Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Too Much Story World?...Unemployment Check In...My Purpose In Life

These days I drift along in my story world, allowing myself full rein of my imagination. I spend all my time either writing, agonizing that I'm not writing, and/or thinking and feeling stories and characters. On Monday, I told myself I would only spend 2-3 hours tops writing before I turned my attention to something else. I wrote for 10 hours without stopping. I don't even know how I did it. I didn't think I was taking that much time but I started around 4:00 pm, looked at the clock and it was 7:30 pm, then it was 11:30 pm, then those last two and half hours of strange magical time, then I checked the clock and it was close to 2:00 am and realized I have to walk the dog and go to sleep.

My characters hang around me in groups, visit me in dreams, flood my fantasies. It's a scary place to be sometimes. I've been wondering if I'm letting myself get pulled too far into my inner life. It's been a long time since I've let myself really inhabit this place.

There's always a barrier. Some fine line. The main barrier is I only give myself full rein when I'm physically writing about my characters or story. The rest of the time stories and characters drift in and out on the surface of my conscious mind but the real meat happens below the surface. This is partly how my "muse" operates and part defense mechanism. I have this secret fear that if I leap full on into my inner life during waking hours (and I'm not filtering it through the physical act of writing) I'll never come back out.

Sometimes I wonder about that too. If my brain chemistry does a radical shift and I lose my mind at least I know where I'll end up and who I'll be talking to (so will you). Gryphon and Mock Turtle are always together. If we're not together then I'm certain I'll go looking for him. Lately, I've been seeing this imaginary world, the story world, and my characters as a kind of afterlife too. No one knows what happens when we die. I have as good a chance of ending up in my story world as I have of going to Heaven or Hell after I die. I mean, why not?

I'm so broke. I have financial help, thank God, but even with it the beginning of the month was pretty scary. As it is, I've got no money for the next week or so. Still, having no money for a week is a better situation than some people. I'd be all right if I didn't have to pay full price for my health insurance. It's a hazard of being unemployed.

I'm still surprisingly relaxed about not having a job. In a month or two things will be tougher if this continues but I keep thinking that I don't want to go back to the 9-5 grind. I like having all this extra time. I wonder if I can figure out a way to earn a living without having to go back to that. Food for thought.

I've been concerned about my reluctance to share my stuff with people, as I've noted in previous posts. I have yet to show anybody even portions of my novel after working on it for so long. I tell myself I'm not ready. I tell myself people don't deserve it. I tell myself it's not fit for sharing. I think this is the reason I've been putting off working on the next draft. When I'm done with it, the novel will more or less be a cohesive whole and ready for someone else to read and comment on. The thought of getting to that point makes my stomach drop.

It's an odd paradox because I've figured out my purpose in life. It might even be considered almost a divine purpose. More on that in a moment. My purpose in life is to tell stories. Not much of a stretch, I know. My job is to tell people stories and to do that I need to hone my storytelling skills and get those stories out there. My stories are needed in this world.

Needed in this world. Know what that means? It means I can't just write my stories down and hide them in a password protected file on my desktop so no one can find them. It means I can't spend years working on a story and never show it to anyone. As for the divine part, I only came to this conclusion because many times when I'm writing, amazing stuff happens to my plot, characterizations, etc. I'm always surprised and delighted and I don't know where this stuff comes from. Sometimes it feels like it's coming through me from somewhere, that I'm merely a conduit for something greater than myself. Sounds hokey but that's how it feels.

People go on spiritual quests, read self-help books (I've done my share), and take seminars to discover their purpose in life. I guess I should feel lucky that I've found it.

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