Saturday, May 9, 2015

Works Every Time: Sit Down, Slit It Open, Spill It Out

Today is Saturday. I wrote this on Monday. It seems like weeks ago.

Today I realized I’m unhappy. Again. Oh, not in my mind. There I’m happy. Or I think I am. I have plenty of evidence. I love my work. I enjoy my community and volunteering for the city. I have a church (for the first time in forty years.) My completed manuscript (first in nine years) is tucked away waiting to be reread with a fresh eye, and manuscript two is half written.
However.

When I look at my behavior, or rather behaviorS, plural, all the signs are there. I won’t list them all, but I bet you’ll recognize one or two. They include:
  • eating crap “food” including demon sugar
  • weight gain
  • hopping
  • moping
  • disinterest in outside activities
  • inability to exercise
  • running off to coffee shops, restaurants or other places to write
  • hours of Netflix
  • going to bed early
  • staring in to space (not the good, daydreaming kind)
  • avoiding decisions
  • running on auto-pilot


Courtesy hdwallpapers-3d.com
There’s probably more, but these off-the-top-of-my-head ones are enough. I get the idea. Do you? Now, what to do? Figure out why? Not necessarily.

I could distract myself from it, flesh out a profile on match dot com, find a man and ride that “new love” feeling for, well, maybe years. Or rent an apartment within walking distance of my favorite coffee shop/writing locale. That would open up space in the office for a couple of massage therapists, a nutritionist and/or some other cool-ist. Or I could bring in a doctor to share the practice, take care of patients when I’m away.
Any of these would bring activity. Break the boredom. Create happiness. If only temporary. But the truth is, I don’t know if I can be happy here. Behind closed eyes (and a seeming-eternity ago) I’m in Southern California on a trail as it meanders through a scrub canyon, alone and safe, a half-mile from my complex and bustling traffic, with a smile that could only get wider if it split my face in half. All from pure joy. Of place. I miss that. I miss it a lot.

Is my unhappiness place-related? I’m leaning toward yes. I have evidence. I’ll spare you the details. But the last I remember that beatific smile bursting upon my face and my heart soaring, was a year ago.* In Oregon. On a coast so wild as to never be tamed, in old-growth forests that march to the sea, along a ring of fire that will someday bring doom to us all. There I was happy. There my heart soared. There the smile stayed plastered to my face. And joy dwelt in my soul.
*Other than in church.

Now. If you’re one of the way-too-many people that don’t know this secret, listen up. Something wonderful happens with you put pen to paper or fingertips to keys and spill your guts. The subconscious is appeased because it’s had its say, and whatever the dilemma, you can always, always get relief.
Tuesday, I returned to manuscript two, specifically the stitching together of twelve different voices in to one fluid, hopefully-flowing story. I cut the crap and sugar, including cola, got lots of sleep and in spite of the fact that my day-job workload increased and it was a crazy, bouncy, electrified-energy kind of week, I felt better every day.

I’m happy to report that not only did I complete those edits today (through the last page written - 202), but I finished the related “God’s Eye View” spreadsheet, color-coded to keep the stories straight and evenly s/paced. It also ensures that one of the many (and egads! growing number of) characters don’t stay silent, or hog the spotlight, for too long.


God's Eye View of Peace Makers - Part Deux
(Compressed to Protect Contents)
So. Hooray for me! Instead of making a splash on match dot com or running off to spend a bunch of hard-earned cash on an apartment I don’t need, I cleaned up my food, walked around the neighborhood, cleaned the house, belly-laughed at an old comedy I discovered on Netflix (Out of Practice) and drank lots of home-brewed kombucha.
But mostly? I dove back in to writing. My true love. My precious. My own.

~ Olivia J. Herrell

1 comment:

Debra said...

I agree that "something wonderful happens" when you write. My closetful of journals in three-ring binders (and on computer files) have saved me thousands of dollars in therapy fees. And journaling got me through this dreary winter! Good on you-- keep posting!

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