The Autumn of My Discontent, Revised

Autumn Leaves

Addendum: For the first time, I’m revising one of my blog posts. It struck me a few hours after writing this post (now cut drastically) that I’ve had a tough year. If I’m a little down, well, okay. Well, not really okay, but all-righty then. I do know that I haven’t accomplished much fiction this year. I’m heartsick about this, true, and I’ve been up-and-down all year, but am I certifiably depressed? Maybe not. Maybe it’s just a mid-life crisis. I can live with that. For now.

I’m here, but not here. Writing, but not really. Keeping it together, but barely. Fighting off the gray weight takes a lot of energy. I only have so much energy to go around, so when I’m struggling mightily on that front, I, simply put, write less.

Excess brain noise fouls me up at times like this. So, when I’m sitting at my computer, page open, character ready to do her thing, somehow…I’m not sure. I have a harder time sinking into the fictional world. Each. Word. Is. Like. This. In the background, my brain-gears grind in an endless, annoying, disillusioned mutter. You know when your computer churns away on a task (you know what I’m talking about if you own a PC that’s got a virus or two or two dozen lurking within it) and slows way down? It’s like that. Kind of.

So what do I do? I keep up with as many of my writing habits as possible while dropping tasks such as housecleaning. I turn on the computer first thing in the morning. I take my laptop to coffeehouses. I think about the current project as I’m drifting to sleep and when I wake up. I remind myself that I’m a good writer and that whatever problems I’m encountering with plot or characterization or internal logic or point of view is as normal as can be, not a sign that I’m never going to get published.

(Okay, that’s more like it. Pisser of a life juncture — especially with regards to my writing progress — but I’ll hold off announcing that I’m certifiably depressed until some other time.)

Goodbye, Summer; Hello, Clean Slate

I love autumn, which, for me, begins the Tuesday after Labor Day. Like seasonal clockwork, the faintest chill now underscores the warmth and sunlight slants in at a pleasing angle, diffuse and soft. I welcome getting caught behind school buses, and I long for a brand-new binder with dividers and plastic pockets.

Soon, squirrels will go crazy hiding their nuts, and I’ll switch to flannel sheets (and sleep that much better). I’ll pull out my neat-o jackets, my tights, my boots, my scarves and bid adieu to my grubby shorts. Once again, bubble baths will become routine.

Most of all, my energy will rebound. It already has. After a scattered summer, I’m ready to focus again, remind myself of the girl I used to be, the one who adored starting school with a brand-new binder with dividers and plastic pockets — not to mention a clean slate.


Postscript: Thanks to everyone who commented on my few August posts. I didn’t respond per my usual habit. Just know that I appreciate your perspectives and positive feedback.