Grad school exacerbated my bipolar. I’ve mentioned that before. And it took away my writing completely for four horrible years. And what’s worse was that I felt it going away. I took some creative writing classes and suddenly had nothing at all to say. Each piece was a struggle, and as I finished the final story, I realized that there simply were no more ideas. None at all.
It wasn’t just a matter of writer’s block. Writer’s block implies a hurdle that one can overcome. There was nothing at all in my way. I was still sitting down regularly, trying every trick I knew, and there was just nothing there. I composed graduate essays, scraped by on mostly A’s (but one C), and stared at my keyboard and the empty words I put on the page.
And then I stopped sitting at the keyboard, because it was so depressing. I finished two Master’s degrees, got married, and found a job, though not in that order. And none of those things held any words for me. I experienced those things, truly loved some of them. And yet they were just events. Things to enumerate. And every day, I died some.
And then my daughter was born and I needed medication to get through from hour to hour. I knew the Zoloft was working when I was sitting struggling to nurse Caroline and suddenly thought of a sentence. In that moment, I understood where the writing had gone, and I began to hope that I could bring it back.
I could not unplug that baby from my tit fast enough.
The story that sentence launched never got finished. I realized halfway through that it sucked and I didn’t feel like revising it, not because I was out of ideas, but because my head was suddenly so brimming full of them that I couldn’t type fast enough. The next month, I started the short story that would ultimately become my novel (it was published last December; my daughter is 8; writing time was scarce for too long).
But I remember sitting there looking at the chunky mess of “The Wallet Murder”, and thinking, even as I realized that the story was a trasher, “Hello old friend. I’ve missed you. I’ve missed you so much.”
Sorry. Madame Syntax Here. I just wanted to say that one of my biggest pet peeves is people who spell “exacerbated” “exasperated”. That is all.
Wait. You interrupted me for THAT? Would you let me READ already?
This week, the folks at Write on Edge challenged us to write about friendship in 400 words. I seriously did not expect to go in this direction with that prompt.
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.