I’m not sure what the longest I’ve gone on this blog between posts is, but five days is probably up there.
I did one productive thing this week and I’m very proud of it: I made myself wake up – as in get out of bed and stay there – at 1pm today, as opposed to the 2:30-3:30pm bracket I’ve been occupying for the past, I dunno, month or so. It felt good to do. I’m gonna do it again.
I’ve gotten really bad at sleeping. Who would have thought sleeping was a skill? Apparently it is, and it’s one I don’t really have. But if it’s a skill, I can get better at it, right?
Writing Things has not been happening, and I do think this hiatus is now an official Thing as opposed to merely constituting a part of my vague end-of-year epiphany drive. I wanted to read one of my old stories – Christmas-themed – because it’s one of the only stories I’ve written through a full first draft of, revisit it and see what I think some 6 years on. That Great Story that’s been telling me it wants to be written is still kicking around, not revealing itself except through its effects on my emotional state, making me feel like something’s missing while not knowing what the hell that missing thing is. I hate my brain sometimes.
But I’ve been exploring options. Last night I stumbled upon a random and quickly-forgotten idea I had last year that sparked my intrigue, and then that idea led on to others, my eternal attempt to recreate the sense of all-consuming belonging and desire to belong that the Harry Potter series still holds over me, although I think perhaps if I managed to get through it all again now the effect may have lessened as my arts student skepticism has grown.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want that feeling anymore, though. And I think maybe that’s actually a piece to the puzzle of this Great Story I can’t seem to get a handle on; just as I more or less shoehorned myself into Being A Writer from age 13, I’ve had this unofficial but very consuming side-agenda of trumping Harry Potter’s wish-fulfilling coup with my own work. I want to be able to do it for myself rather than have somebody else do it for me; I want to fulfill my own damn wishes. And perhaps the fact that I haven’t stopped pursuing this goal of, essentially, trying to find a really good disguise for some hardcore fixfic action, is what’s keeping me from seeing my own stories clearly, and why I don’t have the energy needed to bring them to life.
I definitely think that I’m running up against a wall as to what constitutes my voice, my style, my kind of stories. So much of it is devoted to these kinds of ambitious but hypothetical passion projects of taking something that had a huge, positive, lingering impact on me and trying to one-up it, usurp its place in my heart with something of my own making just to prove that I am beholden to nobody or, I dunno, something. It’s not particularly clear to me, though being still in the process of emerging from a decade-long stupor of cripplingly low self-esteem and automatic deference to the agendas of others, I suppose it’s probably that I’m still in the process of trying to regain balance. You think you’ll have an effect on me, external stimuli? Well guess the fuck again! It’s all me around here, see? From the window to the wall, oh no not this song that’s not mine I can make a better song I’ll have two fucking windows YOU HEAR ME YOU GODDAMN HACK TWO FUCKING WINDOWS AH-AH-AH WHAT SAY YOU NOW
And in the meantime, what internal stimuli I do have is being diverted outwards towards these remixing projects; the passions and beliefs and values that I have and that are ready to be used for fuel for my own stories are getting more and more diverted. Tallulah – looking at it now, even only having been on a break from it for a month, it just seems less and less like something I can write, at least in the form I feel it should be. But that’s got the same problem as every other story I have nowadays: there’s a leak somewhere, and precious fuel is being diverted into another engine, one dedicated to Putting Things Right. It’s my Justice Machine I guess; I see a lot of problems with stories I engage with and, like a good arts student, wish to de-problematise them. But I also am pretty sickened by the thought that my storytelling has become so co-opted by my critic’s ideology. I think you have to be critical to be creative, never mind a moral person, but there’s a difference between being critical and being a critic. A critic is like a writer: one small piece of what could make up a person taken and magnified to disproportionate levels, blotting out all other possibilities and narrowing the world into its specific, specialised spectrum.
I want to get to the stuff I like. And that’s not new. I’ve just uncovered another layer, seen how much deeper there is to dig before I hit – well, I don’t know. Something I’m looking for, which I’ll only know when I find it.
So yeah, things are pretty vague at the moment. “Things” being “specific goals”. But the journey is clear enough. And I guess that’s what counts.
But I do think if I can learn to appreciate what the stories I love have done for me and not feel like I have to remain in them or reinvent them for a new age, I’ll be two steps further along.