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Hopes, Fears, and Yellowing Leaves

If I don’t write in my journal, then I don’t write at all that day.

That’s the way it goes for me: My journal is my warm-up. My musician’s scales. My crazy pencil sketches.

So, yesterday was practically the first time in a week that I looked at the Work in Progress.

I didn’t like what I saw. Probably my mood. I looked at the 200 or so pages, and I thought, Who fucking cares? Why are you doing this? Why, you could be watching all 156 episodes of the The West Wing back-to-back on Netflix! Or standing in line at Legoland!

I have watched enough of The West Wing on Netflix so that its characters, a significant proportion of the time, feel more real to me than the characters who populate my own life.

I suppose that’s because I know so much more about The West Wing's characters’ hopes and fears.

I hardly know anything about the hopes and fears of the people in my life. The subject never comes up. Unless I raise it. And then people look at me funny.



That’s the prime directive.

My whimsies should dictate stock market trends! My beauty—accented, not diminished, by the impending tinge of winter frost—should launch 999 ships. My fascinating personality should be the subject of 1,000 tweets. The New York Times should write editorials about me. Every person I ever loved or slept with should be lining his (or her) pillow with regrets and contemplating suicide. Hell! Every person I ever even looked at twice in a supermarket should be looking for a wall to ram his (or her) head into.

I should not have to write a novel to get attention.

This should just be the way things are.


But since I am writing a novel…

The scene where June is strapped to a gurney and given electric shock treatments is very difficult to write. I suppose that’s because I have no frame of reference other than what I would feel if I were strapped down and given electric shock treatments. I’m channeling June’s rage, frustration, paranoia, desperation, fear. It’s not fun.

No wonder I’d rather rewrite the first chapter for the 35th time!

And look! I’ve added some marvelous new status details to Chapter One! I’ve described the stains on the worn pink satin divan in the living room of the flat on Montague Street! I’ve taken the reader on an enchanting voyage through the life cycle of the snails June finds in that tide pool on Long Island next to Scott Fitzgerald’s house!

How can this novel not be a bestseller?

How can it not win a Pulitzer Prize?

Why should I even need to finish it?


Nothing much else of any importance is going on here.

Various people have remarked over the past few days, “I can feel autumn in the air!”

I can’t feel autumn in the air. Though it has cooled down considerably. But I haven’t see so much as a single yellowing leaf.

This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2018 11:43 pm (UTC)
I completely relate to journaling HERE as the warm-up, the scales, the stretching. Don't be discouraged by the WIP. Do you have people reading it? Did you happen to catch the deeply deeply disturbing piece (maybe 60 Minutes?) wherein Kitty Dukakis wants to have her own ECT procedure taped for all to witness???? It might be on Youtube. I know a woman in her late 70's who is a different person NOW. Than she was in her 60's before her husband died unexpectedly of a massive cardiac event and she went off her own meds and become so suicidal that her only option was ECT. She's had numerous procedures and is just now, after six or so years, coming back to her self. She says the worst wasn't the ECT itself but the absolute wiping clean of short term memory. I get highly panicked whenever I contemplate ECT for even moments. MOMENTS! Anyway, find the Dukakis reel if you haven't already horrified yourself with it.
Aug. 24th, 2018 12:46 am (UTC)
Do you have people reading it?

I don't. It's too unfinished.

But you and I should do some sort of mutual critiquing group for shorter stuff. Our writing styles aren't similar, but there is something similar about the way we write.

(By the way—do you like horror novels? If so, check out Lauren Beukes' Broken Monsters. I think you would really, really like it.)

Yes, YouTube videos are a good suggestion. Thank you for it! Though ECT, ugh. And Kitty Dukakis, even BIGGER ugh. :-)
Aug. 24th, 2018 07:41 am (UTC)
I smiled at your whimsies.

ECT scares the hell out of me. A psychiatrist suggested it to me and I would not even consider it. I think the procedure has improved over the years. I will stick with my meds.

Come September it will get cooler and then we will know the Autumn id in the air.
Aug. 24th, 2018 05:22 pm (UTC)
I am glad you didn't do ECT. To me, it sounds like torture.

If you're willing, at some point I'd like to talk to you privately about your experiences. June Miller (my protagonist) is an historical personage, but not much is known about her life after she breaks up with Henry Miller. It is a matter of record that she ends up at Bellvue after a decade of wandering around NYC residential hotels, that she gets ECT, and that she is injured during a procedure.

I am thinking she was bipolar, so I'd like to learn more about what the condition feels like to someone who's affected by it.

Aug. 25th, 2018 01:06 am (UTC)
Sure, no problem.
Aug. 24th, 2018 04:34 pm (UTC)
:-O Well, if you never finish your novel, many many many (MANY!) people will never know how brilliant you are!

Yeah, no yellow leaves at my latitude either. They'll change, whenever they decide.
Aug. 24th, 2018 05:16 pm (UTC)
And if I finish my novel, many many many (MANY!) people will never know how brilliant I am!

It's all good. :-)

The lack of yellow leaves is interesting. Usually, they start appearing hereabouts at the end of the second week in August. I guess we're not that far behind schedule. But still...
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )