Trying to feel better...

The sunshine is gone. All right, get out of your system--one, two, three: "Ain't no sunshine when he's gone..." Yeah, I know Bill Withers said "she", but in my case that pronoun doesn't work. But the sunshine is literally gone today. Cloudy, overcast, drizzling rain. Pretty much fits my mood. I guess if I'm going to be depressed, I might as well enjoy it. What else can a woman do on an overcast Monday afternoon at work when even her usual students aren't coming in for tutoring? Cue the melodramatic violins. This is Angela who's been two months without chocolate and five days without her other addiction. I didn't even know I STILL had the other addiction until this morning. I think I better dig out all of my old co-dependency self help books and re-read them. There's some concepts that either I didn't understand or unconsciously skipped over because I wasn't ready to face them. But that's life. When you are ready, the tests come in with a vengeance.

In search of solace, I turn to those people who I admire and want to (if I can ever summon the courage to publish my work) emulate. For today, the person is Neil Gaiman, of "The Sandman" graphic novel series and more recently, "The Anansi Boys", a novel that I practically devoured in one weekend. (Notice the food analogy. The yogurt and fruit I had for lunch didn't last long.) Anyway, here's what Mr. Gaiman had to say on his blog for October 15, 2007:

Why write?
The best thing about writing fiction is that moment where the story catches fire and comes to life on the page, and suddenly it all makes sense and you know what it's about and why you're doing it and what these people are saying and doing, and you get to feel like both the creator and the audience. Everything is suddenly both obvious and surprising ("but of course that's why he was doing that, and that means that...") and it's magic and wonderful and strange.You don't live there always when you write. Mostly it's a long hard walk. Sometimes it's a trudge through fog and you're scared you've lost your way and can't remember why you set out in the first place.But sometimes you fly, and that pays for everything.No, it's not quite finished, but I don't mind right now, and I suspect that I can persuade my publisher to wait another couple of days. It's alive, and a real book, even if it's a short one and I cannot wait to get back to it.....

posted by Neil at 11:35 AM -->

It is so comforting to know that a word smith like Neil Gaiman struggles with writing. My students seem to think that the process is easy for those of us who have the temerity to call ourselves writers. These students have never seen me sitting at my computer, nervously twisting around in my chair as I seek that elusive inspiration. Nor have they listened to the stream of epithets that come out of my mouth when I can't figure out what comes next in a scene. It's enough to make a person insane. I don't tell the students who come in for tutoring that, however. I don't want to scare them.

That's what I need; a "story to catch fire and come to life on the page". I have a story that's been in my head for over a year now. The characters have been telling me their story, and they are patiently waiting for me to behave like a proper writer and take dictation from them, but I've been putting it off. Why? Because I have a book that I wrote last summer that needs editing before sending out with the proposal for one of those literary agents to represent me. And this is the part where all my fears coalesce. I love writing, and I can't think of anything else that I'd rather do with my life besides teaching. But that fear of rejection has kept me from moving forward, and right now, I need some forward motion.

The reason why I went to Mr. Gaiman's blog on this day is because I have been working on overcoming my insecurities so I can give them a permanent home six feet under. I have a group of friends who have been showing me that I am so much more than my shortcomings. In fact, I believe I have lost one friend because I couldn't/wouldn't see what I am doing to myself, and it has been a very painful lesson. I know I am human. I just need to realize that I'm not superhuman, and to forgive myself for falling short of my own expectations.

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