Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stress and Words

I apologize in advance for getting too personal.

I have a terrible habit of burying things that bother me down... somewhere, and eventually they swell up to the point that I'm completely overwhelmed. When that hits, I go into a fairly intense depression and have frequent (though not very big) panic attacks. If I wasn't a reader or didn't have an outlet like writing- I have no idea how I would ride these depressions out, honestly.

After having a stressful, busy day I just wanted to curl up in bed with a good book- or a few. Right now it's the Brief Lives volume of Sandman by President of Awesome Mr. Gaiman, Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner (I received this for review and so far it's one of my fave reads of '08), a MaryJanice Davidson book from the library (she's always reliable for a short, fast and very funny read) and reading stories from Blood Lite in-between each book I finish- it's one of the best anthologies I've read in a while, and I read a lot of anthologies.. Anyway, I was all set when I realized I was given only one of three medications when I went to the pharmacy, and the pharmacist didn't feel the need to tell me that (I was picking up some for my mom at the same time so the number wasn't obvious.)

Sniffling and feeling sorry for myself, I went back. After sitting things right, on the way back home I started up a narrative in my head that was inspired by my brain wandering while i waited for my change. I actually do a LOT of "writing" in my head, I'm almost always narrating things and have to remind myself to actually put it to paper or screen. Anyway, this one I really liked. I liked it so much I pulled over to the side of a quiet street, and wrote it out on the back of a prescription bag with a trusty pen I had in my purse. Afterwards I felt a bit better- like a little of the pressure inside me was relieved.

Now I'm at home, and even though I can read now- here I am, writing. I recently read the wonderful The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. I enjoyed it a lot, though towards the end when he apparently attacked readers for being "spectators" I was thrown off. Didn't the Queen of England find knowledge, a degree of happiness in her discovery of books? According to Mr. Bennett, however, us readers are introverted watchers of the action unless or until we write our own stories. I do not believe this is true of everyone, but after thinking about it I realized it was true of me.

When I gave up writing for a few years after high school (a long, boring and depressing story) I really did feel like I sank into a shell I had worked hard to pop out of. Since I've re-discovered writing in the past couple of years, I had felt more empowered- both in life and even in my reading. Before I claimed to be a bookworm but I just picked out whatever book was convenient and therefore didn't finish most of them. Now I read a ton of book blogs, visit lots of bookstores (used and new) and have dialogues with other readers. I think finding my love of writing re-triggered why I love books so much. I am so thankful I found them both again, because I need them both a hell of a lot right now. Now that I think about it, I tend to write better the more depressed/stressed I am- maybe my writing needs my "suffering" as much as the suffering needs the words.

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