Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Trying to write but choosing a topic that hits home

My "writing daily" project came to a screeching halt on.....well, the first day. Damn. I'd tried this back in December, following the advice of an online site geared towards encouraging creative and descriptive journaling, along with poetry, narratives and instructional-type material. The goal it seemed, was to spur the mind to offer up content in a wide variety of ways and through various methods. I took the bait and fell into the steps of expanding my abilities.

While reading up on the material I stumbled across the suggestion that by writing creatively each day, one might open new doors and actually increase the ability of the writer to more easily put thoughts down on paper. In short, the gist was that the more you write the better you become at it - and in December, to my surprise, it worked! I didn't follow the exact directions (because of the part of me which rails against being constrained or dictated to), but I did generate content each day of a different type. A poem, descriptive account, instructions for an art project, a motivational speech, more poetry and even a recipe full of flavor. I was on a roll, having completed 16 or so pieces of material and yes - the goal of encouraging the creative process and making my thoughts and words more fluent, appeared to have been achieved.

So now here I was again, setting out to do the same type of project and hopefully expand my skills. Since I operate several community organizations which require directions and detailed instructions, increasing my ability to think and write better is always a goal. But here's the thing; I went into darker waters and sought out a way to explain myself to someone else. You know how they say "content is king"? Well it can also (apparently) be death to a creative process. Following a discussion with someone from the day before, I set out to explain some of my difficulties in processing certain situations....which really, was no big deal, right? I'd done it before and just needed a fresh way to describe "what it's like" - and then I ran into a wall. Not an obstacle, like cones or road construction barrels standing across a street, but more so a hurricane-proof structure of concrete blocks filled with cement. Yeah. It was like that. The more I struggled to find the words to describe how difficult it is for me to process certain things, the less able I was to generate sentences. Anger; denial; frustration all swept over me in waves and with each one washed away the ability to tell my own story it seemed. It was a perfect storm of sorts; my rage and frustration at being limited in how I can understand things or learn or absorb, bubbled over and caused my words to run together, to not make sense and to ultimately fail the assignment I'd set forth for myself.

I'm embarrassed to admit how long I fought with the process. While I could have just let it go and walked away, trying again at a new date, the sadness at trying to admit what I face so often kept creeping up on me and killed my words. I lost seven - yes, 7 hours - as I tried desperately to explain my feelings and emotions and anger. I began not one but three separate accounts of similar topics since it seemed I'd opened the gates of hell and now these demons were loose and needed to have their say - and I still didn't like what I wrote. Sometime around 2am I posted what I'd been able to assemble; a feeble attempt depicting a shattered mind struggling to connect the dots. Finally. I'd skipped dinner completely, had ignored my dogs which had wandered off to bed some time ago, and still had tasks to finish before calling it a night. Not that it mattered, I found out, as thoughts swirled in my head for hours leaving me with virtually no sleep.

And that's how I failed the assignment on the first day. Perhaps I selected a topic too hard; too controversial and difficult to explain, resulting in total breakdown of the process - and yet, the reality is that "the process" is what wears me down and exhausts me - every single day of my life. It's not trying to explain it that's frustrating; it's LIVING it.

"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa