Monday, January 10, 2011

Missing My Made-up World

            I’ve always been pretty even-keeled, emotionally speaking.  I rarely have mood swings and I’m generally always happy.  I was, and still am, a very optimistic person, always looking on the bright side of things.  But things have changed in the last six months and for some reason, I always feel like I’m walking on a knife’s edge, fearing that any minute I will fall into an abyss I cannot even see.  Nothing much has changed in the last year except for one thing:  I’ve written a novel—a highly charged, emotionally provocative novel.  And I’ve been living in the world I’ve created for my characters all day, everyday for the last nine months. 
            So in essence, I’ve lost my parents and young sister in a tragic accident caused by my brother who I now worry has become addicted to drugs while he wrestles with gun-toting thugs in San Francisco’s Russian mafia.  I’ve suffered the loss of my wife after she became entangled in the aftermath of a criminal case of fraud brought on by the heartless disdain of a greedy woman.  I’ve spiraled into extreme alcoholism dealing with her loss and have subsequently thrown myself on a reckless course of retribution, drunkenly mistaking an innocent woman and ruining her life.  And then I had to go on the run in order to protect her from the gangsters who seek to enslave her while also trying to negotiate my brother’s freedom from the Russian’s who are using him as leverage in order to get their hands on the woman whose life I’ve ruined. 
            So tell me, is it any wonder I’ve been feeling a bit blue lately? 
Living in their world is exciting, allowing me to escape from the mundane day to day life of a stay-at-home mom whose child is more of an adult and whose business has nearly dried up in the aftermath of the economic meltdown.  My characters have become real to me and though they are each flawed—two dangerously so—I have come to love them with all my heart.  I might even go so far as to say I am in love with one of them.  (Crazy, I know.)  This is my life.  Everyday.  And I sometimes think I’m going freaking insane. 
            But what I’ve come to understand is that this is not unusual.  It seems to be a real pitfall of being a writer.  Sometimes I’m not so sure I like this life of a writer.  It is way too emotional, way too unbalanced, and way too scary.  I wish I could be ignorantly happy again, the way I used to be when all I did was sit at my computer and design fabulous interior spaces, chatting on the phone with clients and colleagues.  Or even after that when my business started to dry up, when I used to spend my days cooking and baking in order to satisfy that basic need inside me to create something special out of something ordinary. 
But now that I’ve written this book, I fear that I can never go back to who I used to be.  I’m still that woman.  She’s still in there.  I still do design work, especially now that the economy is perking up a bit.  But for some reason, it is just not at all satisfying any longer.  I crave the excitement of that crazy, dangerous world I’ve created.  But since I’ve pretty much wrapped up my novel and am seeking representation, I don’t get to spend any time with my characters any more.  And I can’t tell you how sad that makes me.  How lonely I am for them. 
But having said all that, I could not imagine not writing.  Even with all the turmoil, I crave nothing more than to spend my day at my keyboard creating exciting adventures and dangerous complications for my seriously damaged characters.  I want to send them into danger and see if they can fight their way out.  I want to experience their joy of lying in the arms of their loved ones and I want to feel their triumph when they overcome the insurmountable odds I’ve placed against them.  I have some understanding now why so many famous writers have slipped over the edge.  It is a tumultuous condition to live in, but I’ve experienced the highest highs and lowest lows and I feel that I’m living the life I really want to live. 
           Now if I could only make a living at it. 

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