The Process

I am so amazed by my creative process.  I say “my creative process” because I can’t knowingly speak about that of others, but I’m sure everyone’s is just as incredible as my own.

Of course, the written word is the physical manifestation of my creative process, but there is much, much more that goes into it.  Before you can put words on the page, you have to have a story.  And before you can have a story, you have to have an idea.  And before you have an idea, you have to do a lot of what I call research.  My research consists of a few things – reading the works of other authors I enjoy, watching people, and allowing idle time for my subconscious to do her job.

I have always been a voracious reader since the moment I learned how.  If I don’t read for at least a couple of hours every single day I become irritable and emotionally constipated.  I know that sounds crude, but it’s the best way to describe it.  Reading is my therapy, my release, my solace, and my inspiration.  When I read something that particularly touches me it most definitely influences the way I write myself.  Vernacular, theme, genre, whatever – there’s always a bit of what I’m reading in what I write.

People watching is how I keep my imagination in good running order.  

Just this weekend, I was having lunch with my lover and I was completely fascinated by a trio of rough, redneck types at a table near us.  My lover asked me why I was watching them so intently, and said that I was making him nervous, but my interest was benign; I was simply imagining what their Friday night had been like.  They were eating lots of greasy food, in giant mounds on their plates, and I heard the man remark how he felt slight regret at “totally tripping out on some guy last night”, so in my mind’s eye I envisioned a raucous party.  One filled with cases of cheap beer, copious amounts of marijuana – and maybe even harder stuff – that took place in an old, slightly run down house in my hometown.  I imagined that the man I was watching caught another guy groping on his girlfriend. (Whom I imagined to be one of the two women at the table with him scarfing fried shrimp, constantly pushing her thin, greasy hair from her forehead.)  Then, in his thick Texas accent, swearing at every other word, and in true white trash form, he walloped the groper a good one, right in the face.  His drunk girlfriend screaming, “Yeah, Billy!  Fuck ‘em up! Hawww!”

I then quickly moved on to an rather ancient lady eating all by herself.

Everyone has a story, and not just the true to life ones, but the ones I create in my head.

The most remarkable part of my process though, is my own subconscious’ tribute.  Most of the time I curse her because it seems that she falls asleep on the job, totally shirking her responsibilities, leaving me to do all the work myself.  But when she finally checks in, she’s done more work in a single transmitted thought than I’d done in thousands of words on paper.

She’s why I’m writing this post, because just last night she hit me with a big one.  (Nighttime is always when she speaks, and usually when I’m just drifting off into Dreamland.  We’ll discuss how frustrating that is at another time.)

For the most part, my novel’s protagonist has been mapped out in my head (but of course, your characters often surprise you by going a completely different way), but there was a crucial element of her development that I was lacking.  It was like that feeling you get when what you’re trying to say is right on the tip of your tongue, but you just can’t get it out.  I had been struggling over said element since I started this novel in November, writing the bulk of the work with it sitting, so annoyingly, right below the surface of my consciousness.  The plot of my story moved along just fine without it, but lacking said element of Claire’s history left out a pivotal part of the subtext of the story.

Then last night, my subconscious resolved it all in one burst of thought, sending me dashing from the comfort of my bed to my Moleskine to jot it down before it drifted away like an ephemeral dream upon waking. When she finally delivers, it sets my heart racing with excitement, and it never fails to seem like such a simple solution; one that I should have been able to come up with consciously in no time.

It’s going to take a lot of rewriting to fit in that final puzzle piece, but she did it.  Or, I guess, we did it.  And that’s what’s so amazing.

30 Things About Me

I saw this going around Twitter and other places, so I thought I might as well do it here for shits and giggles.

  1. I’m doing this silly 30 Things because I am having trouble writing the past few days.  I’ve been feeling all over the charts emotionally and entirely overstimulated, so my creative process has come to a screeching stop.  I’m hoping that if I allow myself a couple of days to recoup that I’ll be back in the swing of things by next week.  Thanks, bipolar brain!
  2. I sleep with a 50 inch stuffed hedgehog named Rufus.

    He is the perfect height to rest my arm on when I sleep on my side, and I lurrrrrve him.
  3. I played flute for 11 years before I quit, but just recently I decided I wanted to start playing again.  I loved it so much, before marching band tainted it, and I miss the feeling it gave me.  Besides, I was pretty good when I actually applied myself.  So, I ordered replacement pads and did a thorough cleaning/oiling job on it and it looks brand new.  Once my pads get here (from China, oy..) and if I’m actually able to repair them myself I’ll be able to jump back in!  I played a bit today and wow!  I forgot how much it hurts your face.  Haha!  Hopefully it’ll be like riding a bike and won’t be like learning it all over again.
  4. I always thought that I would write crime novels, so I was extremely surprised when my brilliant novel idea was for a fantasy tale.  It’s about reincarnation, psychic ability, ghosts, multiple dimensions, love that transcends time and space, and much more.  Sometimes I can’t believe it came out of me.  🙂
  5. I can rarely stand to watch movies at home, but I constantly watch entire television series(es?).  Right now I’m watching both Modern Family and the UK version of Being Human.  I love television.
  6. I am extremely picky about my pens.  For years and years I have only used a very slim Cross pen that my aunt bought me, but just a few days ago my brother’s girlfriend gave me one of those InkJoy pens and OMG.  I’m a little upset because I just might like it better than my beloved Cross pen that I have an irrational sentimental attachment to.
  7. Ever since I can remember I get obsessed with things very easily.  I’m not sure if it’s a bipolar thing or what, but for weeks on end I get completely and entirely immersed in some new interest and have a hard time focusing on anything else until it passes.  What said interest is usually coincides with the time of the year, too.
  8. I was never a dog person until I got Throckmorton.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved all animals, but I thought dogs were big, stinky, and slobbery.  We had a lot of cats when I was growing up and I thought I would forever be a cat person.  Then I got it into my head that I needed a dog, got Throcky, and now I can’t imagine not giving my heart to canines.  🙂  I still like cats, but a lot less than dogs now.
  9. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but what I experienced with JD is probably the closest thing to it.  I can still remember the first time I really noticed him and the nearly overwhelming feeling of “having to have that kid.”  I still feel that way every time I look at him, almost 13 years later.  ❤
  10. I believe with every ounce of myself that I am still alive for an important reason, and that that reason is to write.  Both to tell my life story and to create new ones.  Obviously I am still working on making that a reality, but anything that is that big doesn’t happen overnight.
  11. In that same thread, I can’t bear the thought of not being successful.  I am not scared of dying, but I am terrified of dying without becoming who and what I want to be.  I am not one of those people that can be content with not leaving a legacy behind (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and just the thought makes me feel like I need to work harder and faster.
  12. I have never had a driver’s license and I never want to.  I have a crippling phobia of driving.  Just writing about it here makes me panic.  Logically, I know that there are plenty of morons who get behind the wheel every day, so I know I could do it, but I just plain don’t want to.  I wish my town had a public transportation system because I will never drive myself barring some dire circumstances.  
  13. I don’t really need to drive because I am perfectly content at home.  In fact, over the recent months I have begun to develop what my psychiatrist calls “a minor case of agoraphobia”.  It actually doesn’t seem completely far fetched that I could one day end up one of those women who never, ever leaves her house, and to be completely honest, it doesn’t upset me.  Yes, I know that sounds insane.
  14. My grandfather is basically a recluse, only socializing with my grandmother and my uncle who still lives with them, and the older I get the more I understand him.  I used to think it was really tragic, but not any more.  I could live a happy and fulfilled life doing the same thing.  And yes, I know that sounds insane too.
  15. Growing up, I collected nutcrackers, all things turtles, rocks, plastic animals, and more.  I no longer collect physical things because of the expense involved, but I still have that same urge to accumulate stuff, so instead, I collect books and knowledge.  Things I really only have to store inside my head.
  16. I don’t understand people that don’t want to create.  All day every day all I want to do is create things, whether it’s crafty, written, artistic, whatever.  I think it must be a very bland life not to do the same.
  17. Up until about a year ago, I crocheted like a mad woman.  I can make any animal you could possibly want, all kinds of hats/blankets/accessories, and pretty much anything one could conceive out of yarn and a hook.  I had to stop because of carpal tunnel in my hand, and I really miss it.
  18. As taboo as it is, I don’t vote because I believe that all politicians are just as corrupt as the one before them.  They aren’t there to “support the people”, but are only there to pursue their own agendas.  Also, I believe the President is nothing but a puppet, and that the government likes us to believe we make the choices in America but that is the farthest thing from the truth.  My vote doesn’t count and neither does yours.  Again, taboo, and it’s okay if you disagree with me because it’s a “free country” right?  I’m free to choose not to participate, just the same.
  19. Don’t get me wrong though, I am thankful I live in America because it’s better to live somewhere where you believe you have rights rather than one where you know for sure you don’t.  For the most part, I think this is a rather great place to be with compassionate, intelligent, and conscientious people.  No society is perfect.  No government is perfect.  Because no people are perfect.
  20. I develop sentimental attachments to inanimate objects.  I still have all of my American Girl Dolls from my childhood because they became like real people to me.  I have never deleted a character from a video game because I feel like it’s killing them.  I played Animal Crossing: Wild World every single day for nearly three years straight because I got so attached to the silly little animal characters.  I’ve done the same things with Nintendogs most recently.  Logically I know those things don’t have feelings, but emotionally I think they do.
  21. After my mom died, a lady from our church gave me a porcelain doll that scared the living shit out of me.  I kept it in my closest under a blanket for years and made sure to shut the door every night for fear that it would attack me in my sleep.  When I was 13 years old and we were moving out of our apartment, I took the horrible doll to the dumpster and smashed her head before throwing her inside.  I never felt so free.  XD
  22. I tried to kill myself in 2003 and that’s what lead to my diagnosis of bipolar disorder (mixed).  It was a pretty weak attempt, but an attempt it was.  I spent a grueling day in the psych ward (should have been kept for at least 72 hours, but the fucked up mental health system here is for another post) that scarred me.  I decided then that if I was ever gonna commit to killing myself again I wouldn’t fail, just so I wouldn’t have to end up back in that place again.
  23. Feelings of suicide go hand in hand with bipolar disorder.  I still get suicidal at least once or twice a year, but now that I understand that it’s only a part of the bipolar cycle it’s a lot easier to get through it.  I don’t believe I ever will kill myself for the simple fact that I know it’s not really what I want, but what my fucked up brain chemistry wants.
  24. I was/am a self injurer as well.  I never cut because on some level I still believe I have “poison blood”, so instead, I burned.  I did really well over the last few years until a few months ago when I got so overwhelmed that I fell back into that mindset.  Afterwards I felt shamed, stupid, and even worse about myself, so once again I am back to “recovering”.  That desire never really goes away, but I realize now that I am stronger than that urge.
  25. My favorite authors include Flannery O’Connor, Algernon Blackwood, H.P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, Eudora Welty, Edith Wharton, Thomas Hardy, George Elliot, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Ambrose Bierce.  Those are just the top ten.
  26. I speak to my dog as if he were a person.  I have no shame.  He knows all my thoughts, dreams, and secrets.  He’s the only one that listens to me completely, never judges me, and loves me regardless.
  27. I am closer to my “online friends” than I am my “real life friends”.  I have met the most wonderful people online.  People who have changed my life in big ways, and have been more supportive and there for me than any of my geographically convenient friends.  Anyone who says that meeting people online is only for suckers and freaks, or that the people you meet aren’t “real people” has no idea what they’re talking about.
  28. I don’t have celebrity crushes.  Sure, there are some that I think are incredibly attractive, but I don’t “ship” anyone and probably never will.
  29. I am most certainly a meat eater, but I do love me some veggies too.  I prefer to eat them all raw though with only a bit of salt.  Speaking of salt, I love it way too much.  I actually crave rocks of sea salt and have been known to keep a jar of it next to my bed.  I rarely crave sweets, but I always crave salty snacks.
  30. I am very long winded and I talk way too much.  My family jokes that I was born talking. I’ve been called a motormouth, a chatterbox, and everything in between, but I am a master at tongue twisters.  🙂  This insanely long post is proof enough of my wordiness.  If you read it all, you’re amazing and I love you.

If you’ve got a blog too, I’d love to read 30 Things About You as well.  

Love and light until next time.

Making Something.

I am motivated.  So motivated.  To show everyone.

I guess this is something all writers/artists face, but I feel like everyone in my life looks at my writing as just some silly little housewife’s pastime, or they somehow pity it like, “Aww, look, how cute!  Roxie’s writing!”

Well, I’ve got news for you: I am not just passing my time.  This is not some little hobby to while away the hours.  I am really working, and working hard, to make something of myself.

That’s the worst part of writing I think – that you have to do all the grueling, hard, and thankless work, all the while keeping your eyes on the prize despite not being taken seriously.

Writing is work. 

Creatively, emotionally, intellectually draining work.  Original stories that are both well written and inspired don’t just come out of nowhere.  Remember when you slaved over papers in school?  Yeah, try doing that every single day, for hours on end with only hope to drive you, and then tell me that’s not work.

I used to only be motivated by the fantastic stories I have inside me that are just begging to be told, but now I’m motivated by the desire to prove to everyone in my life that I am more than they think.  Sure, it might take me a couple more years (novels aren’t written, revised, edited, published, marketed, and sold in a day), but I will do it.  

And when I do, it will be the best moment of my life.  

Suck on that, doubters.