My last post was in July. Ugh. Not exactly what I’d been going for when I promised myself I would be more regular with my blog posts. Unless I’m going to post once every eight months like clockwork… No, better not.
The truth is, last year was difficult for me, as it was for a lot of people. My apologies for anyone who doesn’t want to read about politics, but the fact of the matter is that American politics have affected, and continue to affect, me deeply. It’s hard being part of a minority group under the best of circumstances, and it’s been so very much harder since the disastrous election results of this past November.
I heard someone say that liberals are just upset because we lost. That’s not it. I’ve been on the losing side before, we all have. Bush was annoying; Trump is terrifying. I didn’t have the pang of existential dread go through me in 2001 the way it did in November. I’d braced myself for some backlash after the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling in 2015, but no assuming of crash positions could prepare me for it actually happening. And it continues to happen. The steady erosion of our hard-fought rights, the emboldening of bigots, that creeping, never-ending feeling of dread.
Which is how I ended up in therapy. I had writer’s block for most of 2017. I never thought it would happen to me. After all, I have a ton of ideas for stories. I have enough to keep me occupied for the next 10-15 years, without coming up with new ones. So it’s not that I didn’t know what I wanted to write. I knew very well what I wanted to write, but I couldn’t reach the appropriate mental space for it.
When it comes down to it, I’m a maker. I make things in my real-life job, I write, and I build things, but writing is different. For me, writing requires a certain amount of order in my brain, order that was being regularly disrupted by the malarkey gushing from the White House on a weekly/daily/hourly basis. My therapist says my brain is like a tree, which I can see. One idea sparks others, which branch out and spark still others. She also says that I spend a lot of time delving among the dark roots of that tree. Maybe a little too much time. I happen to disagree. Some of the most interesting things happen in the dark. Bringing them into the light, viewing that struggle to overcome the dark events of our lives is what inspires me to write. I love challenge for the feeling of overcoming it. What is a novel if not one long challenge? And finishing one is a triumph that has little equal.
So what was I to do when I was caught in the dark roots of my imagination? When I couldn’t see how we could move into the light? And that’s why I couldn’t write. I couldn’t see a way through.
Therapy has been helping. I’m learning some coping techniques for the alarms my brain seems prone to raise these days. My therapist says I have generalized anxiety disorder. I think my anxiety is pretty damn specific, given that it wasn’t a problem before the elections. But it’s getting better. I’ve started writing again, though the words aren’t coming as quickly as they have for other books. I’m not sure if it’s because of my writer’s block, my (possibly too) busy life, or the book I’m writing. We’ll see.
For now, I’m continuing with my therapy, continuing with my writing, and trying not to let the hatred and disdain of a vocal minority in our society derail me from doing what I love.
You are not alone in this. I am, by nature, a positive person. For three blogs in a row I was barely able to squeeze out a positive thought in among the 4000 words. I hope you can break through and back into the branches again. Hold Fast!
I’m working on it! And even better, making progress.
I am fortunate to live in a country where diversity is mostly celebrated. Having said that, we are neither perfect nor immune to the vitriol spewing forth from the mouths of the bigoted and hateful. It takes its toll on us all. All I can say is stay strong, take care of yourself and try to make this the catalyst for progress. I believe there is still good in us. If it helps to know, your writing has positive impacts on others. As a lesbian and a Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan, I can’t express how amazing it is to find high quality, representative stories to immerse myself in! Your books are awesome! Best of luck reconnecting with your muse and be well!
Thank you! It means a lot to hear how my work resonates, especially in the current climate.