It’s Friday of my first week in a very long time without working at all on my fiction writing. I guess I’ll round the week out with one more non-fiction bit of blogging, not that I have much new to say. But we’ll see. Maybe I’ll say something that’s useful. Probably not.
Those who don’t live inside my head* won’t know this very clearly, but the fact that I haven’t written any fiction this week is a truly grave fact. It’s been many years since I’ve gone this long without writing fiction. Even when I was in prison, I wrote every weekday, right after lights on (which happened at about 3 to 3:30 in the morning), about three to four handwritten pages every day. And after prison I continued that. When I didn’t have a portable laptop to use on my then three-bus trip to work in the morning, I actually wrote quite a bit on my tiny little, fifty-dollar smartphone. That’s how a goodly chunk of Son of Man was written. I’ve continued some version of that (writing or editing, anyway) basically every weekday when I wasn’t frankly, physically ill since then…up until this week.
I took my miniature laptop home last night thinking maybe I would take the train in to work today and use that time and that setting to try to recapture some feel and the impetus to write on the way, but I couldn’t be bothered to take the train in the end, and if I had, I don’t think I would have written any fiction.
This is not about writer’s block. I have story ideas and plans and all that; I know where the stories are to go, I know the characters, I know the universes, it’s all up there but for the scratching and scribbling, scribbling and scratching. This is about “living block” if you will**.
As anyone who follows (and actually reads) my blog regularly, here and/or on Iterations of Zero, knows, I am troubled with chronic depression/dysthymia, and I have been for basically my entire post-pubescent life, though it’s become more common and more persistent over time. It gets worse at this time of year, even all other things being equal, partly because the days are getting “shorter”***.
Then one can add in the fact that it’s holiday time (Hanukkah is already over, Christmas and New Years are imminent). I haven’t seen my kids for over eight years, and I don’t expect that I’m ever going to see them again. And I’m down here in the distal portion of America’s Dong****, like one bacterium in a syphilis chancre…though Treponema pallidum are more community spirited and possibly more intelligent than many Floridians, particularly the government and the courts and the law enforcement community. They’re certainly better organisms than I am.
And I don’t remember how to make or maintain friendships. I’m not sure I ever knew. I think friendships just happened when I was in school and university because I was just there with other people who were also there, and they were good people, and they were okay with my weirdnesses, and we got along well and so they became my friends, because that’s the kind of people they were. Are. They were and are all far better than I have ever deserved, certainly.
I’m many hundreds of miles away from my siblings, and from everyone I was ever really able to connect with and be close with, with the exception of my ex-wife and my kids, but again, they are doing their own things, and I don’t ever see them. My son won’t communicate with me at all, not in any way. I can’t blame him; I’ve been a very disappointing father. I do some texting with my daughter, and she’s great, she’s the greatest, but she’s in college now and I have no interest in burdening her in any way.
I can’t practice medicine anymore.
I’m in chronic pain for about the last nineteen years or so, literally every day, every waking minute. I’ve had tinnitus in my right ear for the last fifteen plus years, roughly. That’s mainly just annoying, but it means I can’t really take advantage of stereo production stuff for music, because I can only really hear on one side, so anything I record and mix basically sounds mono.
My brain really doesn’t work quite “right”. I don’t think it ever has, probably, it turns out.
I really want to scream and cry for help, honestly…and not just helpful and supportive words or whatever, however kindly and honestly and generously they are meant, but serious help, like medical emergency kind of help. But I hate myself too much, and I don’t know how to express myself properly, in any case. (It’s like the lines from the Radiohead song Street Spirit (Fade Out): “This machine will…will not communicate these thoughts and the strain I am under.”) I also don’t even know what I would need, what would be helpful, what would be useful, if anything.
I had signed up for online therapy through BetterHelp, or whatever it’s called, but then my therapist had to go on maternity leave. And I don’t frankly have the will to try to start again with someone else. I barely had the will to start in the first place, and I wouldn’t have done that if I hadn’t been trying to find out about the possibility that I have undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome*****. I didn’t get any real help with that, though. But based on testing of various kinds that I’ve done, my professional opinion is that I do. But I’m potentially confounded by bias, so who knows? Maybe I’m just crazy.
My living situation has recently, rather abruptly, changed for the even more isolated…I’m basically now just living alone in a bedroom in a house that’s empty of anyone I know, and literally empty now most of the time. Even when I’m there, it’s essentially empty, because I only barely exist. And nothing is really any fun at all anymore.
I’ve long toyed with the idea, off and on, of going up to the Palm Beach County court house, sitting down in front of it, dousing myself in paraffin oil, lighter fluid, and gasoline, and setting myself on fire. I don’t know, I guess it would be some sort of statement, since that’s where most of what I had was taken from me, or at least where the overt effects took place. I even bought (and still have) the lighter fluid and paraffin oil. Gasoline is easy (I have a nicely portable can to put it in). So are matches and/or lighters. But I don’t think I have the guts to do that, and honestly, I also don’t really want to inconvenience and traumatize people who just go to work and try to do their jobs there. Life is hard enough already.
I also bought at least two nonrebreather masks, and three tanks of helium, for possible asphyxiation. Peaceful, tidy, not too traumatic. But I had to sort of explain the helium to people, so I donated two of them for parties, one in the office, one for my former housemate’s daughter’s birthday. I still have a third one, but I don’t think that’s enough, and anyway, I don’t have a good place to use it that wouldn’t be just incredibly rude to a good number of people, which I don’t want to do. Maybe I’m just making excuses. Maybe I’m just a coward. I mean, I know I am a coward, of course, but maybe I’m just a coward and nothing more.
I want to escape. I want to quantum tunnel into a state of oblivion–or into a better state of existence, if there is such a thing available to someone and something like me, which seems unlikely.
Oh, well. It doesn’t really matter. Does it? I think this will most likely be the last of at least these atypical blog posts. I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether I bother to write my usual blog post next week. Maybe I will. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what to do or what to say or how to act or how to continue, or how not to continue. I am alone and powerless and pointless.
And above all, there’s nothing else in the world I hate as much as I hate myself…and that’s saying something, believe me.
*Which is everyone but me and my fictional characters.
**Is it redundant to use scare quotes and then say “if you will”?
***Technically, I think the days are literally getting longer because the rotation of the Earth is slowing down ever so slightly over time, but I guess it’s happening very slowly indeed. I suppose that, the Earth not being quite a perfectly uniform sphere, it throws off at least a tiny bit of energy as gravitational waves, but I suspect that’s a truly negligible drain…it probably wouldn’t make a measurable change by itself over several times the current age of the universe. I haven’t done any calculations, I’m just guessing, here, so don’t quote me.
****Homer Simpson’s apt description of Florida.
*****They don’t officially call it that anymore, apparently, but I like it better than the newer designation, and I know that all names are comparatively arbitrary. They’re all just ways to trigger other people to access their mental files of notions and ideas that have shared meaning in other minds, anyway, and I don’t know how much other people and I have in common. Not much, I suspect.
Go pay Mike a Visit Rob. Or if you want, come visit me. If you need money for a plane ticket, I can provide that for you. My parents who liked you a lot, Especially my mother are down there now. They go there every winter until the spring and my brother lives there in New Smyrna. He owns and operates a restaurant there.
It’s very good to hear from you Steve! It’s been WAY too long. I’ll have to see…I work all the time, and I don’t know if I even have the endurance or will or whatever you want to call it to go ANYWHERE, unfortunately. My mind is a mess. But it’s really good to “hear” from you. No matter what.
It was a rather dark description of your life Robert but I must say that it is frightening parallel to what I am experiencing in my life currently… Especially the isolation. I do hope that you we can figure a way back to the light before we do anything crazy. Be well my friend
And you as well.