Month: November 2016

My Back Reminds Me to Be Better

Today I had two new ideas. Well, maybe one and a half; the half was remembering an idea I had a while ago that I liked, foolishly didn’t write down, and completely forgot.

The other idea I’ll be writing up maybe tomorrow and some this week if all goes well. I can ill afford to offend my recalcitrant muse, to whom I’ve recently extended a cordial invitation to return and make fertile once more the fallow fields of my creative mind.

Though, in all honesty, it looks more like me prostrate before her, begging through my tears and snot for her to flush out my constipated mind with her enema-like presence. Because that’s how I envision my writing life right now, a case of glaciated mental constipation.

I have had slow improvement over this half-month of NaNoWriMo. I gave up the idea of writing a novel during the month, opting instead to take any words that come to me and put them down without keeping to just the novel. I’m hopping around between it, plus some bits and pieces of another novel and a short story or two.

That slow improvement came to an awful halt on Tuesday. While at the gym taking part in a group training class called Special Forces, I did a deadlift and knew immediately I had fucked up.

A Short History of My Back

You see, eight years ago I hurt my back very badly at the gym, causing a bulging disk between my L4 and L5 lower back spine thingies. At the time, I was in incredible shape. I would do 50 minutes of indoor bike spin class in the morning, and then do as much as two hours of hardcore weightlifting.

This is what you do when at 38 your seven year relationship suddenly ends; you turn yourself into bait while you still have a few years left.

After I hurt my back, all my hard work began collapsing. I couldn’t workout like I used to—not even close—I couldn’t snowboard anymore, and I was in constant pain, 24/7/365. Sometimes I could barely walk it hurt so badly. The fixes didn’t fix much it seemed at the time (including a twice-performed procedure where they drive a very long needle into my spine and inject some sort of steroid). I had resigned myself to living in pain for the rest of my life.

And then about a year ago, the pain went away, mostly because I got a new mattress, and that’s a story for another day. The pain had been slowly poisoning me as a person, making me bitter, short-tempered, and antisocial. But the relief I felt…I can’t even begin to tell you. What a reprieve!

And Then I Fucked It Up Again

…Or so I afraid. I left Special Forces when I felt the sickening the pinch in my back, and for the next few days it got progressively more painful, until I could barely get out of bed.

But today, mercifully, the pain has abated for the most part. It’s not perfect, but I am confident it will get back to where I was last week, pain-free and able to function again.

So, for much of this week I haven’t done much writing. A little bit, but not anywhere near what I’d planned. But that’s ok, because I’m not walking with my hips canted out to one side in a tortured S shape because of pain.

This was a reminder for me to appreciate where I am and the state of my life. I have nothing to complain about, really, and when I inevitably do it anyway, I just need to remember that pain and the horrible notion that I could have had that pain forever—so quit your bitching and write something while you can.


Can You Kill Your Creativity?

You know the saying, “use it or lose it?” I worry that applies to a person’s creativity. I worry it applies to me.

I went through a long period of not writing—at least not writing my own stories, producing work original to me. I wrote for companies, everything from web content to newsletters to promotional articles to press releases. And some of it was creative work, like stories. But the creative stuff was always using some property the company owned, and it was a bit like paid fanfic. I enjoyed the work, enjoyed making a living on it all, and numbed the nagging twitch in the back of my writer-brain by telling myself, “Hey, it’s still all writing.”

But, it’s not the same. Eventually, I numbed that twitch right into a coma, not realizing that the twitch was my own creativity. And when it went under finally and didn’t twitch anymore, I ignored the silence. “I’m still writing. It’s all going to be ok. Still writing….” But that writing was now starting to suffer. Even while numbed my creativity had been desperately gasping through the mannequin prose of press releases and promo copy, making it a little better than it deserved to be, but when it couldn’t get enough air to keep it conscious any longer, it began dying.

Saying my creativity went into a coma is me avoiding a horrible truth, because the reality is that it wasn’t just sleeping in a coma—it was dying. And the parts that died I was never going to get back.

So, here I am in NaNoWriMo, resuscitating that part of me, frantically forcing in the oxygen of attention I foolishly deprived it of for so, so long, hoping it’ll wake up and be like it used to be, back when it vibrated with ideas and exchanged those for the exercise of my attention.

I know it won’t be like it used to be, but I think there’s enough left to build on, to build up something that’ll be different. Maybe it’ll be almost as good as it might have been, had I not tried to suffocate it with neglect.

Total NaNoWriMo words right now: 9,375.

Beginning with Day 3 of NaNoWriMo

What better place to start than the third day of something? I started NaNoWriMo on time, November 1, but I only just decided to start keeping a blog about it today. This decision came primarily because I missed doing any writing on Day 2, so I’m way behind already. I’m looking for this post writing to be a gentle slide back into the real writing work when it feels like that work is going to be really gummy—like today.

This site is not set up yet even; it’s just using an uncustomized template for the moment. It grates to see it, but I’ll stomach it for now. In the past, this would have been a writing distraction, something I’d divert to working on instead of writing, somehow rationalizing that the empty website’s design was more important that writing. You can always do the writing later, right?

You can tell yourself that for a long, long time. I’ve been telling myself I’ll do the writing later for twenty years now, and it finally has to stop.

Here’s me stopping it.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén