At one point in Hyperbole, Harland notes, “The level of disinterested self-involvement all around us is, for once, reassuring.”
Lately, I’m finding it anything but reassuring. The flag should depict a grim face illuminated only by the gruesome light of a smartphone. Knowing all the while that I am guilty of the same disease that has made the zombie trope so popular of late.
America in 2014 seems to be a cold wasteland of navel-gazing shitheads. I’m one. I’m special and different, and what I have to offer is unique. Sure. Who couldn’t say that without breaking?
It’s late January, the depth of the annual cycle where I struggle not to poison myself while jumping off a bridge with a gun in my mouth. Should I die of unnatural causes, I’m sure it will be on MLK day +/- ten days. This is what I’ve struggled with my whole life, at least since probably high school. January represents all the coldness, dissociation, rejection, dissatisfaction, ennui, whatever.
I suppose it’s that I’m lonely. I haven’t so much burned my bridges as walked away disinterestedly. I’m a poor friend. I’ve let things lapse with several friends because I’ve struggled to find things to talk about. Everything feels like small talk. Again, I’m exaggerating, rounding up, but this is the idea. I struggle to form opinions about much of anything, let alone to feel compelled to express them.
So why fiction? If I have nothing to say, why does fiction work? Why would I bother?
A simple answer is that it allows me to say the things I didn’t realize I needed to express. You may have an idea, or you may not. But when you write, when you force yourself to write whether you feel like it or not, some things will start coming through. These ideas will pour out. You may not like them, and you may not keep them. You may need to rework them, or put them in the mouth of a character who’s supposed to be despicable to get away with saying them. But there they are, and they came from you, and no one else could be reasonably blamed.
January, you cold bitch.
The disease is depression, and the medicine (not cure) is writing.
I have to get writing again. I’m tired of promoting my book, and I’m tired of pulling teeth. Five star reviews mean nothing, and it’s lost in a glut of romance and vampires. I’ll keep plodding, but I’m definitely depressed at the moment. It’s very difficult to entice people to take a chance, and I’m a horrible salesperson.
So I’ll write something new and hope that momentum helps on the writing front and on the promotion front. I’ll keep going, and January will end, and February will be its own battle.
The thing is: I don’t want small talk. I want a meaningful exchange. If it means making fictional characters have that exchange, then that’s sad, but it’s the way it will have to be until I can figure out how to form real friendships again.
Welcome. Thanks for reading.