I Have a Hole and I’m Leaking

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Over the past year I’ve been extremely lucky. I’ve had 9 months off with my wonderful wife and the adorable baby Dragon. I’ve finished a book, started two, and finalized one that will be published in early September. A lot of other awesome things have happened.

Unfortunately, I’m currently struggling with some issues. Mostly anxiety and stress. I hurt my neck in June and even though I’m getting treated and it’s getting better, I’ve been in near constant pain for two and a half months. It’s made it hard to sleep and concentrate.

Work has been extra stressful. I was hoping that coming back in summer would mean a slow readjustment period. That wasn’t the case; there were some issues while I was gone and I’ve been thrown into some intense work. It’s work that I have little control over and that has to be done quick which makes me extremely uncomfortable.

So the combination of anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, pain, and work has caused a few issues (current events aren’t helping much). At the worst, I feel trapped that causes mini panic attacks; at best I’m completely wiped.

It feels like I am a cup and I hold all my creative energy and motivation inside, but lately I’ve felt like my cup has a hole and every time I try to tap into that energy and motivation, it drains away too fast. I fill it up by gaming, reading, watching TV, and dreaming but it still drains away faster than I’d like.

I’m dealing with it and doing my best to try and get stuff done despite the lack of motivation, but it’s not always easy. Wife and Dragon cuddles help a lot. Same with taking time to do things that I find fun.

Please be patient with me as I work this out. I might be a little bit hermit-like and grumpy.

Thank you for reading,

Éric

Writing About Death

Hello Imaginary Friends,

I suck with negative emotions. I seriously have issues handling them. My normal reactions are to either get angry or numb. Sometimes both.

Whenever I need to deal with those kinds of feelings I write about them. (sorry for being a meta.) If I could deal with every situation by writing at or about it, I’d be a lot more comfortable. Obviously this isn’t a viable way to deal with the world. You have to go out there and hug people and feel your way through things. But written words are so much more safe.

Death is the most terrifying and the most life changing of all. In genre writing there is a stereotype of the death loving author. We cackle in glee as we kill one character after another, happily ripping your heart out. It’s a stereotype that writers love to promulgate and it’s a total lie.

We hate killing characters as much as you hate it, sometimes more. Remember that our imaginations brought them into the world and through a quirk of storytelling they had to die.

It’s an unwritten rule that death, in stories, must have a reason. Even when it seems utterly senseless, in a story there is always a reason for death. It’s such a major life changing and emotionally charged event that it has no choice but be important.

It’s easy for a writer to overuse death and with time it starts to lose its significance and the reader becomes desensitised. A good writer will make you feel and think about the death and let you grieve. A bad writer will pile bodies up like a bad slasher movie.

The essential narrative of death in stories makes death in the real world seem ever more senseless and stupid. No matter what we say or do few deaths in the real world make sense.

My in-laws lost their Grand-Matriarch last night. She passed in her sleep surrounded by family in her mid-nineties. It’s a great loss to the entire family and my heart goes out to them.

She was a strong willed woman with a great sense of humour and a large heart.

She’ll be missed.

Éric

Shame, Biking, and Sadness

Reading Shame

So the other day I read an article from a successful author, saying that it’s ok to read young adult literature but that you should still be ashamed of it. I raged and sputtered and beat my chest like some sort of primal monkey man and howled my anger. (It was just in my head but I was on the bus at the time.)

I had planned to give my usual rant at people being classist etc. but S.M. Carrière beat me to it and probably said it with more tact and finesse than I would have. Go read her response.

One quote that S.M. didn’t go into that had me frothing at the mouth late that night was this:

“Let’s set aside the transparently trashy stuff like Divergent and Twilight, which no one defends as serious literature. I’m talking about the genre the publishing industry calls ‘realistic fiction.’”

True I haven’t read Divergent and I loathe Twillight but to automatically dismiss two of the best selling novels in YA and then say that they are “Transparently Trashy” is not only harsh but sort of hint that she thinks all Speculative Fiction in the YA Genre isn’t serious literature. GAH!!!!

I might not be the best person to say this (seeing as I primarily write YA, Fantasy, and Scifi) but Spec-Fic and YA are great genres that exist to challenge our perception of the world. To say that they aren’t real literature is ignorant, classist, bullshit.

YA is a beautiful and clean pallet that allows an author to ignore and mix common story structures that wouldn’t be allowed in adult literature.

Writing

I restarted writing Parasomnia yesterday. I had taken May off of writing and I feel it was a good decision. I needed to remember why I love writing. As I get older I’m having a harder time adjusting to new things and moving/ buying a house threw off my groove. (The two horrible colds back to back didn’t help either.)

I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to get back into writing this novel but when I started yesterday the words just flowed out of me. It was a great feeling and one that has calmed me down.

It’s been 4 months since I last heard from the publishing company that said they’d get back to me soon. I emailed them last week but I’ve decided I’ll email their generic email at the end of this month and If I haven’t heard anything by my birthday (17th of July) I’ll contact the various editors that I’ve spoken too.

It’s frustrating because I’ve heard great things from this company and I really liked them in person but I’m a little sick of waiting and I feel like I’m being jerked around. I realise I’m about as important as a slug to them but… sigh.

If you’ve noticed I did something that I’ve never done before. I wrote a sequel to a “word of the day” story. Several people were very upset about not getting more story so I decided I’ll make it a random serial. Expect more from Felix in the future. Start here to read the story.

Biking

Another thing that went on the back burner while I was sick was biking. I had always told myself that if I lived in an area that connected to Ottawa’s awesome bike trails, I’d bike to work. Well I managed to bike in once and bike home once. It was HARD. Google maps said it would take 45 minutes but it took me close to an hour and a half and I was sticky, hot, and wobbly the rest of the day.

Almost immediately after I started the back of my knee started to hurt. So between the plague and my knee pain I haven’t done it again. I’m frankly terrified of it and that makes me sad.

I’m a big guy and I always have been. Even at my healthiest when I the hint of abs, I was 40 pounds heavier than what doctors say I should be. Since then I’ve gained more than I’d like, biking was supposed to be the fun and happy activity that would help me slim down and be happier.

I haven’t given up. I’ll talk to my doctor about the knee and if he gives his permission I’ll try to do it at least once a week.

Breaking Down is ok

A lot of people I know have issues with depression in early or late winter. I’m different; I struggle with it in spring and summer. I think it has something to do with my severe seasonal allergies and my hate of heat. It’s not normally that bad but the other day I broke down.

I mean a full breakdown, getting angry at my wife for an innocent comment, crying on the bus, deep-feeling of complete failure type of depression.

It was a bad day. The biking, the weight, the lack of success in writing (combined with the utter slowness of the industry) all made me want to curl up into a ball and make ugly sobbing noises.

The next day I felt better. Nothing much has changed since the breakdown but I feel hopeful.

Sometimes it’s important to let yourself feel the sadness in order to get over it. It’s healthy. I think.

It’s important to remember that you can’t be happy all the time. Sometimes you have to be sad and that’s ok.

 

That’s more than enough from me today. How do you deal with sadness?

Éric