Friday, September 4, 2015

Barely in the Bubble

There are days where i'm in so much pain that the mildest of irritants make me cringe. At the best of times the sound of someone chewing fills me with disgust, during the bad days the smacking of lips makes my skin crawl, my own lips curl, and my bitch trigger has the most sensitive of settings. I amusingly call this disposition my "Artistic Temperament."  I need time to recharge, and as Namaste as it sounds, to just be within myself. My mind is my safe place and it heals me from the flaying feeling of my skin trying to crawl off my body when I've spent too much time just reacting in the world.
As silly as it may sound the simple act of putting on my headphones takes me from hunching Gollum to a whimsical Smeagol smilingly offering to share his fish faster than Bilbo gives into every opportunity to put on the one ring.
Just having that thin sound barrier can pull my spirit back from where it was hiding, wrapped around my spine. Not to mention the feels you get when you select a suggested rock playlist and it has the perfect combination of Japanese Rock, Avril, James Blunt, and Christmas Music. Sometimes, YouTube gets me.
Currently Queen is Crooning I want to Break Free into my ears as i write this, and i'm writing, for the first time in almost a month, but it's better that the year it took me last time. I'm trying out a neuro-corrector my doctor prescribed to help with my pain. and while it seems my overall pain has lessened i sometimes fear that loosing my pain will effect how i write. The pain effects me, the medication effects my brain, what if it inhibits the pathways that helps me turn my feeling into translatable expression? What if i'm so foggy with exhaustion to do anything but play inside out bubble on my phone? Those fears are real, and i hate being on any medication but so far I've just gotten a deeper sleep.
This Blog post has gotten a bit more into personal detail than my previous posts, and i think it's telling that i think sharing my pain is more personal than revealing my deep thoughts and creative process.
I started out with the intention of writing another book review and when i couldn't focus on the specifics of what i wanted to say this is what i decided to share.
I really fundamentally believe that everyone has the responsibility to be self-aware, not only so you can more fully appreciate the joys in life but so that you're conscious of how you interact with others.
I know what gets on my nerves, and i know i get into moods. I try to the best of my ability and not always successfully, to not inflict these moods on other people. Letting my husband now that i'm on the verge of irritably chewing him out for eating and watching the Sopranos because at that particular moment i can't handle Italian accents and lip smacking is better than snapping at him and ruining his night. plugging in my headphones cuts me off from the trigger and resets my levels like resting at your campsite between boss battles.
I'm Strange, But I'm aware, I'm Easily set off, But I'm Calm.
I'm also a 90's song.
I don't want to be someone's bad day, even when i'm having a particular one.
The trick to surviving, for me at least is to accept how i feel. I don't fight against it, I experience it, I move on from it, and i keep it in my memory like a fond friend i can call on to emphasize with others.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Escaping Perfectionism: an Introduction and Wondering on Wanderings

This is not a book review, or mostly not a book review but rather my own essay prompted by reading this publication. If you'd like to read my review you can do so here.
After Reading Jane Lindskold's collective essays Wanderings on Writing I was able to more clearly identify some of the issues i struggled with when writing.
I have always loved to write, but my writing is intuitive, chaotic, and without a plan. Reading Lindskold's Wanderings on outlining gave me permission to write naturally using my own process, or at least it allowed me to finally give myself permission.
While i do love to write i always seem to stumble face first into road blocks. In high school I did all my writing assignments the day of the class in the silent hour i had to myself after being dropped of at school. There was rarely more than one or two students in the halls at that time and i was able to sit in front of my locker with my loose leaf and just write. This didn't leave me any time to edit, so what was submitted was usually my rough draft, though i'd usually get a good grade and positive comments. I miss the purity of high school assignments before my grudgingly respectful/hate relationship with footnotes developed.
In College i was only able to write in the early morning/late night depending on how you look at it, when everyone else was asleep and i lived in hopeful suspense of the clicking, clacking, and clattering keyboard waking someone up. Even without the presence of other "conscious" people to grate on my nerves it would still be hours before i could get down to business. Those hours were usually spent chatting on the good old MSN while writing collaborative nonsensical poetry. I had and have a block when it comes to writing, or art, or sometimes having run of the mill conversations. I would have to trick myself into writing, even if i was staring at the computer screen thinking word for word what I wanted to write, I still couldn't get my fingers to type it out. Imagine yourself trying to move a wall, you're constantly pressing against it, bruising your head (yes your head, it might not be the most logical way to move a wall but that's what it feels like)  and straining your arms. No matter how much effort and force you apply the wall refuses to move, so you have to find a way around it. In a sense, it's almost as if i have to not think in order to write, or at least, not be conscious of the act of writing or what i'm trying to accomplish. Sometimes, thinking about the steps involved in the process or the final outcome is what will ultimately prevent me from completing a project. In the words of Shea Laboeuf I need to "Just Do it."
When in college and university i would spit emotional vomit at my computer screen. Flowery words and nonsense prose would open the path of creativity so that i could open a new word document to compare sexuality and bed tricks in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the Canterbury Tales. It may have been internal and invisible to others, but for me it's a physical force, something tangible that impeded what to others was probably a much simpler task.
It's not laziness that inhibits but a condition of my being. Some might term this condition writers block, I say that's a symptom rather than a cause of this re-occurring phenomenon. The last time i wrote a short story i was waiting for a video game to download, I was browsing The FaceCrack when i stumbled upon an announcement for a short story contest, logically i justified the purchase of my game by entering the contest.
I wrote a piece based on an idea i had while using the cinema washroom. I didn't even make the long list for the contest, but for the first time since high school i actually completed a short story, was happy with what i wrote and reconnected with my love of writing.
Have i written anything since? No. Why? For various reasons and multiple excuses that bring me back to my original subject of perfectionism. Do I want everything i do to be perfect the first time around? Yes! Will it? No! Writing is another form of art as far as i'm concerned, and i cannot approach it as a science with definite conclusions.
One of the things that stops me from putting words to the page is the fear that i'll ruin the page. I have an obsession with notebooks, I want them all; every size, shape, colour and smell. When I pick up something new i fall in love with the beauty of the untouched page. While logically it might seem better to make use of a notebook as it was intended there's always the fear that my words would cheapen it's purity rather than enhance it's being.
It's these types of questions that hold me in stasis, and compounded with a fear of failure, cloud my intent and encourage me to accept a condition that leaves a page blank. This is the voice that suggests i always need a new paintbrush before starting a painting, or that i have to know the origin of ghost stories in every culture before i can write one word about a character that can see them. The amount of sketchbooks left with only one used page, and blank notebooks collecting dust do, in reality, fill a bookshelf.
It took reading a blog post about reverse outlining to make me realize that I don't need permission to write the way I write. In University I would write an entire paper before adding footnotes, structure, and thesis. Creative writing doesn't need to be any different. Writing is such a personal thing, and while inspiration can come from any outside source, experience and expressions is entirely individual. When you put your soul into something you want it to be perfect, but I embrace my imperfections and my quirks without impeding growth and progress so I should apply the same Philosophy to all aspects of self expression.
To Jane Lindskold, Thank you for publishing your thoughts on writing. There's no formula to being a writer, the one and only thing every writer has in common is that they write. Even if it's just a blog post or a book review, write, see your thoughts on paper, on your screen, but write.
This is the Felmuffin Mindset; It's a strange land, a formidable labrynth filled with a myriad of random musings, humour, inspiration, and most importantly words.
To the professor that told me i took perfectionism to the point it became a sickness; I took your words to heart. It may have taken years, but I've made progress, I'm still a perfectionist, but I work around it.
There may not be a cure, but I can handle the symptoms.

I wrote this first blog post in a notebook while reading just enough of Terry Pratchett to get the words flowing in my head without getting drawn into his world. (It wasn't my favourite notebook, I'm working my way up) If you struggle with a similar or dissimilar fissure in your creative process feel free to comment.

Wanderings on Writing By Jane Lindskold

If you're looking for a book that will miraculously turn you into a published writer then put this book down. Then pick up a heavier book, hit yourself over the head with it to clear out that intent, and pick up this book again.
Jane Lindskold's Wanderings on Writing is a Collection of Essays that have been edited and re-worked from her original blog postings. This is not a how-to book, but is more like a forum, it’s like sitting on your friends couch and getting intimate details about their thoughts and creative process.
Which when it comes to writing is more useful than a how-to book. A novel isn't an Ikea shelf, the same directions will not apply or produce the same results with each block of wood.
If you're an intuitive Writer and feel overwhelmed by the structure and planning involved with producing a finished work I recommend this book. If you're involved with a writer, have thought about becoming a writer, or just like an interesting short read, I also recommend this book.
This Book didn't fix anything for me, or magically erase issues, it did however prompt some parallel thoughts that I was able to apply to my own life and writing.
One of the things I took to heart from one of the essays was that I shouldn't feel like a lesser writer because I’m an intuitive writer. If Jane can do her outlines in reverse and have a fluid and malleable end game, then I feel encouraged that I can write a story without necessarily knowing the outcome.
The most important thing to do is write. And then Write. Go to work. Have a Drink. Experience life, but write. No matter your perceived limitations or reasons for not writing beforehand, the only thing you have to loose is embarrassment, and you only ever need to show those works to someone if you choose to.

Read the book, write a review, but write.