Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Monster Inside

I don't talk much about the novel I'm working on here. It's basically YA Fantasy and my main character is a girl named Laya that literally takes on other people's demons. Surprisingly, I didn't realize at the time how my main character's struggle mirrors my own. Her superpower is a fantastical but literal interpretation of what I do. I'm very affected by my environment and the people around me. I'm overly sensitive to moods, and tones and innuendo, and very often I take on other's people's negativity and make their problems my own. The problem with this of course, is that I have enough of my own craziness to deal with. I've come to relate to my character's story on such a deep level that it's kind of scary.

I've been advised to shelve this work-in-progress because I've been "working on it" for about five years. (I can't believe it's been that long! Damn you time vortex!) What I don't think this very respected successful writer considered (and couldn't have as I've never actually met her) is that this is nothing new for me. This is not a problem with my WIP, this is an ongoing problem with me. It's not the fault of my story that I have no drive. It's not the fault of my story that I lack the will to change; that I waste my free time tumbling in a mind-numbing disorientating pitch black void. It's not my story's fault that I have an aversion to accomplishing anything. And it's not my story's fault that all good deeds to myself must be punished.

I've come to notice that every "good" day I have is followed by a horrible one. I'm too depressed to be considered anything close to bipolar--I never reach that other extreme of happiness and mania--but some semblance of happiness or contentment or just plain being okay, is almost always followed by an extreme depressive episode, like payback with interest rather than some bizarre balancing act. This makes the mental image of My Monster D terrifyingly real; an actual manifestation of the monster inside that wants to thrive, that wants to survive, and that takes any hint of happiness as a threat to that survival. It wages a war in me and it doesn't hold back. It fights dirty and I'm sick of it.

I've been trying to write the morning pages again. For anyone who doesn't know, the morning pages is stream-of-consciousness journaling first thing upon waking. It's supposed to help with creativity and a connection to divinity. It also serves as a way of purging the garbage from your mind before you start your day. I took a very long hiatus and I'm hoping to change that. Yesterday, while I was writing, after endless mundane stream-of-consciousness bullshit, words came out that actually meant something. I was writing about how every good day that I have results in a depressive episode, and how My Monster D tries to gain back control. Here's an excerpt:

"I always stop doing the things that have a positive impact on me. Is it because I don't have the patience for the slow progress...? I start to feel a little better and then I just say "fuck it" it's taking too long? Is it My Monster D fighting back because it wants to live? It wants to thrive...? Because I'm its vessel; I'm the only thing keeping it alive. Without me, it would dissipate into nothing; a figment of my warped imagination. And it won't allow that. It can't allow that. Because IT WANTS TO LIVE. Why is its will to live greater than mine? What have I done to feed it and starve me??"

After writing this I burst into tears. Not entirely sure why. It's not news to me that there are some parallels between Laya's world and my own. But it was like I suddenly really connected to that--to her. The idea was scratching at the surface of my mind for a good long while though.

Will there be a happy ending for me? A psychic once told me yes, and we all know how reliable psychics are....

I guess I will have to wait and see what's in store for my main character to know what's in store for me.

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A. Opstein said...

I have wondered about your book! I remember that you have referenced it from time to time, but I don't think you've ever mentioned the premise before. It sounds like an interesting tale! If you ever need an alpha reader, I'd be more than willing.

As for the monster, I am SO sorry! Those of us who do not have to wrestle with it can never truly understand what you have to go through every day. I am hoping Laya finds relief, and for the first time ever I am hoping a psychic is right!

MaryPoppins said...

Thanks Opstein! I will keep you in mind for an alpha reader, if I ever finish the damn thing.

And I will send Laya your best wishes!

Do you have a blog? Just curious.

A. Opstein said...

I did have one, but I cancelled it because a) I'm not that interesting(systems admin? Boring unless you're into computers) and b) I was a total slacker in the updates area. Color me embarrassed for prompting you to update your blog when I could not ever do mine! My excuse is that you are interesting.