Friday, April 29, 2011
I feel stymied. Frozen by fear. Fear that if I move, if I do, if I say something I'm going to break, I'm going to hurt myself, hurt him, make things so much worse. So I do nothing. Say nothing. Put all my energy in not doing. In getting by in silence. I am not silent by nature. It's not fucking easy for me.
Ironically, I've been more active this week than I have in months. At least, all in a row. I've been out and walking, carrying, pushing, every day but Wednesday. I needed to sleep, I was exhausted. But I was out again yesterday. I'm hoping to go out today. But as usual, I'm afraid.
My fear pisses him off. I don't think he understands how paralyzing it can be. Maybe he's been here. Maybe he's beaten it and doesn't understand how I can't. But I can't. It's part of who I am. I can fight it, but it will never be gone.... It will win sometimes, and sometimes I win. I'm not as strong as I wished I was. I know I'm not as strong as he thought. Everyone gets disappointed in me for that at some point. I've seen it in the eyes of everyone who has ever believed in me. They do it wrongly. I'm not worth it. Even when I worn people, they don't believe until I disappoint them. =/
Maybe I have some kind of anxiety disorder. It's totally possible. I mean, who gets afraid of going on the subway when they haven't for a week or so? Who is afraid of rush hour on the subway to the point of avoiding going out?! Who is afraid to go to the gym because they haven't been in months? It's not that I'm worried about what the people that work there will think, it's not even that I've forgotten etiquette or how to work the machines.... I'm just..... afraid. I can't explain it. It doesn't make any sense. Maybe it's because I'm even bigger now, and I'll be the fattest person there. I mean, fuck, I was before, but now I'm fucking gargantuan. *sigh* Maybe I just don't want to be seen... I'm embarrassed by how I look, by my ugly body, by my weakness for getting myself here. It's my own damn fault and I know it. But that doesn't feel right either. That's not why I'm afraid. The fear has no logic. Perhaps that's the sign of mental illness.
Not much of a surprise. I've been battling depression on and off since I was 13 maybe? Maybe 15? I've been battling pain since I was 15 too. Correlation? Maybe, but the pain wasn't constant back then. It's only been constant for the past 6 years. Six fucking years. And there's no end in sight. This is how the rest of my life is going to be. A battle for every day. And I'm going to lose more than I win. I'm going to be fucking useless like I am now. I just don't have the strength to fight like I know I need to. I just. I don't have it in me. I don't.
We hate in others what we hate in ourselves, the bits we try to hide. I hate weakness. To me, it's unforgivable. And it's my most hated flaw. I'm weak. I have no discipline, no drive, no determination, no motivation. I let the fear win. I let the pain win. I have no fight left. I'm weak. And I hate it. But I can't fix it. I just don't know how.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
See, I had this dream, and it stole into my brain the setting for this story. A hot city street, so hot there were heat waves rolling off the pavement. Flat roofed, five story apartment buildings with stores on the first level lined the street. Above the street everyone had windows open, fans on. Old woman were sitting in the shade of their balconies with hand fans, trying to beat the heat. Above the street there were wires strung from one building across the four lane street to a sister building on the other side of the street. Maddie is sitting in her convertible at a red light. She looks up to see a young man start across one of the wires. On the other side another young man appears. The two young men walk to each other, long heavy poles in their arms. There are men on the ground watching, some are taking money, making bets. There is an eagerness to the men that wasn't there a moment ago. The heat forgotten as they watch the young men risk their lives. The light turns green, a horn honks, Maddie tears her eyes from the young men, and speeds on to her next job site, utterly flabbergasted.
I don't know why, I guess because of the later dream, I just always assumed the above scene would happen in a Hispanic district of some kind. It's just where my brain went with it.... But that would mean Southern US. Arizona, New Mexico, or Miami Florida maybe. The more I look into a real city, the more I realise I don't know shit about life in places like that. I mean, jesus fuck, how do you survive regular summer highs of 40˚C???? How do you live without a lake, or river near you? How do you live without a good source of clean, fresh water? I live in Canada, on the great lakes for fuck's sake. I really don't understand land locked at all.
I just don't think I can write about a city I don't know..... So much for wanting it to take place somewhere in Arizona. *sigh* I just can't picture life there. Now I have to figure out how to make it believable *here*.
Hell, can it be?? I mean, I wanted part of the 'in' for Maddie was that she spoke Spanish or Mexican (I don't even know if there is a difference. Ignorant, I am). But if it takes place here what's the likelihood of there even being a Spanish/Mexican/Cuban/something Hispanic community, or hell, even just one of the young men being Hispanic of some variety?? I mean, I live here, but honestly, I don't think I could tell Hispanic from general Caucasian without hearing them speak. I see other Countries represented, but it's more clear.... Can I just assume there has to be some number of Hispanics here since Toronto is such a diverse community? I don't mean assume there is like an area that is very Hispanic, I haven't found that to be true, but would it be too much of a coincidence if at least one of the young men was from Mexico, just as Alejandro's family was?? Hrm.. I just.. I don't know...
What I do know is, I can't fake American. Maddie is... well, she's a demon, so that needs to show through, but.... Land locked, hot as fuck cities? I don't think I could fake that. I'd have better luck with Miami. At least I've seen aerial views with CSI Miami, not that I believe I know the city from a tv show, but at the very least I've seen bits of it which is more than I can say for the rest!
If feels kinda.... boring writing about Toronto, but I don't know any other city, aside from my hometown, even in the least. I mean, I have the GTA in my brain, I have a feel of them, but elsewhere, not a clue. I've visited Montreal more than any other city, and I don't think I could write about it. There is a culture there that is foreign to me, I wouldn't get the feel right. So I guess I'm stuck writing about what I know. That's a saying though, isn't it? "Write what you know".
It's not that I wanted to hide that I'm Canadian or anything of the sort. I love where I live! It's just......I had an image in my head, and where I live didn't seem to fit in a reality/believe-ability kind of way. Maybe it's the hole tightrope walkers thing.... But I want that to be crazy. That's the point.
Maybe I'm thinking too much.
I thought I'd share my assignment... In 250 words I had to describe the childhood bedroom of a character. Here it is as I handed it in:
Sun filtered through the curtains, soaking the room in warm yellow light. The faint smell of apple perfume, and melted wax hung in the air. A feminine wallpaper of tiny red roses covered three walls; the fourth had a vintage Disney print and was the only wall not covered in some kind of poster. A dark oak double bed anchored one corner of the room. The headboard was a series of nooks, crammed full of stuffed animals, meticulously arranged. An alarm clock was nestled between two bunnies and a bear in the nearest nook. The bed was neatly made, with a chocolate brown, plush velvet pound puppy placed delicately on top. A quilt in soft hues of greens and blues, showing signs of recent repair with brighter patches here and there, covered the bed. At the end of the bed, pushed against the wall, sat a folded quilt in bright blues and white. In the opposite corner, behind the door, was an abandoned Lego city. Above it was a small bookcase. The bottom shelf was empty but for a handful of notebooks. The top shelf held a budding collection of fantasy novels. "Is this the real life, is this just fantasy," rang out from the boom box sitting on the edge of a glassy black dresser across from the bed. In the last corner was a matching, tall, glassy black dresser. The tops of both dressers were barely visible under the crush of toiletries, costume jewelry, candles and the like.
And below is what it became after revision, using suggestions from my teacher and classmates. I couldn't keep it under 250 words and make it what I wanted it to be, so this is 320-ish words:
Sunlight soaked the room in warm yellow light. Apple perfume, and melted wax hung in the air. Rosebud wallpaper covered three walls. Scenes of Mickey Mouse frolicking with his compatriots repeated across the fourth wall, even Pooh, Tiger, Piglet and Eeyore were there, all sketched in thin grey lines, some coloured in, others half drawn as if the artist had just walked away and would be back any moment. In spots hidden away from grown-up eyes, the wall was lovingly coloured in by small hands and waxy crayons. A full size oak bed anchored one corner of the room. The headboard was a series of nooks, crammed full of stuffed animals, meticulously arranged. An alarm clock was nestled between two bunnies and a bear in the nearest nook. In the opposite corner, behind the door, was an abandoned Lego city. Above it was a small bookcase. The bottom shelf was empty but for a handful of notebooks. The top shelf held a budding collection of fantasy novels. "Is this the real life, is this just fantasy," rang out from the boom box sitting on the edge of a glassy black dresser across from the bed. In the last corner was a matching, tall, glassy black dresser. The tops of both dressers were barely visible under the crush of toiletries, costume jewellery, candles, and the like. A thirteen year old girl sat cross-legged on the neatly made bed, a chocolate brown, plush velvet pound puppy gripped in one arm. She started down at the journal in her lap, her long wavy hair a dark shroud around her. A tear dropped to the page blurring the fresh ink. Her free hand caressed the quilt under her. Her fingers roamed the patches, some smoothed with age, others crisp and new. She revelled in the feel of the stitching, rough against her palm, strong and familiar. This was home, so why did she feel so lost?
Thoughts? Opinions? Maybe?
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Learned two very important lessons in class today.
(ONE) Always bring a spare pen
(TWO) Only trouble makes for an interesting story
I went very low key in terms of accessories for this class. Not even a real notebook. Just a clipboard, pad of paper and a pen. Yeah. A pen. On the bright side, my pen died with ten minutes left in class, not at the beginning! I will be bringing two pens from now on.
In today's class we talked about story arc, and how conflict and tension breed interest. I'm not good with conflict. Not in real life, not in stories. I often have the beginnings of a story, but it's the conflict bit where I fall flat. At least knowing what needs to be there will help me create stories around ideas and characters I've created/found/invented. And my teacher gave me a wonderful tidbit, in that she said writers often find characters, and create scenes, create lives for them, before they invent the conflict that will make their lives a story worth telling. This makes me happy. I've gotten that far, I have people and a place, I've started to write about them, and then it just feels flat, or I'm unsure where to take things. This class totally gave me something to think of, another way to view the creation of a story. Even through all the pain, you can tell I'm excited. Can't you? Well, I am.
This week's assignment is interesting, I have to write a very short piece about two people in a car having a fundamental conflict: one wants something the other isn't willing to give. I've been thinking all week about what kind of conflict I want to write about, what characters I want to use. To be perfectly honest, I don't want to invent anyone new. I'm just not that good at it. But mostly, I really want to work on Maddie and her world, make it more real, make it solid, believable. I want her story to work. I want there to be a viable story there! So I'm thinking of Alejandro and Maddie in the car. I'll still need to do character work as I don't feel like I have Alejandro nailed down yet, he's still too nebulous for me. So I want to do that before I begin, or as I work on it anyway.
I'm not sure how well my idea will work... The argument I want Maddie and Alejandro to have aren't one I want to fully explain to my class. They are all so middle class, white bread, vanilla beans. I just don't think I could. So I'm going to have to be careful about it.. Also, with the wording, I'm not sure how exact we are meant to be. I'm thinking Maddie wants Alejandro to go with her to a party at her friends, and he refuses. Argument ensues. 250 words is not a lot to get that all out. I hope I can manage it.
I doubt I'll have time, but another fun idea I had would be Jazz, my succubus assassin arguing with her manager on a phone headset while speeding down a highway in a stolen sports car. Arthur, her manager wants her to take a job that's on her NO list (children, families, politicians), but the money was so good, he just had to ask her first. I like the juxtaposition of the revving car, the sleezy manager, and calm Jazz. We'll see. I still haven't done the demon bar idea from assignment one. Chronic pain, it eats time.
I can't get his words out of my head, "I'm tired, and in pain, and you're nagging me!"
My first thought was, 'great, I've turned into what I wanted to never be - the nagging wife'. My second thought, for better or worse, was, 'now you know how I feel.'
I'm tired and in pain every moment of every day, whether I'm awake or asleep, I'm still in pain, I'm still exhausted. I have to push myself to do anything. Showering, making something to eat, hell, even eating, it's all hard to manage. Some days I don't manage at all.
My body twitches, sometimes violently because my muscles are exhausted by the pain. Do you have any idea how demoralizing that is?! To know that even my muscles are calling foul, even they can't handle the pain I feel. How the hell am I supposed to cope with this?! If my muscles can't take it, how am I to cope mentally, emotionally with it all?
I'm just so damn tired of being in pain, tired of being so exhausted all the time. How the hell am I to survive this?? I want to get better, I want to get healthier, but that just feels like cherries on the sundae right now. How the bleeding hell am I supposed to handle 'dinner', never mind 'desert'??
I keep waiting to feel better. I keep waiting for a day where I'm not overwhelmed in pain, but that day never comes. Some days I'm in so much pain it makes me nauseous, some days the pain is at more of a level where I can ignore it, can push through it, at least for awhile. Today I'm nauseous. I'm exhausted. I want to go back to sleep. I could sleep all day. But I have a class to go to. *Sigh*
This is not what I hoped my life would be.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
So, I've had my first class. It's a tiny group, only 6 students! Which is good and bad I think. Good because I'll be less scared reading something I've written, bad because more exposure to other budding writers can't be a bad thing.
Setting is our first topic. Thinking about what our teacher said has me realising just how BAD I am at setting. So this is good. Hopefully by reading the things she gave us, and hearing what others write, and just plain thinking about it/practicing myself I should hopefully get better. Right?
I haven't started my assignment yet though. I'm totally at a loss as to what setting to write about. We basically have the choice of writing about a place that is familiar to us, as in our childhood bedroom, or home, or writing about some character's childhood bedroom or home, as seen from the point of view of being a grown-up and looking at how the setting has changed/not changed.
I really don't want to write about myself or my own home. It's just... too damn personal. I feel like I'm really putting myself out on a limb just with the whole sharing of my work, sharing my life just...... I don't think I'm brave enough for that.
On the other hand, I'm terrible at setting a scene, so it might be easier for me to write about a place that I'm actually familiar with instead of some place totally fictional.
I just can't seem to decide what to do! *sigh*
I also sort of want to write about Maddie's home because I really want to make the story of her and Alejandro work. I'm not sure if I've 'got something' with it, but I know it's..... a reflection of my own life right now, and part of me feels like if I can't work out a solution for the fictional me, then I'm never going to work out one for myself that I'm happy with either. I want to make it work for her. I want hope. I want to feel hopeful. I want to chase away the fear and defeat. I don't want to be lost and useless, and I don't want Maddie to be either damnit.
But back to the point. Setting... someplace from someone's childhood. I'm just. hrm. I'm not entirely sure. I've got a good bit of time I think. Like all of tomorrow, and part of Sunday and all of Monday. Today what I really want to do is something useful in my own personal life. I need to feel like I'm making headway there before I do this otherwise my attention is going to be...all over the place. So, off to tape off part of the living room for painting! ^_^
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Today is the first day of my creative writing class, and I'm nervous. I'm sure it will be fine, but I just can't help the nerves. It's always the details that worry me, not the action. For instance, the first time I traveled alone I was more worried about my luggage being under weight, and if I was going to have to pick it up at LAX, then to re-check it, because my ticket said I might, than I was about the actual traveling alone. heh.
So today, true to form, I'm more worried about being able to find my classroom, what I need to bring, if I'm going to have to prove who I am, than I am the actual class. I guess I figure the class will take care of itself, it's all the details that keep me nervous. Though I am nervous about meeting my classmates, and what they will be like. I don't actually figure on making friends, I'm not very good at that anyway. *sigh* I just hate having to explain myself to people and being judged for my circumstances in life.
I am looking forward to it. I really do want to improve my writing. It's something I've always loved to do, and since I can't do fuck all else with myself at this point, why not give the pipe dream a shot? My mom's comment of, "so you think you can write do you?" really irks me, but then she didn't really think I could finish university and come out the other side with an engineering degree. It's not so much because she didn't think I was smart, more that she never finished any kind of schooling, and I don't think all of her kids finished high school, never mind doing more, so it's just so out of her scope she couldn't fathom it. It took me awhile not to take it personally. I don't think I really understood until I'd graduated and she'd explained part of it to me. She was so genuinely proud of me then, I knew there was no malice in her words before. So I'm know I need to take this the same way. I mean, she even mentioned a friend of my aunt's has a couple children's books published and how unbelievable it is to think we know someone that's a published author. It also helps that she's never read anything I've written as an adult, so she has no way of knowing if I can or can't write.
Anyway, I'm babbling and stalling, and trying to fill my mind with other things so I won't panic, or let my nerves eat me. Gah. It will be fine. I know it will. I just sincerely hope they don't need me to prove who I am. I don't have any ID with my married name on it. I thought my damn health card would be here by now, but noooo. Bah. I really need to get on changing my name with the bank and such. doh.