The Maelstrom In My Head or WHEE! I Can Write Again!
So if you bothered to read what I wrote yesterday and then decided to go back further and read previous entries of Brave Blog, you’ll notice that there is a huge gap between yesterday and the entry previous to it. Before “Ass-Biting & A Night At The Opera (of the Genetic Sort)” went up, my last post was in September of 2010. That is just about 4 weeks shy of 7 months with nothing new written. Now I’ve stopped writing before and it isn’t uncommon for a blog to suddenly stop with new posts because maintain a blog and having the ideas behind remain fresh is hard work. The writing end of things was giving me trouble. My problem was writer’s block. I really couldn’t think of anything to write that wasn’t already commented on elsewhere and shared my exact view. I tried spinning off “POW!!” into its own separate blog and got through about 2 installments and then my dissatisfaction with what I was reading put a stop to an independent “POW!!”. Then there is the issue of sitting down to write and thinking you have a great idea. Then as you write, you start to not like what you put down. I mean sure most of what I write are movie reviews and pop culture commentary but it is mostly ramblings disguised as somewhat coherent thought.
Which brings me to this, my thought process. When I was at Boarding School I wrote a slightly competent poem and the instructor asked me what my process was for writing. I just kind of shrugged and replied “Well my mind is like a swirling maelstrom of chaos and I just kind of pull out the ideas I want to use”. This troubled the instructor for reasons I can’t begin to fathom. Maybe he was used to the idea of form and structure so much that a teenager writing something by plucking out chaos bothered him. Either way that’s when people started using the term “ADD” around me. After getting analyzed at home, I was put on a dosage of Ritalin. I was not a fan. Ritalin made The Maelstrom go away and thus little things about me slowly changed. I was quieter and more melancholy, yet nothing as far as my schoolwork or grades changed at all. Since I was self-medicating I simply opted to stop taking the Ritalin. Within a few days I was more active mentally and back to being my usual self which was a marvelous thing. After a week, The Maelstrom was back and I was plucking ideas from chaos again.
My writer’s block has nothing to do with there being no Maelstrom for me to grab ideas from sadly. The Maelstrom thrives on the chaos in my head to make connections that I otherwise wouldn’t normally make through regular trial and error. My writer’s block is what happens when too many ideas from The Maelstrom come out at once and the thoughts from my brain to written word get cluttered with too many ideas. Go through any of my old entries and you’ll see me catching myself in the middle of a tangent. If you think that’s bad you should see how bad it gets for the stuff I haven’t posted here or anywhere else. Those works become tangents run completely a muck and unable to get back on topic for what I’m writing about. I will have written for hours with material that I’ll be in mid-sentence or paragraph of and then suddenly find myself saying “This is horrible, what is this shit?”.
I wish I had a valve on The Maelstrom that I could turn on in my mind to slowly let the ideas I need leak out for when I write. Sadly I don’t and when The Maelstrom lets loose with too much, too fast then what I try to write becomes dreck. If what I write comes out as dreck then I am not excited about it and if I am not excited about then I know it isn’t funny. That is really the point of what I write. No matter the topic, I want the reader to at least crack a smile. I have no time for seriousness in my writing. I’m not the New York Times for fuck’s sake! I’m some schmuck with a blog!
So let me tell you what got me to write again.
When I left the theater after REPO: The Genetic Opera shadowcast, suddenly sentences about how I felt about the show I had just watched began forming in my mind. More importantly the sentences were stringing together and not going out of control on tangents. Bit by bit, I began constructing in my head on the way home. I was doing this while talking with Katrina, my friend who I saw REPO with. I was carrying on a conversation but still writing in my head. My inside voice was crackling with words about what to say. I should have started writing once I got home. I knew if I didn’t start writing there was a strong chance the feeling I was experiencing would be gone by morning. Sadly, Katrina was crashing on my sofa and the computer is right in the living room. I pride myself on being a good host so the writing would wait since I wasn’t going to keep Katrina up all night with me typing away like a madman. I went to bed but my excitement level was too high, I ended up getting little sleep and woke-up achy and cranky. Now it was Sunday and while cranky I still had some of that energy from the night before. I knew the opening, I knew who I had to mention and bring up specifically in how it related to the topic. It was all popping like corn kernels in hot oil. But there were obstacles to actually writing it.
First there was Katrina. She was crashing at my place until she went home on Sunday. Now I’m sure if I had said “I’ve got the urge to write, I need to get this shit down” her reaction probably would’ve been “write it you idiot!”. But I am bound by a need to be a good host to those staying in my home so I couldn’t ignore her to write. Second, even if she told me it was OK, I had other friends coming over later in the afternoon for gaming. My friends started arriving, I had spent most of the day catching up with what was on my DVR. We ended up gaming until midnight and then hanging out until about 2 in the morning. I went to bed still writing in my head, I was on to the flow of what was there. Which mental paragraph went where in the word processor of my mind. The energy in me was flowing and The Maelstrom wasn’t overwhelming with the ideas that were flowing out of it. What I had mentally I liked, I liked it a lot but I had to get it down.
I woke up Monday morning, Katrina had already taken off leaving a nice “Thank You” note behind. I checked my email, got my morning routine out of the way (toilet, shower & dress) and then started writing. Everything that went onto the computer was everything I had mentally typed up in my head. But then I was adding to it. The Maelstrom wasn’t flooding my mind though, this was just a natural progression of what I had already written and more importantly it enhanced what I had already written. I wrote from about 9:30am until about noon. Now if you have read anything on Brave Blog before then you should know I rarely proofread my material and my editing is damn atrocious. Sometimes I’m typing so fast that I’m completely unaware of my own spelling mistakes. I didn’t want that for this idea that morphed into an article. I cared way to much about it to not properly proofread, spell-check and edit it. From there it was off to cut and paste it, followed by adding the links to photos and websites that are littered in the highlighted words when published online. I don’t remember the time it actually went online but soon after it did I was chatting with my friend Squee, who is actually in the REPO cast. She mentioned somethings I missed in my editing as far as punctuation and flow. I went back and to correct those things and then the unexpected happened.
Re-reading what I had led to me re-editing certain parts and adding entirely new parts of certain paragraphs. The second version went up and I showed it Zac, one of my dearest friends and also a REPO cast member. Throughout the day I was doing little fixes to the article, always thinking I could say just a little bit more or tweak one line. It wasn’t until Cindi (Oh c’mon people! re-read the article) read it and told me to stop “fixing it, its perfect as is” that I took a step away from the writing of the article. I let my brain cool off and slowly The Maelstrom in my mind stopped lobbing ideas at me. It was around 4pm when it dawned on me that I had actually written something I liked. I had written something where my humor came through and I got my thoughts out on things that were relevant to the article. I actually wrote something I felt 100% positive having written.
I later half-jokingly told the people I pimped the article to that the shadowcast of REPO: The Genetic Opera cured my writer’s block. It’s only half-joking because if I hadn’t gone to see it that night I never would have had something to write about that inspired me. This turn of events must make my friend Cindi smile from ear to ear because she had told me I needed to come see the show for 2 years. I fought her every step of the way and now the damn show gets me to write something and more importantly something I’m happy with.
Now the question is, where do I go from here?
I started writing a few things earlier in the day. One was terrible and got scrapped. A few might develop if I let let The Maelstrom have a crack at them but I’m not to sure. There was 1 that The Maelstrom took hold of and went to town with. I’m not surprised since a chunk of it is about him and The Maelstrom is an egotistical bastard once he gets going.
So in the end the important thing is that I’m writing again and it feels pretty damn great. I’m sure something will catch my attention and make me comment on it. Most importantly, I think I have The Maelstrom under control for now. I’ll let him creep out of my brain and feed me some thoughts now and then but he has to realize that I’m the Boss and he works for me. Or is it a symbiotic relationship? I better figure it out quick because I sense a tangent coming on…