Surfacing for air

As a writer I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. If I am going to sit down and flesh out my innermost thoughts for the world to see then I am going to devote my full attention to the task. Often times this means that I completely withdraw from the world and live within the confines of my own head for weeks at a time, barely registering what is taking place around me. I become so egocentric during these times that I often neglect those closest to me and even myself as I focus solely on the men and women that exist only in my mind’s eye. It’s a pretty shallow task to undertake, yet in my youthful arrogance I habitually chose this path of total isolation in my quest to create something of worth.

Yet despite my acknowledgement of my processes I regularly find myself disorientated and confused when I am eventually roused from my state of comatose and returned to the land of the living. Relationships that once prospered are now fractured and require urgent attention, my image has dwindled away to the point where I look like a homeless person, and the house looks like a bomb hit it. I find myself left asking just when the fuck did everything veer off course and why didn’t my prose-fuelled brain notice that something was amiss? I guess the question that I really want to know is why because I choose to be a writer does isolation have to be a by-product?

Well, the truth is that it doesn’t. There’s hundreds of thousands of writers all over the globe that manage to indulge their creative tendencies and still maintain some semblance of normality. Yet here I am retreating into myself every time my creative urges flair. I guess a large part of my behaviour can be attributed back to the fact that I’m actually a pretty timid man. I’ve never been in a fight. I’ve never stood up in the face of great adversity. And If I’m being completely honest I’ve never really expressed myself in an external fashion until I decided to become a writer. Ever since I was a boy I have internalised my thoughts and feelings, pushing them to a place so deep that I must now undertake an expedition to my very soul just to fuel that flame to create.

But what does this all mean? Does it mean that if I want to write then I am destined to be a perpetual disappointment to those closest to me? Well, I sincerely hope not. But it does mean that from now on when I choose to slip into that creative mindset and delve beneath the surface of my own thoughts, I’ll have to make a conscious effort to surface for air a little more often.

Over the past few months I’ve been putting the finishing touches to my manuscript in preparation for my journey abroad. In that time I’ve distanced myself from just about everyone and forgone the pleasures of the real world to focus on the chaotic realities of the one that I have created. But now as the end is in sight and my work feels greater than ever I can take a little more time to surface and show those closest to me that I really do love them, and can’t thank them enough for constantly putting up with the frustrated, egotistical arse that I often am.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

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