Playing Catch-Up

Date Published

August 17, 2021


Personal Life | Writing Process

Comment Count


Emotional Overview

A quick check-in showing my current emotional state. (Higher numbers mean greater degrees of emotion.)

  • Depression 50% 50%
  • Anxiety 60% 60%
  • Stress 60% 60%

Yeah, it’s been a few weeks. Again, all I can say is sorry. Each week, I know I need to write something but it always seems that other things have been more important. This is an attempt to fix that.

It’s been a real hodgepodge of events lately:

The Positive

I’ll start with the positive (yeah, I know, that’s a switch. Hey, I’m trying.)

I’ve managed to do two things that feel monumental for me in regards to writing.

  1. I signed up to work with a professional in getting this story out there.

I’ve been following Clark Chamberlain for a few years now. (I actually don’t remember how I initially found him – I think it had something to do with a small press located nearby in Idaho he was associated with.) He kept popping up on my radar through the years and I finally decided to sign up for a few hours of coaching when I got a recent newsletter from him.

Clark seems to have taken a similar tack in regards to writing. When he was stationed in Iraq, he talks about writing all of his feelings and thoughts in notebooks: “I was concerned with people picking up my notepad and reading my truth so instead of writing my unvarnished feelings I used fiction to camouflage the rawness. It was a win-win. I created characters and events based on the thoughts, feelings, and emotions I was dealing with, but if anyone picked it up, they’d read a thriller. “ Who is Clark Chamberlain?

We’ve since talked once live and emailed back and forth several times. He’s good at pushing me to quit this procrastination circle I’m in. Thus, we set a goal of having a complete outline done in September.

Clark’s a great guy. If you’re interested in working with someone who understands things, look him up.

  1. I also started a class on LitReactor called “Writing the Weird”.

It felt like I was stuck in a rut with some of the ideas about this story – it just seemed like the same old thing you read over and over: person leaves their hometown because of some traumatic event; years later, they have to return to the ghosts that drove them away. I wanted something different.

Weird fiction has provided that. It’s difficult to describe and there’s a lot of definitions out there, but here’s one: “It’s a literary style that can blend speculative fiction with elements of horror, fantasy, magical realism, Lovecraftian Cosmicism, and others to create a genre that is surreal and deeply unnerving.” So You Want to Read Weird Fiction: Here’s Where to Start | Penguin Random House

What’s funny is that I had been moving toward the weird without even realizing it.

This class has provided the impetus and freedom to look at things differently. Yeah, Unclean is still a ghost story, but perhaps not in the usual sense. Plus it’s a lot more. I’m excited.

The Negative

Mainly, it feels like things have been slipping lately for me. Anxiety has been increasing, the number of depressed days seems to be getting worse. This shouldn’t surprise me – I always seem to shift somewhat downward every fall and Seasonal Affective Disorder has been tossed around as a descriptor in my past. Still, it seems a little early for that to be kicking in.

Part of it is work. Part of it is what is going on in the world. A lot of it is just me. Minor things bug the hell out of me and I find that I’m reacting hyper-sensitively to things. I just have to learn to stop and wait a couple days before I respond to something so I don’t say something that isn’t necessarily useful. My brother-in-law sent me some quotes he received for a group he is involved in thinking they would help during Covid. Somehow, I managed to agree with everything they said – and then they became sort of object lessons showing me how I was failing right now. It wasn’t his intention at all and they really were quite innocent. It’s just the filter I’m seeing things through right now.

I’m only hoping things stabilize for a while again – even if it’s at this lower mood/higher anxiety time. If if gets worse, I would be concerned that another spell is starting.

(Again, if you haven’t checked out the Twenty-One Pilots videos in my previous post, this period feels like what is shown in Jumpsuit: I know this crap is coming for me and it just feels like all I can do is stand there waiting on it.) Weird, I know.

Other Stuff

I had some interesting breakthroughs while doing some character work for one of my characters. I was looking at the Enneagram definitions and I kept realizing this really didn’t seem to be describing him correctly. Sure, there were a lot of thing that were correct but there were also a lot that weren’t. This was especially interesting because the character I was working on most resembled me in the story. And if things weren’t fitting him, were they really fitting me?

Thus, I sprung for an “official” test from the The Enneagram Institute.  I came up with the same highest Type (Type 4)  but also saw that my second highest (Type 6) was only 2 points away. Then I saw that Type 6’s are known to commonly mistype themselves as Type 4’s. And as I read up on Type 6’s, I saw why things weren’t jiving completely with Type 4. It seems like I’m a cross between 4 and 6 and, based on the literature, I feel somewhat more at home among the 6’s – especially the more stressed levels. I think I’m going to write more about this a little later.

Nothing major – but it does help things make a little more sense.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’m going to go through and make some edits to the description for Unclean as well as add some things to my Who I Am page for the new Enneagram information. Talk to you later.

Image Attributions

Photo by saeed karimi on Unsplash

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