Recently, a close friend asked me a very important question. In my last couple posts, I had talked about climbing down the staircase when going through stories, and dealing with my inner demons.
She asked why I wasn’t writing about going up the staircase, towards the light. It was a valid question. And it was one I had thought about a few times. Traveling up have been leading to light and freedom, that was true. However, I’m rarely walking up that staircase within my mind.
The further I go, the more I descend, the more intense my ideas become. When an idea hits me and it’s strong, my entire body goes cold and breaks into a sweat. I can only relate it to the feeling of going into shock [finally experienced it first-hand when I was laid off last year]. Everything begins to numb. My mind cannot let the idea go and it’s all I can think about. I have even cancelled plans with friends when those moments happen; for fear of losing the idea, or not being polite to others because I physically can’t pay attention to them.
There’s the saying, “The light is at the end of the tunnel.” And for some, it’s true. The light could be at the top of the staircase for many reaching for a clarity in their lives. I’m not the same. When I’ve reached a clarity in my writing, I’m not met by a warm light of comfort. I’m met with a dark space that’s cold and damp. To an outsider, that would sound depressing. And it could be. But to me, it means I’ve found what I was searching for. I’ve fought through the darkness within myself to find the clarity I needed.
Writing can be dangerous. There is a history of writers [famous or not] who have suffered from depression and had to fight their inner demons everyday to create their craft. While some succumbed to their demons, there were also writers who climbed up and to see the light. The thought is a nice one, but I know I’m not one of those writers.
My work can lead me into dark places within myself. As I peer through the windows and watch my characters live, I will envy them, hate them, love them, and feel them.
To counter act the dark emotions and demons, I became a gym rat. It has gotten to the point that my chronic pain has increased, and I can’t even run anymore. But I go almost everyday and lift weights. By lifting, I’m making myself physically stronger to be mentally strong enough to fight off the demons. As long as I can fight off the demons, I can continue down the darkness and write (Not to mention, waking up at 4am to work out for 2 hours almost every day makes me so exhausted that I’m in bed by 9pm).
Everyone has their way of coping with the difficulties life throws at us. I hope you are someone who climbs up the staircase instead of down. But if you are someone who is on the same journey as me, don’t give up. You’re strong enough to keep going, or even change and start traveling towards the light above.
For now, I’m going to follow my staircase, look through all the windows, and fight all the demons on my way down. Dead Dreamer is a four book series. I can’t leave the land of the dead just yet. After ten years, my journey is only beginning.
I’ll send a post card.