Tag Archives: Thoughts

My Depression’s Become a Splintered Beam

9 Jan

Depression is no longer an atmosphere now for me. It is not a fog, not the ether through which every day plods, not the pervasive perpetual drowning that it was for months of my life. No, now depression is an interruption. An undercut. A startling collapse of the stage I thought I had so solidly built for myself to stand on. I’ll be walking through my day, seeing clear and breathing free the sparkling clarity of the air around me, when suddenly, I will sit down and some beam, some ballast will splinter and snap within me.

It happens without warning. It happens when I am unawares. And most often, it happens when I am alone.

Lots of the time, I think, at least, it happens just when I have decided to work. I have sat down at the keyboard, or opened a textbook at my desk, picked up a pencil and notepad to work on, and suddenly, my inner fortitude will implode.

Perhaps it is because it is at these times that I am most silent, most still, waiting and vulnerable. The mists of uncertainty can rise up from my soul and condense within me, until they form a painful, solid lump of memory that whacks at the legs I have balanced my new platform upon.

It’s in the solitary quiet that I am most a victim of myself.

That time when depression was the daily weather forecast, unchanged from when some meteoric prediction was made ages ago and left frozen on the screen, I think I set myself up for this. Unwittingly and without choice, sure.

I would come home from school, where I’d spent eight hours that day battling just to stay at the surface of my brain, but more often descending into the suck of its derisive, murderous quicksand. But on the outside, at least, even as I sunk deeper and deeper into the much within, I managed an appearance at least of neutrality.

Oh look, there’s our future valedictorian. Isn’t she pretty. So attentive to the teacher, so ponderous in her work.

People think our eyes are windows but they are merely cracks in a wall, and you cannot see through skin.

So, I would arrive home, flee up the stairs and behind my bedroom door, leaving it locked behind me, of course. And there, where I shed the weight of my backpack and nothing else from my shoulders, I let those walls shatter around me.

And I would cry.

I would cry for hours. Sometimes, I’d try to stuff the pressure of undrowned sorrows back, get to work right away, but that always proved a futile move. It was short and decisive, the tap it took for my mind to break the glass of my eyes, the non-windows.

But I was to be the future valedictorian, attentive to the teacher, ponderous in her work. The idea of returning to school with anything unfinished was anathema. And so the struggle would begin, the tug of war between my tear ducts and my pencil lead, two halves of my mind jeering as they pushed and shoved for control. The brain is a tyrant, and I was under its most merciless control.

School work, whether it was a chemistry set or page of physics problems or couple of chapters of biology reading, became a sharply painful task to face. Because there, with my mind fresh and sweating from its mental acrobatics, I was most prone to cramps from its internal infection.

The voice that says you should die is not a kind one, and it doesn’t give much of a shit about whether you need it to be quiet so you can focus on your calculus homework.

I learned to anticipate a lot of frustration whenever I’d attempt to work, that year.

And while I have slain so much of that monster that grew within me and called its name myself, there are still corners of rebellion in the recesses of my body that never quite gave over harboring that dark hulk of gnawing, piercing tooth and fatally sharp eye. And sometimes, the progeny or memory or still-unrejected parts of that monster rear up in me.

It’s usually when I’m alone. It’s usually when I’m not expecting. It’s usually when I’m trying to do work.

And so I do that thing that so many refer to as “dicking around on the computer.” I flit from sight to sight, trying to find some input that will reset my emotions and allow me to awake once more, refreshed and able to get down to business without the ghosts of old nightmares swimming before my brain and crowding, clouding my vision. I shove down the tearful thunder storms that seemed to appear out of nowhere, knowing that I have stared at my skies for hours on end, hashed and rehashed all of my weather systems, done my duty and attended to the cloud formations that have swept across my soul.

I distract myself. Usually with the internet. Browsing may be a solo activity, but the pages and posts, they whisper of other existences and remind me that there are other humans, others out there. And then I don’t feel so alone.

Some call it procrastination. I call it survival.

A Slightly Crazed Lump of Blog Anthropomorphizing

30 Dec

Also called, “What do blogs do when they’re alone?”

I wonder what a blog does when nobody’s viewing it. Does it get lonely? Does it run amok and mix up all its characters and throw letters across posts and then jump back into place as soon as somebody clicks on one of its links? Do its posts talk to each other? That would be weird for the blog, wouldn’t it? Bit like schizophrenia… Well, maybe not, if there aren’t any guest posts. If it’s all the same writer, all the same voice, then I suppose that’s more of a busy brain than a disordered one. Those poor blogs with guest authors though… can you imagine it? Suddenly their page views dribble down to zero, and they expect a nice, quiet moment full of single-minded introspection, and then HOLY FUCK WHERE THE FUCK DID THAT VOICE COME FROM??? And some guest author just keeps babbling on, while the poor home blog starts having a break down – Why don’t you sound like me? How are you talking to me? You say you’re a different person? But you’re here, in my blog! How can you not be me? And then some other guest author tries to step in and explain and HOLY FUCK THERE’S ANOTHER VOICE INSIDE ME OH SWEET JESUS I’M GOING CRAZY!

… Or maybe blogs are better at sorting that kind of thing out than I’m giving them credit for. Maybe it’s more like a love affair or something. You know, some guest author’s post making eyes at the top bits and bottom bits of the home author’s posts around it. Lots of winking going on and whatnot. Or maybe the blog has an orgy! All those authors milling around, linking to each other, getting hot and steamy about their topics all on one blog…

Eh. Perhaps I’ll just leave unviewed blogs to their privacy.

In any case, keep clicking! Who knows what you might come across, if you happen to be the lucky one who stumbles upon a quiet moment and catches my blog unaware 😉

I believe this is suitably creepy for this blog post...

I believe this is suitably creepy for this blog post…

** This story maaaay have been inspired in part by a section from the children’s book A Little Princess **

New Things

26 Dec

Well, it’s time for some updating. Getting personal. Chatting with y’all. All that jazz.

Get ready for some not-so-serious kinda-brain-dead rambling, though. No, this isn’t going to be one of those posts where I really talk about the dark and deep and dangerous. This is just some jibbering I’ve got to get done.

Because, first update, I’ve spent the Christmas holiday fairly mentally washed out. A few days ago, the world of microbiota apparently decided that it wanted to give me a Christmas gift as well, in the form of a sinus infection con headache con sore throat con cough con stuffy nose. I know. The world of microbiota really outdid itself this year.

And yeah, being sick over the holidays has sucked. Especially since this was supposed to be the least stressful part of my winter break. I’m in Miami with my boyfriend and his family, away from the cold and the snow and family tension. But you know what? Being sick has inspired a few niceties of its own. My boyfriend has further proved himself amazing, giving me hugs and tissues and water bottles as necessary. Today, he even made me hot chocolate. Because I’d seen a commercial that happened to have hot chocolate in it and suddenly wanted some. And we’re not talking the Swiss Miss, microwave a cup of water and dump in a packet of cocoa powder. We’re talking William Sonoma, heat milk slowly over a stove, whisk in chocolate shavings while standing there for ten minutes kind of hot chocolate. And damn, was it good.

My literary world, on the other hand, is exploding in a much better, entirely mucus-free kind of way. I’m loving my Facebook feed – over the past months, it’s become increasingly more concentrated with updates from authors and poets, many of whom I’m now privileged to call friends, who are writing new manuscripts and publishing old ones and submitting articles and going on writerly retreats – and it’s awesome. Sure, sometimes I get intensely jealous of what I see everyone else is up to, but the impetus is inspiration, too. “Look at all these things that other people are doing; Mike Rosen is submitting poems, Tim Manley turned his Tumblr into a novel, Kim’s posted another stupendously colorful blog entry – I want to do all these things.”

Sure, I’ve got a couple of freelance jobs underway, and I’m in the middle of the mire that is my five year old manuscript that I told myself I’d finish editing this year, and I’ve started sketching out some ideas for future novels… but somehow, none of it seems “serious” enough to me. I’m building up relationships with other “legit” authors and artists and publicists, I’ve gotten a few short stories out there in various publications, a few of my blog posts have flown off the hit charts this year… but still, I feel stagnant. I don’t have an official editor or agent. I’ve yet to make it from the realms of Barnes & Noble’s online store to their actual shelves. There’s still a lot of work I could do. Should do. Want to do.

Just… gotta get rid of these clarity-consuming germs first 😉

And then there’s a change I’ve been thinking about for a while…

My blog name.

“The Quill Writings” – formal, professional, and if you ask me, flat-out boring. It’s not catchy. It doesn’t have any personality. It’s not distinctive or descriptive. It’s just… Eh. Blah. All those sorts of onomatopoeic monosyllables.

So. I’m thinking about changing it.

I chose it about a year ago, when I was looking for something to headline the industrial effort that was my foray into more public writing. It was simple, discrete. The quill as a writing instrument is something I’ve always had a fascination with. It’s deep in the history of writing, giving writers a physical tie to one’s work. It recalls a time when one could distinguish writers by the ink left on their fingers. Even these days, a quill is a writerly gift. And then, of course, there’s the presence of quills in the classrooms of wizardry students like Harry Potter. Harry Potter? Done and done.

But… as colorful a background as the quill might have, as a word, it’s still pretty meh. I mean, I think about the names my favorite bloggers have entitled their sites: Katherine Fritz’s “I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog,” Allie Brosh’s “Hyperbole and a Half,” and my friend Kim’s “Terror and Frosting.”

Yeah. I could do better.

I don’t have many ideas right now… Germs and brain and cytokines and all that. So, while I’m still here, recovering from this lovely holiday visit from the world of microbiota, I’m inviting you all, if you’re looking for some procrastination material, to throw some of your own ideas at me. Brainstorm some high pressure systems. Mind spew! I’ll be here in the meantime, cuddling with my tissue box.

bloggedy blog blogs

17 Dec

In which I say to hell with grammar and tell you about some other awesome blogs. NO, you don’t need to buy anything, repost anything, sell your soul to corporate America for anything, or any such nonsense.

I’m just writing this post to say, “Oh hey, it’s the winter holidays when we’re supposed to be sharing and giving and spreading joy throughout livingkind and stuff, so how ’bout I do some of that with my readers?” ‘Cause, you know, there are other bloggers besides me (oh god please don’t leave me I love you all I need you please please stay and keep giving me someone to write for *continue desperate begging of an underly-caffeinated Miceala*) – and of those other bloggers, there are some who make me laugh and smile and nod approvingly at their writerly wit that I think they’re worth telling y’all about too.

So. Really what I’m doing is just giving you a bigger reading list. That’s a good thing, right?

Anyhoo. On to my fangirling.

 

I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog, Katherine Fritz

Okay, maybe it’s just that this woman has the same sarcastic snark that I do, but I consistently love her posts. Every. single. one. And that’s no easy feat for a blogger. And when I say her posts are real, I don’t just mean in the “Hallmark touchy-feely” sense. I mean that her posts are filled with all the fucks and damns and laughter and pissyness and appreciation and grunge and lust and luster of a typical day in the life of a twenty-something. She’s got mega-good insights without being preachy or trite, and she’s blunt without being crass. She’s a freelance costume designer in Philly, so a lot of her posts are about artsy stuff, but she also posts about everything and anything. Including mistaking sweater fluff for a spider. Best. Halloween post. ever.

 

Mommy Man, Jerry Mahoney

So a lot of you have probably already heard me go on and on about this dad-superman-comedian-gay guy writer in a previous post about the book he’s got coming out in March. He’s hilarious, he loves his kids and will tell you about them in all their awkward, selfish, innocent, just-barely-not-a-toddler glory, and he’s got some pretty interesting thoughts to share on what it’s like being a gay stay-at-home-dad in today’s times.

 

The Blog, Patrick Rothfuss

Apparently Patrick Rothfuss is *just too busy* finishing up that third book of his to come up with a wittier name for his blog. To be fair, the man’s throwing his energy into being a family man, a fantasy writer, an expert geek, and a cultural critique, and he’s got so much excellence outputting there, it’s understandable that he didn’t feel the need to agonize over his blog title. But seriously, if you want to keep up with the goings-on of someone I think is one of the world’s most interesting people, check out his blog. Also follow him on Facebook – not for publicity’s sake, but because a lot of the best snippets he writes show up as status posts rather than blog entries.

 

Let’s share the blogginess! I’m always happy to find other excellent internet writers out there I can use to procrastinate on work by reading their posts. So comment with your favorites! 😀

Life As A College Vegan

27 Dec

LAACV logo

For activism, animals, and adventure, check out my blog, Life As A College Vegan!