It’s no secret that one of the reasons I write is because indulging my creative side helps to quell the darker impulses of my heart. To me there is something cathartic in escaping from reality and allowing my creativity to flourish and spill onto a blank page. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’ve lived through the worst that life has to offer, but through my trials and tribulations I’ve battled old man depression a few times now and so far I’ve managed to upstage the bastard every time. Recently I’ve been feverishly writing the opening chapters of my follow up novel to Midas and have rediscovered the elation of creating something new and exciting.
It must sound odd to read this; my last post spoke about a case of writer’s block and my frustrations at the industry I am so desperately trying to break into. But when you have been through depression and stared your demons in the eye you learn that life is sempiternal. That is to say that life is a relentless and everlasting wave of emotion. We move through our existence flawed by our highs, and polarised by our lows and if we are astute enough to accept and savour the two extremes we can learn some truly incredible truths about ourselves along the way.
I love to create flawed characters. And I love to take those characters and set their world ablaze, or destroy their faith in humanity, in a bid to leave them completely and utterly hopeless. I don’t do this because I’m a sadist; however that would probably be a lot easier to explain… I do this because when I need to escape from reality there is nothing more incredible than seeing someone pushed so far beyond their limits, only for them to triumph in the face of overwhelming adversity.
That’s not to say that my characters always triumph. Sadly life doesn’t always work that way. I’ve murdered some of my favourite creations in the name of realism. Wrists have been slit, windpipes severed, and bodies beaten beyond all reason. But even in these tales of woe I strive to weave just a subtle thread of hope for the reader to hold onto. With just the tiniest thread of hope a man (or woman) can walk through the depths of hell or move an entire mountain of shit.
Midas is a novel that is very dear to my heart, and always will be. But now that the incredible thrill of writing and editing the piece has subsided, I am enthralled with the limitless possibilities and plotlines rolling through my head as I dive headfirst into its follow up. Each morning when I rise at the crack of dawn my fingertips dance effortlessly across my keyboard and my characters continue to grow to a point where they are now more flesh than fiction in my mind’s eye. My characters and my stories are once again becoming a part of me as the joy of venturing into the unknown alongside my creations becomes my reality once more.
I’m learning that just as my personal life is sempiternal in its everlasting series of elations and battles with that fucker called depression, so too is my life as a writer. I move through calm seas and troubled waters as I navigate the murky depths of my mind in order to push the boundaries of my own creativity. I’ve learned over the course of my writing lifespan that I need to remain astute and open minded to every piece of literature I read, every university lecture or book launch I attend, and every other writer I stumble across on my journey. But most of all I’ve learned to open my mind and truly embrace myself so that I can continue to grow and develop each and every single time I write. When you are writing to fight off your inner demons you must first learn to accept and acknowledge their existence so that you can better understand just what you are facing up to on a daily basis.
My passion for writing is growing again, and even though my style is ever evolving and my tales growing increasingly complex, the catalysts and compulsions behind what I do remain constant. I write to keep the demons in my head at bay and to express myself as an individual in a world that often overlooks those who try to establish themselves as such. Right now I’m riding a wave of euphoria that sees me putting pen to page every chance I get. And even though this euphoria will pass and I’ll be struck with writer’s block time and time again, I’ll always find solace in the fact that without those lows, I’d never be able to experience all the wonderful highs that my life as a writer has bought me.