Sunday, April 21, 2019

Thirty Pieces of Tarnish

You can't fix a blank piece of paper.
 - Neil Gaiman

Life gets in the way, sometimes.

Back in college, back when my brain was still scrambled, when I was still dealing with untreated depression, I had a singular way of coping with stress. Apathy. The more things would beat me down, squeeze me, chew me out... the less I would care. It might have been great for my blood pressure, but it was terrible for my mental state.

These days, I'm talking. Sometimes I'm talking to empty rooms, or to the air when I think I'm alone. I'm still dealing with the depression, but it's no longer untreated; I'm not letting it push me around. I'm tracking my emotions, monitoring my mood swings, using my analytical focus to keep them under control... or at least stay more aware of when I'm unconsciously starting to float down to the deeper end of the pool.

Life definitely gets in the way, but without the psuedorandom interactions and stray words generated by the people around me, I wouldn't have a wellspring of creativity to draw from. I can't create as a blank slate, and I certainly don't want to be one.

every line is a mission to be
reclaimed and reconfigured,
stolen out of context
and repurposed for my own will.
 - from "2" by Ace Edmonds 

I don't think I've ever made it out the other side of April with thirty pieces of what certainly is too generous to be called silver. I certainly didn't do it this year, and the month isn't even over yet.

There are too many days, not where I'm too busy or too overwhelmed or too stressed out or too tired to write, where I'm too inattentive. Where bedtime comes and goes and my eyes droop and I slip into sleep not even realizing the missed deadline until I wake up fresh in the morning (using the term "fresh" generously) with the startling discovery that I didn't creatively write a single word the day before, and then I'm bustling to whatever I have to get done in the morning before whatever else I have to get done for that day, and the thought is poof gone... until the following morning, when I realize I've done it again.

Don't mistake this. I'm not living on cruise control. Been there, done that, this ain't it. I'm just doing other things, and I've long since come to terms with the fact that the only platform I'll ever be published on is this one. I just don't have the je ne se pas that people who live off their art need. I'm mostly okay with that; I'm doing work I enjoy with people I enjoy, and sure I sometimes come home with a fire in my heart because somebody did something stupid or upper management ignored all the things that I do (or forgot my name), again.

But I'm somewhere where I've found a nice and comfortable medium between getting paid nearly enough and not having a sh*t tonne of stress hanging over me day in and day out.

I'm... for the most part... happy. I like me, for once.

And if the price of that "general satisfaction" is being a little less productive on the artistic front, I think that's a small price to pay. The wellspring has by no means dried up, but I've installed a spigot and some days I forget to turn it on for a short time. It happens.