Sleeping Wide Awake


Since BEST FRIEND died, I’ve struggled to write. There have been other things that have gone on, other discouragers that have accumulated collectively, but her death was itTHE BIG ONE.

If not the biggest one.

This blog was (and is) an attempt to reignite the spark in my imagination, but also the passion to write, because all of it nowadays seems largely (if not spectacularly) meaningless.

(As an aside, the most recent book I’ve had published, This [MidnightSun Publishing 2023], was actually originally written in 2016, then revised periodically, with the biggest redraft occurring at the KSP Retreat in March 2020, right before Covid crippled the world.)

I’ve been able to revise existing work, but not generate anything new. My imagination is neither interested nor motivated; previously, an idea would usually captivate it, and then I’d turn it over, poke at it, explore it, extrapolate from it, develop it, see where it would go, and once I’d developed enough momentum, I’d begin writing.

Momentum doesn’t exist now.

Nothing much does.

That vacuum draws alternatives to fill it, and the one speculative thread that’s unsatisfied is the argument with IDIOT FRIEND. Since I didn’t engage, I have all these unused counters. They bounce around in my head, at first dimly, but then ricocheting until they grow louder and self-destructively incisive.

On my walks to and from work, I think about how I would counter his accusations, what I would say, how I would say it, always trying to find the best articulation, revising in my head, finding a new execution, but so often I grow Hulk-angry at the irrationality of his accusations and magical-thinking logic that this rage fills me, becoming this blackness that throbs in my head – not darkness, but this oily, impenetrable murk that threatens to wash over me and corrode any facsimile of equilibrium that I’ve generated and struggled to maintain over the last year.

Once the facsimile’s gone, I don’t know what remains – over the decades, I’ve learned to keep moving forward irrespective of mental health issues, chronic pain, and a dissonance that has become not only all too familiar, but progressively invasive.

This isn’t me as a teen, worried that clusters of panic attacks would lead to a nervous breakdown (a possibility, apparently, according to that moronic public hospital fuckwit of a psychiatrist way back in 1989) or some cliché b-movie depiction of crazy, but somebody who’s come so far that surely, surely, it would make the fall so much longer, and the damage from the impact of plunging into rock bottom so much worse.

I make the decision that every time the narrative begins in my head and I explore how I would’ve countered and overturned all of IDIOT FRIEND’s idiotic arguments (I know the repetition of “idiot” is redundant, but this point really needs to be stressed), I have to derail that line of thought immediately.

Sometimes I think of BEST FRIEND giving me a hug, other times I think about what I have to do at work, and a few times I try to jumpstart story ideas in my head. For my own sake, I need to start writing again. It’s the only time, the only place, I find peace.

The only time.

Now, though, I wonder if that represents my true life, my true purpose, or it’s just an affectation, if not a façade.