Thursday, October 07, 2004

Do I dare disturb the Universe?

The eternal question. The question every writer must face and answer at some point. The question that confronts me every time I sit down to write. Do I dare? Do I dare to eat a peach? Or should I "wear white flannel trousers and walk upon the beach"? Should I listen to the mermaids singing and know that they will never sing for me? That thought is a sadness beyond my ability to fathom or to cope.

And yet the question remains. Who am I to hope or dream that my words will have any impact on the larger world? Should I even try? After all, those who stick their necks out have a bad track record of getting their heads chopped off. Do I dare?

Fear of failure is not an issue. I am familiar with failure. We have become intimate over the years. I don't like it. Not at all. But failure is familiar territory. No, not failure. What I fear most is success.

"Fear success? Good God, boy! Are yoiu crazy?"

Well the crazy part is another story for another time, but the fear of success is real. I know I can succeed as a writer. I am a good writer and getting better all the time. I have the skill, I have the talent, I know that the stories I have to tell are meaningful. All I have to do to succeed is to keep plugging away. I will eventually be noticed, "discovered", if you will. And that scares the Hell out of me.

There are other forces at work. Dark and powerful forces. My therapist has finally led me to understand that I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That, again, is a long story for another timne. Let's just say that I have been in the grip of PTSD since I was 4 years old. 43 years.

One of the major effects of PTSD, and one of the diagnostic symptoms, is the compulsion to withdraw from thge world. Keep your head down. Stay under cover. The monsters are real, and if they see you, they'll get you. That's me. I have known for several years about my self-sabotaging behavior. Now I know why. The middle-aged me knows what's going on and wants to change it, but way down deep inside there is this 4-year-old me that is in pain, bleeding to death (not really, but to a four-year-old...), and shrieking his fear to an apparently uncaring world. That's awful hard to fight.

Do I dare disturb the Universe? Yes, I dare. Can I overcome my fear and actually do it? That story does not yet have an ending.

My dose of the bizarre for the day:

A telemarketer left an automated message on my answering machine wanting me to buy a casket and burial plot. My mind, being of a bizarre bent itself, immediately started What-iffing on this development. The one I like best so far is "What if a burial plot salesperson found out that all the people who bought a plot wound up inhabiting it within a month? It's probably been done before, so I'll have to put a wild twist on it somehow.

Today's rejection:

Georgia Review shot down "Real Monsters". I did get a very nicely impersonal yellow slip of paper for my efforts. That gewts me up to 6 points in the Great Rejection Slip Contest over at Forward Motion (4 rejections at 1 point each, 1 acceptance at 2 points). My goal is to hit double digits by year end. Since I still have 5 stories in circulation, I should make that easily either way.


At 12:45 PM, Blogger Joel said...

Write, damn it. And send some of the energy my way (or, better yet, just throw the Muse in this direction ;-)


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