It’s been difficult to process things lately. I am beset with a profound sadness over the brokenness of everything. I am overwhelmed with the impossibility of surviving in this economy. I am befuddled by the ways other people think. I begin to fear that I am the only person who thinks like I do, and thus that I am more profoundly alone than previously imagined.
Weighed down with the burden of publishing and self-promotion (both of which require a massive insuck of new technical skills and new large-scale goals), I find myself too exhausted to create. My mind is empty. I have killed the muse. I am a machine only, built and primed and rebuilt for the sending of hundreds of emails and the meaningless monitoring of a Facebook statistics graph. There is nothing more in me of organism, of the swelling and inventive and all-believing spirit that possessed me, at age 12, to write a novella in two and a half months. That same spirit drove me to write other books, and The Tower of Babel, but only its dim echo saw me through a year and a half of editing that text and the subsequent typesetting and cover design and website building and price research and Facebook ad buying and review copy mailing and—
I hate this process and this life, but I do love words. I do love stories. I love Story itself, the unfolding tapestry that is this universe. The question is, will I ever make story again? Will I ever contribute to the unfolding of those around me? Or am I damned to silence and the petty pleasing of those for whom margin and bottom line are Lord God? If only I could write a screed against them. But I have nothing left to say, and no time in which to say it.
I am lost. I am without anchor. I am not happy. I am incapable of pleasing those who mete out bits of money to me for my half-hearted attempts at idiocy. I am apathetic. I don’t vote, in politics or religion or anything else. I just float. It’s easier that way. I don’t know if I will ever again have the drive to do anything or be anyone.
Oh yes, because who I am doesn’t fit any of the molds offered to me. I am too misshapen, too big over here and too small over there. My capacities for thought and verbal expression are exceptional, and yet they are not honored. I have no voice and no audience. I am a silent mouthless head in silence, and I am trundling along. I don’t say forwards, because there is no progress or linearity in this phase of life. There is only soup. You’re just part of it. You can drown or float, but you can’t get out and walk on dry land.
Oh yes, you could say I’m depressed.
This endless vapid broadcasting into the void has left me formless and void within. I think I died a little bit with each Facebook post and each triumphant hard-won book sale. I don’t see myself any more. I don’t feel the heat of my driving fire. I don’t see the dross that it has burned up. I just see cold ash.
I am the kind of person who will walk gingerly around a spider spinning a web in the middle of the stairwell. In the random happenings and in the random confluence of the life of all things, I see nobody else’s idea of right and wrong. I don’t take up their causes. I just watch. I process. Then I tell people what they’re doing wrong. It’s obvious at that point. This is why I’m unfit for any sort of employment. They don’t know how much I die inside when I pretend to give a damn about their bottom line. Their greediness and profiteering are just as wrong to hound me for compliance as the spider is right to make that web wherever he pleases. They can have their money; I’ll watch the spider.
I am more placidly depressed than ever, and yet I am a better writer than ever. Perhaps you can’t speak to people’s shadowy and grunted agonies unless you have plumbed your own to the depths. Perhaps it’s some cosmic rite of passage, some lone universal door through which all prophets must pass to gather the skills of prophecy.
Perhaps it’s God teaching me what pain is so I can heal the pain of others.