Here we are.

Here I am, over a year later.

I  haven’t written much, I’ve been busy pretending to do other things. Last year’s NaNoWriMo was enough to convince me I should never write again, which I’m pretty certain is the complete opposite of what it’s supposed to do.

I get it: you’re supposed to throw trash on the page, it’s just about the doing, it’s not about the content. But still. I couldn’t separate myself from the judgment. I had maybe a few days of feeling excited, proud, but then when I looked back (you should never look back) my heart completely sank. I hated what I wrote.

Here I am again, and I don’t know what to write anymore. My own stories are weighted down in my mind and heart by the stories of the world, the pressing, soggy, tragic, sharp stories that are rushing like water from a broken dam through our news feeds, through our conversations, through our psyches, through our dreams.

I love reading, and I love journalism. It’s really hard to separate myself from the news, from the articles, from the reading, reading, always reading. Almost every conversation I have now with peers either starts with or shortly after its beginning uses the phrase “I was reading this article…” It’s become how we relate to one another. And it’s not horrible, because there is so much good writing out there right now, and I’m happy to hear people say they’re reading. But when the reading isn’t making us happy, I’m not sure what we should do.

Staying informed is important. Flexing critical thinking skills, questioning what information we’re receiving and where it’s coming from and whose agenda spawned it is even more important. It sets the precedent for how we perceive the entire world. Information is the theme of this election, of the last 10 years, of our generation. Our lives and the world are completely saturated with the stuff but it feels like our brains and bodies are struggling to catch up with the rate of input they’re experiencing. You know how screen sickness is a thing many people experience? I think information sickness is a thing, too. After days of gorging myself on news, features, op-eds, the world is ending, my body is aching and exhausted and my heart is heavy. I don’t want to leave the house, why would I, when everything out there is so horrible?

We are still learning what effects information overload has on us. We know, for example, watching the news on TV can cause anxiety because it’s mostly fear-mongering bullshit, but with this surge of fake news/propaganda that may partially have steered our election comes a parallel surge of wonderful and honest journalism. Anyone can tell their story. We get to hear directly from the mouths and fingertips of those people most deeply affected by the issues that make us nervous and closed off instead of speculating about what they may be going through. The honest news, though, is still not necessarily positive. Many times it reflects the true pain of the people who write and create it. Just because it is more honest does not mean that it’s going to affect us as consumers any less significantly.

While the essentiality of critical thinking in a time of information is apparent, what’s not as clear and what I’m currently struggling with is feeling like it’s ok to shut off the honest and courageous voices as well. There’s an anxiety that I’m sure many of us share that by shutting down or turning off we will miss something very, very important. That to remain politically active and aware we need all the facts, all the perspectives, all the stories. That if we miss something we will no longer be thinking critically, and will no longer have credible opinions and voices about what we think we believe. That we will make fools of ourselves.

It’s more than compassion fatigue, this thing I’m trying half-heartedly to express through writing because the other half is sunk deep in the cement of today’s atrocities. It feels like survival. It feels like our very ability to be intelligent humans is at stake, a true threat to our impression that we are autonomous beings. Like if we don’t keep fending off false information it will invade our bodies and obscure our sight until we can no longer tell what’s real, and that includes our selves. It feels existential. It’s an egocentric battle, based on maintaining some false sense of independence from one another, but how can it not be when we’re being told from every angle that we are in danger?

My goal this winter is to shut off. When I was younger I could do this. I didn’t understand as much the gravity of what we’re shutting off from when we choose to go off the grid. I can’t write when my mind is clouded like this, and all I want to do is write again.

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Things I don’t remember writing: Part 1

When she puts feet to sand the cold shoots through her teeth. This is not sand. This is snow. The snow sits heavier than other snows, and like the bored bits of glass that have resigned themselves to being pushed around by the persistent tide it makes patterns out of itself, doodling in margins, la la la, I can’t hear you, untouchable to the abuse.

The snow steals her footprints as she walks, sandals in one hand, the other tense and braced against the frigid air. She thinks she hears the sound of the ocean but this ocean does not move. It is frozen at the first point of a wave’s fall.

In the moments before she orgasms, she laments the brevity of the stupid thing and tells herself before it even happens that it will not be enough, that she will want this again, that she needs more. In the final moments of ecstasy she mourns impending death, as she loudly tells the newlyweds which one of them will first be without the other.

After it’s over, she rarely still wants it.

She pours herself more than what she wants and she drinks it all anyway.

Directions for this Blog

It’s been a big move for me to start writing semi-regularly in a blog. Sometimes, though, I think I write myself into a corner by divulging really personal, inner thoughts and feelings, and then as a result feeling that I can’t share anything about my outer self for fear of being identified or judged.

Originally, I wanted a place I could post actual, long-form writing, whether it was excerpts from something I am working on, or essays that I want to write but don’t otherwise have the platform on which to do so, but I think this page is lacking a lot. I tend to ramble, and I recognize that not a lot of people are very interested by rambles about depression and inner workings of a person who they don’t know and can’t really get to know. Part of the reason those lifestyle blogs really work well and have large readerships is that, I think, they are ways of getting to know a person through accessible means.

I’m trying to figure out a way to incorporate some more public-facing aspects of my life into this blog, to flesh it out and give it more dimension, without it being shallow or overly exposing. Looking through other writers’ blogs is a good way to do this, I realize. Playing with layout and adding more images is another one. Maybe narrowing my focus in terms of themes and topics is a good idea too. Ultimately, I want to maintain the courage to write honestly about some of the difficult topics in my life, but I don’t want to bore or scare away potential readers.

Off to browse blogs.

I Finished NaNoWriMo

and I am going to call my book “Depression can Suck it” because I am depressed as shit and I still wrote a novel in 28 days.

It’s a meandering, nonsensical story and I didn’t even get around to the main event, so if I were to keep writing it would become much longer, but even if the plot sucks some of the writing isn’t too shabby if I do say so myself. And most importantly, I hit 50,000 god damn words tonight and I am closing my computer for now to finally take a shower.

Edited to add before my shower: I also dropped out of grad school right before I started this, so it has a lot of meaning for me. I proved I can still reach a goal or two without being in an MFA program, and it’s helping me forgive myself for a decision I know was right, but that I still have guilt about anyways. Suck it, guilt.

Here I am, stressing about how bad I think my story is, and how I should’ve outlined the plot instead of just making it up as I go along, and I keep forgetting that I’ve never written this many pages of one piece before*.

Even if I don’t hit the NaNoWriMo goal, it will still have been a personal record. And even if the story is bad, and makes no sense, it’s still something to remember: that I’ve never committed to a single story like I have this month.

*coffee in the morning and wine at night

If all of our souls met at a bar, today my soul would be the one in the corner seat waiting its turn to ask for a shot of the strongest whatever you’ve got. My soul would be eyeing your soul’s aromatic elixir, and the beautiful way the absinthe makes your translucence glow a pale gray green, like the way the ocean looks up north where it’s cold and uninviting and the froth of sea blends into the fog. That’s the way my soul likes the ocean best.

I would like water, your soul would say to the bartender, and I would, like water, spill you onto the floor and lap you up if I hadn’t come here already attached. Instead, my soul would be murmuring to the beast that holds it between tenacious jaws, asking if she wants brandy, or whisky, or something else completely, darling, it’s all on me, just please, please loosen up a bit, you’re killing me.

Insecure Writers Support Group #3

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I dropped the ball on this month’s IWSG, but I promise I have moderately decent excuses. First of all, it was my birthday. Second of all, I was at Disneyland, and if there’s one thing I take seriously it’s Disneyland. I’m what you might call insufferable when I get the chance to go, and my poor boyfriend had to witness me at full Disney force. I practically dragged him through the park, and he was an amazing sport and didn’t complain once while I navigated us at full speed, charging through crowds and dodging strollers to make sure we made the most of our one day there. And I must say, we did it. We managed to do and see everything I had hoped to see, and had a fantastic time in the process. He even created this amazing scavenger hunt for me that started the day before, when we drove down, that led me to surprises throughout the park, then culminated after our day was done. It was really special, and I don’t know if I’ve ever had such a wonderful day on my birthday. (I want to describe it further, but I might do that in another post.) What fell the wayside during our 5 days in LA, though, was naturally my writing. Funny that it’s the first thing I always let drop when things get busy, but I’m positive I’m not the only writing-person (using “writer” today feels undeserved) who has that problem.

I have one foot in NaNoWriMo and one foot out, and while I haven’t networked or outlined or posted anything on social media I was hoping to participate anyway. And I was good at it, for a few days before we went down south. Luckily for me, I’m recently unemployed and a grad school dropout (winning combo, I know) so I’ve got plenty of time on my hands to catch up on what I missed. It’s been a busy week or so: just before Halloween, I dragged my boyfriend to my cousin’s Napa wedding for two nights. With all these fun(ish…the wedding was more obligatory) trips and events I haven’t really sat down to focus on my next step. I’ve applied for a few gigs in immersive arts, but nothing so secure that I’d be set financially even if I did get them. They’re more the pursuing-your-dreams, less the pursuing your future finances or ways-to-get-your-family-to-approve-of-you type things. I’m wishy washy and have a hard time committing to one path, and a harder time finishing what I start. Which is why it’s hard, right now, to convince myself that NaNoWriMo is worth my time when I have some pretty big obstacles in front of me, mainly getting a job and figuring out which grad schools I might want to apply to for next year.

Losing my job, which also functioned as much more and dropping out of school in the same week was really hard. I was already depressed before, but I’ve slunk into a pretty rough state as of late. I’m really hoping that working on this novel, or whatever the hell kind of thing this is because it’s turning out to be very, very strange, will help me feel like I have some purpose, or even just offer an escape for the time being. Hell, I’d almost rather take the escape. And going back to the past week, I am still a little weirded out at how much of a 180 I did as soon as I got a day at Disneyland. I just turned 26, not 5, and while I understand there are Disney freaks of all ages, I always thought I was way too much of a cynical nihilist to be one. But my boyfriend saw it, and it was real: the depression I’ve been battling, the anxiety and the bodily fatigue that makes it difficult to get out of bed or do anything, it was all alleviated for that one day. I felt like a powerhouse. Now, as someone who tries to be socially conscious and understands how fucked up the Disney mentality is, I feel kind of ashamed of this. I grew up in a wealthy suburb where perfection and blindness go hand in hand, so I know better. But still, god damnit, going back to Disneyland made me feel great for one day. I even got a free birthday churro. So thanks, Disneyland, and thanks, sweet, wonderful Boyfriend, but now I must go back into my writing cave of obsession and anguish as I catch up on all that I’ve missed.