Sunday, September 9, 2012

DEPRESSION AND WRITING: How to turn the shadow on itself.

One week ago I had an extreme bout of depression. Real life intruded into my fiction work and drove me to the point of quitting my passion once for all. I will not bore you with the details or the motives behind this dark moment; suffice to say I was struck by an extreme writer's block.

I was starting two different novels (a Sci-Fi and a Pirates one) and had just put down my 'setting bibles'.
A setting bible is like a companion to a writer's novel; in it I put everything concerning the fictional universe I'm creating. So, when I wrote 'Feeding the Urge' I created the whole town of Prosperity Glades, filled it with interesting inhabitants, then developed a timeline of its most unusual or historical events from Pre-Spaniard times to these days (Prosperity Glades is set in Florida).
Same goes for Echo, a planet distant 50 light years from our solar system - the setting of that Sci-Fi novel - and for Caliban's Cove - a mysterious island in 1720 Caribbean Sea.


Nonetheless, I found myself unable to write a single word. Stress and pressure from my strained relationship was slowly turning me into jelly. Sure as water I was going to stop writing and retire to premature confinement to the nuthouse. I was so depressed and angry that I stormed off my traditional Thai wooden house and went for a solitary stroll in Ao Nang's deserted midnight roads.

And out of the blue - or the dark, to be precise - a simple line came to my mind:


'Under cold, indifferent stars, I stand.'

Now, to someone of a perfectly sound mind, that would just mean, 'Hey Jeff, you're depressed. It's natural you get such dark thoughts.'
But to me was different. I could hear the buzzing of the Great Radio inside my mind scanning frequencies and trying to tune on a particular voice. It was the voice of a dead man.

I hurried back home and wrote that line on a Word's blank page, then, the dead man began telling me his story. During the whole night I wrote the first part of it, then I realized having misinterpreted the first line.
An I changed it.

 'Under cold, indifferent stars, I wait.' 

The next day I spent relaxing, avoiding writing at all costs. That darkness I felt was slowly fading away, and I was scared that such a distant, and feeble voice would stop telling me the whole story.
I relaxed myself by doing a cover for what I had titled 'Haunt'.


Slowly, and painfully, I tried to go on with the story, but there was something missing. My rage.
And I used it.

New images flooded my mind and the tale became something so weird and haunting that ... well, it scared me. A Shade, some anchors, chains, and freaks. And everything became clear.

Then, I made a new cover:


Well, the story is over, but you won't read it soon. I sent it to my lovely editor Natalie G. Owens, then I'm going to submit it.

I believe in this story, because it's not mine.
It's from a dead man.



5 comments:

  1. Well done for your honest account of how you felt. It can happen to anyone but it looks like you've come out stronger than ever. Keep it up Jeffrey!

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  2. As a reader, I am very glad you heard those words in the night. You have a passion for writing and stifling your passion can not be good for any person. I hope this picking up again of the pen finds you stronger, braver and more determined than ever.

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  3. Jeffrey, I understand about depression and the pain it can cause. I am so glad you were able to work through it and finish your work. I know it will be one of the best yet. Now come sit beside me while the stars tells us another story.

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