Monday, September 03, 2007

Despondence

This weekend came and went in a blur, a corrugated sheet of gray speckled with rust from the recent rains. On Saturday I sat down and wrote a monthly disclaimer in a bid to lift my troubled spirits... but then I read it again, and I saw exactly how far I had regressed.

I spent Sunday in a daze, as though I wanted to drink myself under the table, imbibe vast quantities of non-prescription drugs, and jump off the edge of a building all at the same time. It was my diet that ultimately saved me -- I haven't had a dose of Mountain Dew for months now, and I'll be damned if I go to that great editorial desk in the sky without having soused myself silly.

It is at points like these that I have to distract myself. I had a lot of alternatives for this in the past -- sometimes I could play a few games of Magic and concentrate on game strategy rather than the events of a turbulent life, or sometimes I could busy myself with running a tournament and shut all other concerns from my mind. Sometimes I could even read -- yes, reading helps -- but after a while it becomes just like that medicine you've been taking since you were a child: Cheap, overused, and completely ineffective.

I am now left with two options. The first is work, and I suppose that it's inevitable. Work tends to drain all personal thoughts from my head; My nine-to-five hours on weekdays are a constant struggle between making my customers happy and getting my colleagues satisfied. Work leaves me with little regard for my own well-being, so short of being discovered dead at my own desk, it probably counts as a definite distraction.

The other option involves writing. No, posts like this don't count; I refer to short fiction, the demon that sits continually on my right shoulder. There are suddenly so many deadlines and so little time -- Dean Alfar's deadline is on September 15, Fully Booked's contest runs until October 31, and Philippine Genre Stories has a Christmas special in the works. You'd think that, with so many months to have filtered plotlines and written drafts, I'd already have something in mind for any of these contests. You'd be wrong, much to your chagrin and much to my desperation.

And now I'm even afraid to sleep. My dreams have colored themselves the same shade of rust-spotted gray.

When life brings you low, it doesn't just bring you down low; It kicks you to the curb and stands there, watching your blood run cold into the gutters. Sometimes it laughs.

Somewhere in the rain, the crows are watching. They're waiting for an old storyteller to pound the pavement and give up.

Somewhere in the crowd, that same old storyteller looks up and feels the rainwater running down the sides of his face.

6 comments:

Ida said...

Since I don't have any idea what's going on in your life, I guess all the advice I can say (not that you don't already know it) is that writing is very good therapy! Some of the greatest literary masterpieces were written during the most desperate times in the writer's life. :) (So, you know, this (whatever you're sad about) could be good for you.)

I'd sing you the toothpaste jingle again, but I have a feeling that it just won't be enough this time. :P

kyutbabe said...

I know the feeling. I even entertained the thought of seeking professional help. Then someone close and dear to me said that I shouldn't be living my life this way; that I can and should choose to be happy. I'm still struggling to make that choice.

Just hang in there, Sean.

On a lighter note, maybe you should start looking for a girlfriend. That'll give you the distration you need :p

Dominique said...

Times like these, the best thing to do is to get physical -- bike, run, hike, jog, climb, pick a fight, even.

The worst thing you can do is bury yourself in work.

Sean said...

Ida: That, and toothpaste jingles usually don't go over very well in plain text...

Kyutbabe: I suppose that I could choose to be happy, or that I could choose to be miserable. What disgusts me is the fact that I'm trying to wallow in my own despair here... and I'm ending up psychoanalyzing the situation to see how I can use it in a story. I'm either being strangely practical or being remarkably thick-headed. :(

Dominique: Unfortunately, I don't have much of a choice... work's been piling up at the office lately. And as long as those bales of paper are gathering dust on my desk, then I might as well put them to good use.

kyutbabe said...

I say thick-headed. Psychoanalyzing will just leave you more lost and confused. Better to focus your attention on others; do volunteer work. I'm not currently practicing what I preach here (haven't got the time) but I know from experience that helping others, especially those from whom you don't expect to get anything in return, can make you feel good about yourself. You're actually helping yourself by helping them. :)

Sean said...

Kyutbabe: I did mention that self-psychoanalysis wasn't exactly an optimal habit...