Internal Notes

alla nazimova I’m back in my body again, mostly. I can feel the edges of “me” and the edges of my physical parts aligning. I’ve never endured quite this sort of thing before, and was busy taking internal notes. Who knows when a character will need this particular sensation?

All things serve the work.

After writing for a while, there’s always a section of your brain thinking, “okay, going to have to remember this, a story might need it later.” Heartbreak, car accident, joy, panic–everything serves the work, everything goes into that hopper inside your head. Everything is material. Maybe there’s a bit of self-protection in there too–when you’re taking internal notes about the exact sensations and what the other parts of you are thinking and doing, you aren’t losing your shit over what’s going down.

Of course, motherhood means you can’t lose your shit, either. When there are small humans depending on you, you just can’t afford to let go, no matter how satisfying it might be to have a monkey tantrum. I can’t count the number of times a good old-fashioned screaming meemie fit would have felt luxurious, but if Mum starts losing her cool, the little humans will lose theirs, and then everything is just so much more difficult. Who has time for that?

So, yeah. The interesting thing is, as my writing partner suggested, that this may be how I deal with severe stress when I have meds to even everything out and make the anxiety manageable. It’s preferable to a half-dozen physically exhausting “I am going to die” panic attacks per day. Some research suggest a feeling of derealization or depersonalization is common with high anxiety and can trigger panic attacks, so maybe this is what it feels like when it doesn’t? It wasn’t painful, or even really distressing, it was just…odd. Allowing myself to experience it, knowing it was more than likely temporary, turned out to be the best way through.

It’s more Cormorant Run revisions today. I think I have to write a whole new scene, and expand another in a new direction. I knew the complexity of this book was under the surface, but my first run through it I was too busy getting the bones down to really dive. Now I have the luxury of uncoiling the strands and peering deeper, and it’s turning out to be fascinating. Sometimes I am a little chary of the worlds that apparently lurk inside my head. It’s an odd thing, to think that maybe one is simply channeling or taking dictation from somewhere else. There’s a certain submission to the shape and the strictures of the work, difficult for anyone stubborn to practice. Especially when that stubbornness must be fed and grown monstrous to keep you writing day in, day out.

First, though, Miss B needs a walk, and so do I. Maybe it will clear my head and bring me fully back into my body. You never know.

Over and out.

  • jjmcgaffey

    I recall a blog post from Elizabeth Moon, years ago, in which she recounted giving herself a concussion (cutting down a tree, it misbehaved) and writer-brain taking notes on “Ah, so that’s how a concussion feels from the inside!”.

  • Colleen C.

    After my husband died I was out of my self for months. I didn’t really realize it right away but I just assumed it was normal for grieving and let myself be for awhile.

  • Yeah. Everything, EVERYTHING, feeds the work.

  • I’ve read some literature that suggests it’s a self-protective mechanism, when the pain or stress is too big.

  • martianmooncrab

    Glad that you are centered today in yourself.

    Cormorant Run is sounding to be a very good book.