(insert ominous chord struck on a huge pipe organ, here)
This has merit all day and twice on Conjugal visit Thursday’s. If you’re truly immersing yourself into the character and that character happens to be a rather unorthodox connoisseur of various window flavors, the act of transforming into Mr. MadMan himself stands to drive one mad. I’d assume it’s not a bitten by werewolf style disfigurement or an immediate chemical makeup reconstruction that happens immediately following a zombie bite. This is more the pack a day for 2 marriages that gives you Lymphoma type of process. The real vindictive and insidious kind. All this said, madness is open for interpretation and is often times subjective. (Insert generic Mad-Hatter quote about all the mad having more fun or like) so if we dismiss that and jump on over to goals we can render that down into motives. Which is where I believe the fundamental structure for gauging madness needs to be Applied. If you are aware that your writing will eventually drive you insane but you are riding for a purpose that has a greater meaning or value, it’s only then if we get to decide if madness is worth it. Risk versus reward. Personal opinion throwing half of your sandwich away today so you can watch you figure tomorrow sounds like a slippery slope into open interpretations of importance boundaries need to be set when you are dealing with sensitive subject matter. Anyone can attest to the vulnerability they feel when they open themselves up like that as I am fully aware you are fully aware of. simply put and then I’m done, at the risk of going mad someday if rioting improves your quality of life for even one fucking second it is worth it because you’re anticipation of that madness is by its nature madness itself
Sometimes I wonder about my 12-step work. It saved my life but there’s the belief in a higher power that’s going to make it ok and no “big deals” etc. but I do better when I write from a place of terror and desperation. Junkies always have good stories.
Of personal inertia outta the lens we see and the one we were given/look through… Hmmphf, *insert I love that my creativity feeds my solitude shrug*.
I think writing can be therapeutic but with a “shelf life”. By this I mean that you may be dealing with issues you have at the time, but that doesn’t inherently mean the issues are resolved with the completion of the writing project. Issues—variations of past ones in addition to all manner of new ones—will continue to be present in ones life, so—like therapy sessions as opposed to just a single session—you continue the therapeutic cycle of writing and dealing with problems past and present and the ways in which they change or don’t. And blah blah blah.
In the past 20+ years I’ve lost 25 friends. Suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism, you name it. I’m always around it. When I turned 40 I found myself writing a story about the loss of so many people, not counting the hundreds of patients Ive taken care of who died.
In this I found it more therapeutic than anything else. It forced me to read and learn about death in a more academic sense rather than purely emotional. At first I thought I was going crazy with all the information I was gaining and retaining, but in all I feel less crazy now than before. But only because I went down the rabbit hole and came out unscathed.
The best book I’ve read on the subject of suicide, from an emotional and academic perspective was a book called, “why people die by suicide” by Thomas Joiner. It helped with thinking about what leads a person to commit suicide and to know how their suicide effected me and my future. Also the past and future of the character in my present project.
This might be a stretch, but I'd like to reference Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Wizard of Earthsea" here. It's a kid's book, but it deals with some heavy personal themes in clever ways. I haven't read it in a long time, but as I recall the basic premise was that magic existed, and the mastery of said magic was accomplished by learning the true names of things. Knowing these names was the key to the wizard's magical powers. I won't spoil the ending, but I love the metaphor. Say its name, own its power. I wouldn't worry about the acknowledgement of your deepest truth exacerbating anything. Speak it, embrace it, reconcile. If madness is the worst-case scenario, let it fly.
"They say self-awareness will set you free.
But when you look inside, who stares back?"
Focus uncontrolled leads to obsession. It's why I can only fall asleep watching TV or listening to a book on tape.
“Dangerous Writing” — which so many people embrace as a therapy… might actually make us sick."
I've thought about this a lot, having dealt with complex, chronic health issues that have informed/inspired my writing, i.e. it's occurred to me that my writing may come from the same place as my illness(es). I'll spare everyone my personal diatribe but for anyone who's interested in the topic, I suggest you check out the essay "Mutiny of the Soul" by Charles Eisenstein as well as the work of Dr. Gabor Mate. Indeed our thoughts/feelings/beliefs can affect our physical health. Along with my personal shit, now I've got to worry about GloboHomo...
I guess if someone finds a solution to something which has neurotically captured their attention, a new issue will eventually arise to the solution that they came up with and so it becomes a continuous cycle of creating more and more hypothetical problems and solutions.
I would have to say that writing about my family and traumatic childhood definitely made me more crazy. The stories were in my consciousness as abstractions and the more I wrote about them, the more the pain and trauma engrained and defined me. It was like I was etching in the stone of my being every time I took pen to paper. I lost my fucking mind.
This is something I think about a little too much.
It's easier to travel down well-worn neural pathways than it is to connect new ones, so catastrophising ends up becoming the norm. I think it's very possible that writing and rumination can cause psychological damage, but I also think that it can be a positive experience, and used as a tool for introspection.
Like a kind of precursor to therapy. Not therapy itself, but an exploration of how you're doing internally.
I find that, when I'm not doing anything that involves creation, I tend to walk those same neural paths anyway; I tend to get bogged down in the drudgery, but it's not the act of creation that causes it. I like the mask that creation can provide. By making stuff up, it can change the soundtrack to the whole mental commute, so even if the path is the same at least it makes it seem a little more interesting.
Which is good, because when I'm not working on something, my brain will let me know by being an absolute arsehole.
FYI, this post has come up at exactly the right time.
Getting into a daily writing habit is the best thing Ive ever done for myself. However, I can see the dangers of isolation and obsession that can come from writing, or any other addiction that could be confused as being healthy. Especially on top of too much internet. Im careful to make certain that I get out amongst people on the weekends at the very least, get plenty of exercise and outside time, et cetera. Its all about balance. Dont be like JD Salinger and lock yourself away from your family in a writing shack.
The story I posted here is about the fact that we cannot fulfill our need for human contact through the internet. A friend saying "Yeah, you cant fuck a screen." In response to this subject is what inspired the story.
Keep writing for the catharsis, but keep living in the real world for the material.
Nurture and nature has served me according to its virtue leaving me with a sense of NOGAS. No one gives a shit. As long as it doesn’t directly effect them eating. Even if it does, distracted quickly enough to process it.
Feeling like I’m standing still in a Nuevo-art film, with people rushing to and fro with definitive reason or in the Matrix only I’m Neo or the woman in ‘The Red Dress’ focused and fixed with purpose. Even when meeting someone who appears wide awake, they seem swept away in an extacy or interpretation of it.
Or it could simply be I’m driving myself crazy.
Read the negative reviews of sex toys on Amazon. Tragedy steeped in expired lube or the short- circuited vibrator. Give me the 1-star review of the Inflatable Judy Doll over the latest news headline. These reviews always go into a ruined experience. All the hopes for a ravenous night end with something burning.
Disney movies love a dead parent or dead parents too.
" Maybe, secretly, everyone’s life is ruined off screen, and we’re all gabbing along wittily lest we notice the corpse in the bedroom and break down weeping." My goodness Mr. Palahniuk. Beautiful.