I haven’t been writing that much lately. I have been trying to get over a bout of self-doubt and depression. I’m happy about my acceptance, and I want some more acceptances so that I can apply for membership in the Science Fiction Writers of America, but then I think, am I really ready to get rejected some more? I thought I was fine with it, and I understand that rejections have nothing to do with my self worth, but I procrastinate on writing so I wonder if I’m not worried about the impending rejection round.
I have also been struggling to write during the week. I’ve been watching basketball and soccer at night, which I love watching again. The bubble ball concept seems to be a victory of science, so far. Sports really do play an important role in society, as much as they are overhyped and over-prioritized. I’ve enjoyed watching the games. I don’t really watch TV otherwise. Although I recently got Crunchyroll and I have been watching anime. I started with ERASED, which I am enjoying. I think it will help me supplement Japanese learning, which I also need to work on. But it’s not the TV that’s preventing me from writing during the week. I do have nights where I could be writing, and I let anxiety subsume me. I also have slept poorly this week, so I can never wake up early enough to write.
However, I do have some fun new ideas. I would like to write a novella, but I don’t have an idea for one yet. My idea for a WWII novel might mean too much research; I am not sure I have the commitment for a year of research into bomber crews. I may have to shelve that idea for a post-pandemic time. I haven’t exactly done any research on it in the last few months. I want to write a speculative fiction novella, perhaps with witches. I had an interesting conversation by text with a friend about neighbor disputes, and I was thinking neighbor disputes would make a fun backdrop for a story.
I’ve also still been trying to process the loss of a childhood friend. I lost touch with her for a couple years so I Googled her and then I found headlines that she had been murdered in a domestic violence dispute at the start of the year. Every so often I think about her and it still gnaws at me. Maybe writing would help. Maybe that’s morbid and opportunistic, but writing does help me process difficult emotions.
And I would like to write a chapbook of angry dystopian pandemic poetry and submit it to a small press contest. Lots of small presses publish poetry chapbooks, so if it gets rejected there are always others, or self publishing.
Plus, I still need to keep up with my goal of doing Ray Bradbury’s challenge to write a short story a week for a year. I find it has really invigorated my writing and short stories have improved my plotting, although I haven’t always stuck to the schedule.
I also would like to pitch journalism articles again. My first idea is a creative nonfiction reflection about how empowering I found it as a woman to shoot fine art nude photography. A lot of people just don’t get it and the community is pretty intriguing. I’ve been wanting to process my experiences with this for quite some time. I just am not sure about the right market. Perhaps a photography magazine. I should subscribe to MediaBistro for more market suggestions. I found Writer’s Market wasn’t all that useful because it loses timeliness quickly, and it only has a small selection of markets in a vast array of genres.
Last night I started my meditation program. The lamp I ordered offers some muted lighting that helps enormously, and I also prefer sitting on my bolster to sitting on the floor, though that will take getting used to. The zazu is stuffed with buckwheat hulls and can take a bit of maneuvering to adjust my seating position. I am trying an app called Calm for the seven-day free trial. It was cheaper than a lot of the meditation apps out there, $6 per month versus $15-20 per month. Guided meditation subscription prices are not very Zen. I tried to meditate on my own to calming music but it never really stuck. I am hoping guided meditation will give me more structure. I had a difficult time letting go of my racing thoughts, but by the end, I realized that’s the point. Your thoughts race, and then you focus on softening your eyelids. I would never have figured that out without the guide.
I have not exercised this week, although I did go for a hike on Tuesday and I did my lifting routine yesterday after work. I haven’t been able to wake up early enough to run. I’m going to have to start getting up at 5 a.m. if I am going to write a novella and a chapbook and short stories. They don’t write themselves. I’ve been trying to get past crushing sadness this week though. But maybe I am biting off more than I can chew again and setting myself up for failure.
This is however day 7 sober. I have been sober for a week a few times before so it’s not that big of a deal, but the way I was drinking before, I couldn’t moderate it and I was drinking every night. Drinking for self-medication always leads to a dependence for me in the end. So I am proud of myself. This time it is like my mentality suddenly switched. I need to be sober for my medicine, and that’s just what I need right now to get over my depression and anxiety.
I think sobriety also involves a kind of grief. My partner and I are going to the coast tomorrow for a day trip; the first time we have traveled since February. We’re going stir-crazy and we just want to go for a walk on the beach in the biting wind; besides, it’s supposed to be 100 degrees in the valley, so we want to escape the heat. Anyway, in the past a favorite activity of mine was to sit in a camp chair behind a sand dune, watching the waves, and sip on a can of a local craft beer. I have to give that up. Or when I would go to a sports game, I would have a beer. A lot of our parties and celebrations and fun activities are associated with booze. So it really is a kind of grief, letting go of that. Sometimes I think, “But just one…” But I know I can’t stick with just one now, so the correct amount for me these days is zero.
Our culture these days views alcohol as this morally loaded thing. Either you’re an alcoholic, and you need to go to AA meetings and admit that you are powerless against alcohol, or you’re just a stiff with a stick up their butt who is judging everyone for their alcohol use; bottoms up, loser. I still don’t think I am an alcoholic, but I have a tendency toward dependency, and I just don’t think it is very good for my mental health right now. I do not judge anyone for their alcohol use. Alcohol is kind of like meat. You say you don’t do either (I am not a vegetarian, but I don’t eat beef or pork) and everyone who imbibes instantly feels guilty. I think this kind of voice is missing in our culture, so that’s why I write about it.
Sobriety is helping me though. And I have been trying to think differently about social media. It can be toxic and full of fake people who will block you whenever they are offended. But it also serves a purpose. I have two friends I met through photography, a couple, and I lost touch with them. Their phone number doesn’t work any more, they don’t answer their email, and I can’t find them on social media anymore. So I worry about them, anyway. We were friends beyond online friends; we talked all the time and hung out a few times in person. When I think about rage-quitting all my social media platforms in disgust, and living a tranquil, stress-free life off the grid, I think, What if someone is searching for me and worried about me? It is a kind of connection, as tenuous as it is; it just can’t be a support system. It was never built for that, and expecting that of social media is always unfair to the people who use it. Spending less time on it during the day does help.
I have so many mixed emotions about the Biden-Harris ticket. I am hopeful about Kamala Harris, but she doesn’t have the most progressive record on crime and gun control, which doesn’t pair well with Biden’s conservative record on those issues. But I think the radical liberals are looking for any excuse to stay home. I am worried about them. I think their perfect election will never come. The system isn’t built for perfect candidates. But I will vote early, and I will use ballot drop off boxes instead of the postal service. Sad it has come to this. Politics in this country are equal parts depressing and enraging. The “not radical enough” crowd was followed depressingly enough by the racists.
That’s all for this edition. Saturday will be fun day (with Coca-Cola, not beer) and Sunday will be writing day. Got a lot to catch up on, as you can see. Happy Friday.