I Did It Sort Of
Yes, it did indeed take me until today, Friday, to get in touch with one of the psychologists recommended to me by the first psychologist I got in touch with who wasn’t able to see me because they didn’t have any free appointments – but hey, at least I fucking did it, right?
Now to wait and see. I like to think I’m more prepared for a range of potential responses that normal human minds would be able to process and deal with, such as this psychologist also being too busy to see me, perhaps having to wait a bit longer for a response than I might hope – I think I’d even be able to handle it if, somehow, the email that I sent through the psychologist website I used to specifically get in touch with this particular psychologist gets sent to the wrong person and I have to start all over again. I’m feeling that robust.
I really need to see a psychologist.
And hey, I’m heading in that direction. I keep forgetting that emails exist; I keep thinking that getting in touch with a psychologist means having to use the phone, whether it’s because my panic response to an anxiety-inducing hypothetical situation is to frame it in as confrontational and anxiety-inducing terms as my mind possibly can, or because I have some sort of self-sabotaging compulsion to “prove myself” by doing things in the most difficult way possible so that it’s less likely that I’ll actually do it. But, regardless, the email has been sent, and …
I’ve done absolutely fucking nothing this week.
Well, some reading. I’m wrapping up my Anita Blake read, and after trying to write out my thoughts on the series up to this point (I’m almost done with book 9, the last “good” book according to many fans of the series) I realised that, actually, the problematic elements in the series are more than I want to stomach. I can stomach them, I just don’t want to anymore. I’ve also realised, much to my shame, that if this was a series written by a man, I would have given up after the first book for these particular problematic elements. Bloody Bones was more gritty than edgy, and I appreciated that – but from that point on, everything “dark” that has happened has fallen much more on the “edgy” side of things, and I am not about that. Also if I have to read about how a dark-skinned person looks “ethnic” one more fucking time …
Well, I don’t, and won’t, after this book, at least not in any series written by this particular author. But perhaps because of this, and perhaps because of taking this week off to chill and maybe doing more personal reflection than I’d thought, I’ve decided to try branching out in my reading again …
By looking into Dragonlance.
Full disclosure: I have in fact read the Dragonlance: Legends trilogy, way back in the day, and … well, I read the whole trilogy. This was back when I actually sought out high fantasy to read; that and it was all that my at-the-time-best-friend was reading, he had the books at his place, so I read them when he was done with them. I read not 1 but 2 full David Eddings sagas that way, too.
The reason I’m going back is not because I feel like high fantasy (especially high fantasy from 30 years ago) is somehow more … progressive, I guess, than the urban fantasy that gives me moral headaches every time I commit myself to reading it. It’s just because, goddammit, the potential of high fantasy is so great, and maybe there’s something in there that’ll inspire me to want to put things right, take the good and leave the bad … maybe it’ll actually make me want to write something.
Also because I could just use a change of pace. Sadly, my library doesn’t have the third book of the original Dragonlance trilogy, so I’ve just requested Autumn Twilight to start with. If that goes well … well, I’ll see if it goes well. I’m also subtly trying to get myself in the mood to finally pick up The Name of the Wind, which I have borrowed from the library twice and read neither time. Everyone says it’s really good, and it seems like it might even be good in a way that I’d agree with. But D&D seems like a natural gateway high fantasy book for me to ease myself back into the genre with, given my love of playing the game over the past year or so. Also my potential D&D-inspired book series that I still don’t feel up to writing; perhaps Dragonlance will shine a light on that problem for me and help in finding a solution.
Also I just got a reply to my email and it looks like I might have an appointment I am going to scream internally for a moment please hold …
More work on the co-writing project … and this upcoming week I need to get back into gear.
At the time of writing I am still awaiting confirmation that my psychologist appointment is a-go; at the time of writing I am pretty confident that it will be, and maybe if I’d emailed on Thursday instead of Friday I might not have set myself up to wait for a whole 2 extra days before getting confirmation. But oh well, live and learn.
This week has been boring as shit, by the way. The plan was to watch a bunch of Netflix and play some games and just kind of do things that help me to chill out; I did some reading, which is better than either of those things in terms of just chilling out, and I’m glad that I did. I’m also continuing with my Witcher 3 NG+ playthrough, in which I make all (or many) of the decisions I didn’t make in my first playthrough. I think that means I’m evil in this NG+, but hey, that’s what games are for.
But taking this week off has given me some distance from the weekly grind that I’ve set up for myself over the past year-and-a-quarter, and I achieved my one goal: to get in touch with a psychologist. So that’s a success for me. Not just in terms of making the appointment, but in terms of what I’m doing going forward. Mark and Jessie is now a writing project more so than a revision project; Wolf Gang is now my revision-plan focus and, armed with my Anita Blake reading experience, I feel that if I put the brainpower in I can crack the code of writing pulp without it also being gross; my totally-not-a-Suicide-Squad-fixfic project remains impenetrable but I did make some headway a couple of weeks ago …
You know, it’s hard not having my Metamorphoses of the Werewolf to look forward to reading. I almost feel like just going back and reading it again. Sort of like how after playing Hollow Knight I immediately wanted to play it again just to re-experience the initial wonder and fascination and enthusiasm that I had for it. Also, werewolf lore is really interesting and I want more of it. I do have another werewolf book to read, and I guess I should be disciplined and just read that this Thursday, but man I want Metamorphoses back. I just want to not be finished reading it yet.
But maybe this is a sign that I need to be doing more, where I can, to push out of my comfort zone. I think this week has been proof that my comfort zone is pretty fucking dull – or that my actual comfort zone is a bit less comfortable than this week has been. I’m starting to see how a lot of my difficulties with writing, especially taking on new projects, comes from just wanting something familiar and safe and predictable to fall back on, and a really irrational fear of losing it if I stray too far from it. I wonder if that’s what my perfectionism is: a mask for my anxiety to operate under the cover of, and so when I’m reluctant to take on a new writing project (or a new anything) because I’m afraid I’ll fuck it up, it’s really just wanting an excuse to not extend beyond what I’m comfortable with.
What do I even need a psychologist for?
This next week, I am going to spend some time reflecting. I think I did this last year as well, just spent a weekend taking stock of my projects and getting really honest about what was and wasn’t working. I think I need that for my current projects. I need a retrospective on my entire writing career and habits; I need to game the weird, maladaptive systems that I operate on, figure out where things go wrong and brainstorm some solutions.
And do some writing, because yeah, it’s been too long. Just stuff. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s something I feel like writing. I used to do that, and it worked out, like 14 years ago. I pursued writing and the ideas that I had because they interested me, when they interested me. And it worked.
Maybe I need a little less retrospection, on second thought.
But I do need to write.