Thursday, September 22, 2011

Move Along – There’s Nothing to see Here

Or at least that’s how I feel.  It must be something endemic with creative folk: depression and moodiness. Maybe its post-project depression? I’m nearing the end of a biggish project for Chaosium Inc’s Call of Cthulhu RPG – a follow-up to my apparently incredibly popular and successful Malleus MonstrorumMalleus Monstrorum 2 (yes, a very original title. Do you like it? I came up with it all by myself!). Its looking like it’s going to top out just under 100,000 words. Not bad for under a month’s worth of work. I’m also putting the last touches on my latest anthology, Horror for the Holidays, and should have that one done and off to my publisher in a few weeks. And I’m finishing up my own latest story, “Mother Blood” for an as-yet unannounced anthology of stories about the undead (or is it the living-challenged now? Political correctness and all….). And I have a couple other invites to write for anthologies. AND, there are one or two hush-hush things in the works that, if they come to fruition, are going to be absolutely fantastic! It’s actually a pretty good time for me, writing-wise, anyway.
So why do I feel like shit? Sitting here, blasting The B-52’s through my headphones, pecking at keys and wondering what the hell I’m going to actually SAY here. It’s been a month – I have to post something. Here I thought this blog thing would be easy. I mean, I’m a writer for fuck sake. Just WRITE something. Were that it was so easy. More than a writer, I’m a slave to my raw emotions, and they tend toward the darker end of the spectrum. I’m just not a butterfly and sunshine person. I lurk in the shadows on the dark side of this mortal coil. Don’t get me wrong – it has served me well, but it’s been a lifelong struggle to keep in check. And sometimes a little more slips out of the box than I’m ready to see, and it’s a fight to get it back in. 

Chronic depression has haunted me since childhood. Why? I don’t know, exactly. I’d guess it to be a cocktail of nature and nurture. I know medically that I have a hormone imbalance. My brain doesn’t produce enough of something. Couple that with abandonment issues, an obsessive personality and severe social anxiety and I guess it makes for a sloppy mess. A therapist once told me that depression was like a hole in the sidewalk; you walk down the street and you fall into the hole. The idea is to walk down the street, see the hole and to walk around it. The issues don’t ever go away, but to conquer them is to be free of them. For a long while I not only walked down that street but I leapt into that hole with both feet. I tried medicinal assistance and while it “took the edge off”, it pretty much killed my creativity: I didn’t write for YEARS. So I had to wonder if I had only two choices – be creative and suffer and look for tall buildings to jump off or “take the edge off” and never really feel anything or write again. It took some fine tuning, but we finally got it down to a happy balance; I managed to finally slay my biggest demon a few years ago, and the freedom it brought is indescribable.

So, where’s this all going? I have no idea. Oh yeah, this all started with the topic of writing and why creative folk are tortured. I suppose to create you have to be able to tap into something deep within yourself. And maybe those best suited to the task are the unbalanced and disturbed… or “special”, as I think we’re supposed to be called today! It takes someone strong enough to really dig in and root around in some dark, nasty stuff. Not that we CAN’T do the rainbows and butterflies thing; I like a pretty waterfall or sunset as much as the next guy. And don’t even get me started on kittens! But it seems to be the darkness that offers the most creativity. Maybe it isn’t really the darkness itself, but the person’s ability to face and conquer it? The alternative is pretty bleak. When someone finds out I write horror and asks me “where do you get your ideas from?” (clich├ęd, but it DOES happen), I answer them “I get my ideas the same place you get yours – from my mind.” The difference, I guess, is just in the way I see things. So I guess if I have to suffer for my art it’s worth it – so long as I remember that I’m the Master over my own Darkness. 

Until next time from the House of Secrets,

The places I stalk
Where no man would walk
The king of suspense forever.
I'll turn my home,
I'll turn my home,
I'll turn my home into Bates Motel