share. I can't stress it enough. The more people who are participating, the healthier I feel when all this shit gets dislodged from my head. Thank you in advance, feel free to comment or leave your suggestions in the box. Or follow my podcast's Twitter Account @uwgpod. I manage that account and you can share thoughts or feelings about whatever you want at that location. I'm all about dialogue.
Until next time Space Cowboys....