February 7th, 2013

crossed heart

the stretching out of wings, and then landing again

Originally published at Cassie Alexander. You can comment here or there.

So! First off — I passed my class. I can now be counted on to take care of someone in an emergency department if they come in with a gunshot, although if given a choice I’d rather not ;).

Secondly — I’m over my cold! Which is lovely.

Thirdly — I’m back, hard at work. And I’m happy about it. Let me explain…

At the end of Deadshifted, I went through a period where I was pretty grim about writing. The holidays are always hard on me (like they are on so many other people) and at the end there I was all, “Am I even having fun at this? Do I even enjoy it anymore? I mean, really.”

I was reallllly anxious about Moonshifted coming out, which was around that time. So much so that (even though it’s gotten great reviews, lalala) I didn’t enjoy myself, or the event, very much. Which has everything to do with me and how the inside of my head operates, and very little to do with the real world. (There was a point in time when I would have shivved someone who said things like that about the release of their book, and then gladly fed their corpse to the cogs of the publishing world. I realize this — and what follows — will sound weird to some people. It’s very different on the inside than it is on the outside, even if the only thing that’s changed is me.)

This quote sums it up best for me — it’s by David Foster Wallace who I’ve never read (but I got it off of John Green’s tumblr, heh.)

“The crux, for me, is how to love the reader without believing that my art or worth depends on his(her) loving me. It’s just about that simple in the abstract. In practice it’s a daily fucking war.”

That’s it. I’m writing for other people to read and enjoy. I care so deeply what other people think. And then I’m scared as fuck to find out about it, ha. I know, I know, I need to toughen up grasshopper, and all that. (Ironically, in the depths of my “Moonshifted is a failure” depression — which it isn’t, my head just isn’t right — I was writing the end of Deadshifted’s first draft, and I channeled all my (false? lame?) angst into a “fuck you world, I’m writing the hell out of this, and then you’ll see!” ending which is pretty spectacular. Is that what I need to motivate me? I hope not.)

So I was blue for awhile and I wound up taking a few days off — this was actually before I’d turned Deadshifted in, while I was up with my hospitalized-mom — and I didn’t work much. I just felt all existential and mopey. Then I told myself to have some damn fun…and so I started reading a book. Which struck a chord of irony in me. If I thought that reading was fun still — if I was turning to words when I was stressed out and scared — of course I still wanted to be writing. Of course.

Anyhow. I read some, I turned Deadshifted in on time, and I read some more and I turned some novella proposals, and I had my dream which led to me writing 30k in short order on a completely random project that I just felt like doing. It’s actually some of the best writing I’ve ever done — very in the moment and flowing. And what’s more, is I was doing it over reading, over web browsing, over anything else — I was eating, drinking, and breathing it.

Honestly, I was hoping I would magically finish it before this Friday — tomorrow, my birthday — or the 15th, because I figured I could take about a month off from Edie stuff. But with work and sick and having a life (which seems more important than ever to me, for my mental health), the 30k is all I’ve got — and I reached a point in it where it would need serious thinking to make it a reality, and longer than I have available to make it work.

I thought I’d be mad at myself for not accomplishing a possible-yet-still-pretty-absurd goal. But I’m not. Man I took the bit in my teeth and I wrote the hell out of that book. Writing felt fun again for me. It made me feel alive. I needed that, the pure stuff. By the time I got to the end of Deadshifted, I’d been looking forward to writing it’s ending scene for over a year. It was like turning 16 or 21 — the anticipation of it is always better than the actual occasion could ever possibly be. What I needed was the chance to write something raw and feel free again. Reborn. Brand new. It’s hard to capture that when you have to think three books ahead and constantly consider deadlines. But that’s what this interlude of charging across the pasture, or taking off — silly and time-wasting as it may seem — has given back to me.

Today I put that aside and I sat down to work on Bloodshifted for the first time. And it — it was fun again. Which was really, really, nice. I hope I can keep that feeling around, this time. Anyhow ;). I have the first line, and the last line and give or take five months to come up with everything in between — here we go :D. (Right after doing birthday things tomorrow ;))