Collected Wisps of Thought

{December 15, 2006}   Totally Self Destructive Behavior

Remember how holidayish I was feeling? How even the huge revision was not going to get me down? Well, add a head cold to the pile of stress and the scales are beginning to tip.

I’ll admit, sometimes it seems like life is determined to defeat my good humor. Maybe there’s something I was supposed to learn from the stress that I didn’t learn, so more has to be added until I break. Ever feel like that?

Or maybe we pile things on ourselves. For example, today I was very unproductive and stressed about my deadline. My head feels so huge and fuzzy and my throat is sore… and then suddenly a thought popped into my head. “Hey,” thought I. “I haven’t googled Saint Iggy in a really long time. In fact, I haven’t done it hardly at ALL!”

Now, if I wasn’t sick, some healthy part of my brain would have reminded myself that NOT googling my books is a very healthy thing to do. It is as healthy and balanced as not obsessing over your Amazon ranking.

But in my weakened state, googling seemed like the perfect way to waste a few minutes. And at first it was — there are lots of pages to choose from, far more than I could ever actually check out. So did I stop there? Smile and search for something else. Oh no. What did I do? Somehow I managed to find the one entry that began with a negative statement and I read THAT one.


Totally self destructive behavior.

Why would I think that now would be a perfect time to read someone’s comments questioning my writing ability? And why wouldn’t I read the many other complimentary comments from other people? What is it that drives us to take bad situations and make things worse?

There’s a wonderful short story (wish I could remember the title or the author) about a man who passes a homeless man who is injured without helping because he (the passing man) has a cold. The story points out the way we are all capable of great deeds and horrible selfishness, and that so often our morality is relative, even to ourselves.

So what to do? I suppose we just keep struggling on. Today, I will step back and look at my own self destructive behavior with a wry laugh. Did I have it in me to NOT do it in the first place? No. But do I have enough in me to laugh about it afterwards? Yes. I’ve still got that.

Now tune in next week after I am crushed by a falling anvil.



{December 5, 2006}   Happy Holidays

I am feeling very holidayish lately. In fact, I am feeling so holidayish that even a huge revision can not dampen my spirits. Revisions have a way of doing that. I get very emotional about them, often deciding I’m the worst writer who ever lived and there is no way everyone in the world won’t trash this book.

It’s hard not to play into that game of fatalistic thinking, but at times I am able to find and hold some perspective. What if this really is the worst book ever written? Well, then maybe they’d make a movie about me, like Ed Wood and the book would become a cult classic.

Or maybe in the end, it doesn’t matter as much as I think that it does. Of course books matter. Writing matters. Stories matter. I’m not saying they don’t, but what I am saying is that life matters too. How I live mine and how you live yours.

That’s why this holiday, come what may, I’m determined not to get mired in drama, politics, stress, fatalism, squabbles, or any such other negativity. Life is too short.

So, happy holidays, everyone. May we all stay focused on what’s truly important.


et cetera