Sunday, November 18, 2007


I'm more than halfway through the month, and I've only sat down with the novel three times, which is sort of sad. On the bright side, last night's writing binge was not only longer than I was expecting, but *better* than I was expecting. I don't think the prose quite hit some of the heights of style that I've managed in earlier chunks, but it was a good sight better than some of what I've done lately.

I finally took a break from it when I realized I had another 4-5 pages to go in that chapter, but wasn't quite sure yet where to take it.

I do fear this thing is going to need some serious editing when it's done. I have a suspicion that there's a bunch of stuff that contradicts other stuff in the novel, thanks in part to taking lengthy breaks from it, and suddenly deciding a new direction to go with a certain idea (and forgetting a direction I already went with it).

It's also easy to forget that the whole thing is taking place over a terribly short period of time (though, towards the end of the novel, the amount of time that actually passes gets a little fuzzy, as the narrator is too tired to even keep track of that information).

It's way more than possible I could still have this thing done by month's end if I focus and keep at the daily updates to it. I don't know how likely that is, but it would be nice to finally have this beast done. It's going to a bit more than a year since I started it, so I guess that's turning into the norm (that's about what it took for me to finish "Waiting for a Miracle" between when I started it in Nano, and when I finished it the following August). And I guess in the grand scheme of things, a year isn't too bad to write a novel, though we're also talking about a year just for one draft.

Though, on top of finishing this, two to three plays, and an edit job on the previous novel, I now have the idea for a Christmas present project I need to spend some time on before too much time passes, or run the risk of never getting it done.


In other positive news, there's only five more posts until I hit the big 500th post here on the blog, so that seems a likely accomplishment for 2007.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Commitment to booze

I caught an advance performance of the Williams Lake Studio Theatre's production of "Educating Rita" last night (technically their dress rehearsal, but it was a solid show), and wrote a positive review of the show for the paper this week. The performances were good, the stage was spectacularly designed, and the lighting did its job of subtly moving us through the transitions from scene to scene.

But one thing I noticed -- and this was just a personal observation -- that didn't make its way into my review was just how jealous I was of Frank's character in the play. Specifically, how jealous I was of his commitment to booze.

Here was a man who was downing glasses of scotch even while working with his student. A man who planned to head off to the pub after the teaching session for a few pints of Guinness, hopefully to elevate his scotch-buzz to something greater. A man who stumbled his way through a lesson while completely shitfaced.

I'm totally jealous of that commitment.

Because if you're going to do something, seriously, do it all the way.

I sometimes feel like I'm not committed enough to my attempts at self-destructive drinking. I've never down even an ounce in the morning in order to clear out the shakes. I've never turned to booze to get me through my workday, and I've sure never gone to work shitfaced.

All of these should seem like positive things, and they would be, if I was just firmly on the other side of the fence -- the side where people drink socially, with a comfortable frequency, and without bordering on a problem zone. But I'm not comfortable on that side of the fence. I'm sitting right on top of the fence, more than happy to drink enough to be well outside of the social category, but unwilling to take the dive to the *other* side of the fence.

Unwilling to do it all the way.

Unwilling to commit.

A funny thing to complain about, to be sure, and I can't even say it's really a complaint. If anything, it's merely an observation of my own lifestyle, and my own limitations. And my unwillingness to really dive headlong into my own attempts at self-destruction.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I'm not well. This, I'm sure, wouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has known me for any length of time.

Sure, I have periods -- sometimes long periods, sometimes short -- when I *am* well. When my mood is just fine, when I seem able to at least function in the world, when life seems to be more than just a chore.

But, inevitably, those periods are temporary. Eventually I find myself falling down into a deep, dark, bleak pit, where the surface seems so far away that escape seems to be a hopeless dream.

And, inevitably, the more times you fall down into a pit like that, the harder it becomes to climb back out again.

It's a bit like making the bed, something I've always had trouble with. What's the point, I tend to ask myself, when I'm just going to climb back into it again and mess it all up?

And so it goes with the hole. What the point in climbing back out if I'm just going to fall back down into it again eventually anyway? And this leads to questions like, why bother with anything at all if our existence here on this earth is so temporary and so ultimately meaningless? And this, of course, is never a good frame of mind to be in.

More often than not I place the blame on the world around me. I feel sometimes like I'm not built to properly function in this world. Any and everything that I love or care about eventually becomes tainted with something, whether its people or employment or hobbies. Eventually everything loses whatever it was that made it special to me in the first place, and I'm left surrounded with dusty fragments of things that used be significant.

And for this, I blame the world, because it's easier to do that than to blame myself. Easier to blame billions of people than it is to look in the mirror and think that maybe there's something wrong with *me*.

But today I had that moment. A moment when I had to realize that maybe the problem *was* mine and not, after all, the world's. Maybe it's not the world that's broken -- maybe the world is just fine -- maybe it's something in my head, in my wiring, in my chemistry, that's wrong.

Hooboy, that would be a problem.

I was on antidepressants a few years ago. For anxiety, not for depression, but the effect the drugs had was the same. I felt better. I felt less anxious. I felt less depressed. For the six months I was on them, I was OKAY.

But I talked to some friends afterwards, after I had been off them for a few months, and I heard something odd from them. How I wasn't me.

Is this something more than just the realization that unless I'm a periodically miserable person, then I don't really seem like myself? Did these drugs make more significant changes to my psychology than just improving my mood?

And even if they didn't, maybe that one change is significant enough?

Who am I? What defines me as a person? If it's not my mindset, my hopes and dreams, my fears, then what is that defines me?

And if it is those things, then what happens to me when I start popping a pill to try to fix those things that seem to be broken? If those things define me, then who do I become when those things are replaced with something else?

This is why I've been wary of medication since my brief experience with anti-depressants. This is why I've avoided them like the plague, even during times when they probably would have done me some good. Times like now.

It's not a question with an easy answer. It's probably not a question with any answer at all. Just two different choices, neither of them right, neither of them wrong. Just two different choices, each with their own set of consequences, and no way to know which to choose.

The path of least resistance will likely prove to be the path I take. It always is. If I'm going to run the risk of feeling like this anyway, I might as well make sure the path I'm on makes for an easy stroll.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Disgusting, but mostly true.

If you throw a handful of peanuts in your mouth, and chew on them for a long time without swallowing, you can almost make peanut butter. Right there in your mouth.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

News: November, no nano.

So here it is November again, and for the second year in a row, I have no official National Novel Writing Month novel in progress.

Last year it was because I already had a novel on the go -- one that I had started in the summer, the first novel in years that I had fired up *not* as part of national novel writing month. And this year...well, the novel I was working on this time last year is, in fact, still being worked on. Plus there's another novel (2004's NaNo novel) which I'm in the midst of editing, and there's a one act play about suicide, loneliness, and isolation that I just started working on a few weeks back.

So, while I have no officially NaNo novel, I do have work to do. I just need to start, you know, doing the work.

My plan was to use National Novel Writing Month as the excuse I needed to get off my ass and get back to work on at least one of these projects, maybe even more than one. I know it's still the beginning of the month, but I've already been slack on that. November 1 through 3 slid by without an ounce of work being done, and while I did dust off the novel to do somewhere around 1000 to 1200 words tonight, they were sadly uninspired. I knew where I was trying to go with it, but it just never quite got there. There were words on the page, but they were missing the fire underneath them that has been such a signature for this novel.

Okay, I guess you can't be "On" all the time. And I suppose, to some degree, I was probably playing catchup with a storyline I haven't spent much time thinking about in these last few months.

So maybe all isn't lost.

Although it'd be a lot easier to get motivated to write if Guitar Hero 3 didn't just come out a few days ago.