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.

When I look at my behavior, or rather behaviors, plural, the signs are there. I won’t list them all, but I bet you’ll recognize a few. They include:
  • eating crap “food” including demon sugar
  • weight gain
  • shopping
  • 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
There are probably more, but these off-the-top-of-my-head ones are enough. I get the idea. Do you? 

What now? Figure out why?

Not necessarily.

I could distract myself, 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 in West Georgia. I close my eyes, and I’m in Southern California, on a trail meandering through a scrub canyon, alone and safe, a half-mile from my complex and bustling traffic, with a smile that splits my face in two. All from pure joy. Of place.

I miss that. I miss it a lot.

So is my unhappiness place-related? I’m leaning toward yes. I have evidence.

The last I remember that kind of smile on 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 remained plastered to my face. There, joy dwelt in my soul.

But, back to today, and my point.

If you are one of the many people that don’t know this secret, listen up.

Something wonderful happens when you put pen to paper, or fingertips to keys, and spill your blood and guts.

The subconscious is appeased. It’s had its say. And whatever the dilemma, you can always, ALWAYS get relief.
Once done with this process, I was able to return to manuscript two, stitching together the different voices into one fluid, (hopefully) flowing story. I cut the crap and sugar from my diet, 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 and better each day.

Not only did I complete the 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.

(Compressed to Protect Contents)
Instead of making a splash (splat?) 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


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!

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Hi Debra, thank you for stopping by and for leaving a comment. I'm sorry for the late reply. For some reason, I thought I'd already answered!

Yes, and if only we had those thousands of dollars we could take a trip to Alaska. Or the Mediterranean. Or some other fun, educational spot.

So glad I met you! Olivia/O.J. Barre'

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