Wednesday, June 18, 2014

From One World To Another

After being deeply engrossed in your art for even one day, and having to interact in a social capacity the next, do you ever feel as though your only options are to be either a fun drunk or a sober train wreck? Do you think this post is intended to offer secret Option C? Lol.

If you discovered that a fountain from another dimension lay buried ten yards beneath you, and every shovel scoop brought you a potent taste of its brimming waters that promised a greater reward the deeper you delved, could you go out and be even halfheartedly invested in anything else? Could you report to work and show sincere care for your accumulating duties? Could you perform them effectively without succumbing to a debilitating pull towards what you really ought to be doing?

And, after you unearthed this divine vessel, finding it contained the truest parts of yourself, what if those with whom you tried to share it saw only the dirt and grime in which you bathed to find it? What if you offered it like a cup from which to drink, and instead they asked you to spare a buck twenty-five for the vending machine?

I could never write my book on Sunday and go to work on Monday. The more energy I funneled into the world I created, giving flesh and form to characters whom I had to be in order to write, there was nothing but a shadow left of the guy who clocks in at 6:00 AM and does what he's told.

Like in some Star Trek episode (which undoubtedly exists) I found myself eviscerated on a molecular level if I tried to extend one foot into my creative realm and the other somewhere else. Each phase required a transitional period of isolation and even detox before I could make that full leap, occupying them separately for months at a time.

For instance: one of your central characters has finally reached his climactic breakthrough that you lovingly envisioned for years, only, every day you thought about it there were still hundreds of stair steps of character and plot development ahead, until now. Now, you've reached the summit of that climb with him, and it's even more breathtaking than you could have imagined, because in this moment you're more a witness than an orchestrator.

How do you take that to a cocktail party? How do you chime in about the state of the economy while still buzzing with that wild electricity? How do you not cringe like someone's serving stuffed roadkill when asked how come you haven't devoted yourself to a permanent day job?

What about all you creative types out there? Do you struggle with having to constantly negotiate this kind of rift? Are we just junkies with better teeth and a tad more self control, waiting for that high in the real world that parallels what we induce on our own?

2 comments:

  1. Lol, love that last bit - "Are we just junkies with better teeth and a tad more self control..." YES!
    With both my books, there came a point where I was completely overwhelmed and unable to function outside the black hole I found myself in. It's interesting to hear you talk about this part of your creative process with very idyllic, uplifting descriptions and metaphors. For me, it's more of a manic need to purge the monster inside. There was no way I could have a work, life, write balance when I felt like I was being poisoned by it. For both books, I had to become a recluse. I took time off work and dodged out of any social function I could. I didn't sleep, didn't eat, and pretty much didn't leave the dining room table. Needless to say, it's a good thing I write pretty fast, and I was a wreck when I was done. I felt like I needed rehab back out into society. Still adjusting to life without a project to work on lol. And it's so very difficult returning to the mainstream with that "wild electricity." No one but a writer can possibly understand how a book changes you, and you come back having had almost a relgious experience.

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  2. For me, I try to write as much as I can in the time that I can write. I'm not at all bothered by balancing my writing and my work life. It really just comes down to when I'm the mood. When I'm really in the mood, I start writing more fluidly than when I'm not in the mood, and the story is put into a nicer flow that way. Of course, there are times, when I feel like I'm getting close to the ending, I get impatient and want to reach the ending as fast as possible. But there's also a side of me that wants to add so much more to the story.

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