Greek mythology tells story of Icarus, son of the great Athenian craftsman Daedalus, who built the Labyrinth for King Minos of Crete. The story goes that Daedalus, imprisoned in his own creation by the King, fashioned two sets of wings from feathers and wax so that he and his son could escape. Before taking to the skies, Daedalus warned his son not fly too close to the sea, where dampness would clog his wings, nor too close to the sun, but to follow his path of flight.
But Icarus, overcome with the thrill of flying, ignored his father’s warning, soaring ever higher until the sun melted his wings, and he was left flapping his bare arms. Falling to the sea beneath him, Icarus drowned.
The story of Icarus is one of over-ambition. The Athenian’s failure to recognize the separation between his desire to soar closer to the sun, and his inability to do so, cost him his life. So fabled was his failed flight, that psychoanalyst Henry Murray established the personality theory known as the Icarus Complex to describe an individual with an ego so consuming that it borders on malevolent.
July 19th marked the sixth anniversary of this website…
And yet, despite the considerable lapse in time between posts, I chose not to draw attention to the date. Instead, I spent the day looking at photographs of flowers, sorting through images that I loved and loathed, while I waited for my editor to complete the final read through of a manuscript I have spent the past two years writing.
My decision not to post on the July 19th wasn’t an easy one to make. When I first began blogging, I never imagined that I would achieve everything that I have in the past six years. This site was born out of a yearning to break out of the depressive mindset that often left me feeling alone. The disparity between my dreams of becoming a bestselling author, and my distinct lack of talent to do so, could even have made a man as ambitious as Icarus question my headspace. To not acknowledge just how much I have grown since then seemed wrong.
But the timing wasn’t right. I was just beginning to enjoy writing again after an extended absence, and I didn’t want to force myself to upload something just for the hell of it. So I decided to wait. Until now.
The past six years have been a wild ride. In my most egotistical moments, I have called myself a wolf. In times of self reflection, I have drawn comparisons between my softer side and bouquets of flowers. I have also picked fights with bigots, wrote for other websites, received a few death threats from readers, and somehow managed to strike a chord with the people who return with every post to read my attempts at personal and creative growth.
By December of last year, I had written a hundred and seventy-six posts, built a subscribership of just over eighteen thousand, and amassed over a quarter of a million page views. At the time, I felt as though I was closing the gap between my dreams and the talent that I required to make them a reality. This website, and my nearly completed manuscript, were like wings made of feathers and wax that were going to help me contiuously soar to new heights.
And then I flew too close to the sun and my wings began to melt…
At the start of 2018, I fell into the oceans of anxiety that my writing had allowed me escape from, and I almost drowned. Although I survived, my confidence and creative impulses had been destroyed. By April I was so distraught, confused, and unsure why I had been abandoned by the wolf I have always nurtured inside of me, that I ran away to Europe and spent seven weeks trying to rediscover just who the fuck I am.
I spent 49 days visiting 12 countries, travelling 46,513 kilometres on planes, trains, busses and boats, with an additional 551 kilometres on foot. I shared my room with 127 different roommates, read six books, lived through a bomb threat, found myself in trouble with a member of the Swiss guard, grew a beard, and visited more museums, monuments, and bathhouses than I can even name. But perhaps the most important feat that I accomplished during my travels, was the two blog posts I managed to produce.
While I don’t consider either of the posts to my best work, they helped to repair the confidence I had lost in my writing, and allowed me to understand why I had been struggling to create for so much of this calendar year.
It turns out that I had developed an Icarus Complex. But not in a creative sense like I had originally thought. Not only am I a far better writer than I was six years ago, it has also been a long time since I have dreamed of writing a bestseller. These days I would rather write a book that leaves a lasting impression on an individual, than produce something that is consumed by many and quickly forgotten.
Instead, the disparity I had created in my life was between the man I wanted to become, and the mindset that I believed I required to do so.
My wings of feather and wax had melted when I came too close to a life devoid of human emotion.
After years of living with anxiety and depression, I became consumed with the idea of removing all frustration and angst from my life. I forced myself to constantly look for the positives in every situation. Instead of allowing myself to experience moments of anger and hurt, I began suppressing them to convince myself that life was perfect. By doing this, my world became sterile and uneventful, and my inspiration to write faded.
In hindsight, it’s mind boggling that it took running away to Europe to realise removing angst from my life was a mistake. I have often written about Laozi’s Yin & Yang, noting the importance of embracing all aspects of life. But, I am human. Which means I am perfectly imperfect, and for a few months I lost sight of my own beliefs.
In the two months since arriving back in Australia I have been extremely busy. I have finalised the manuscript I began writing in 2016, selected a cover image I’ve fallen in love with, worked on allowing myself to feel a more complex array of emotion once again (both positive and negative), and although I haven’t posted until now, I have also been writing.
The first half of 2018 has probably been one of the hardest creative periods that I have ever lived through. My refusal to allow myself small doses of anger and frustration in an attempt to be a better person destroyed my desire to create, and I had to completely remove myself from my own reality to realise that. But now that I have come to understand the dangers of soaring too close to the sterilised life I had once misconstrued as perfection, and began to embrace the emotional highs and lows that allow me to create, I’m back. And I’m excited as hell to be blogging again.
Two days ago, I released my sophomore novel You. I began writing the book during the lowest moment of my life, and used it as a means of healing. The book’s release is a defining moment in my life. It is a chance to lay to rest the psychological battles I have waged with anxiety and depression in the past, and to move forward onto new and exciting projects.
I’m thrilled about my future as both a writer and a man. The knowledge that I have rediscovered my passion for writing, and the wolf that howls inside of me is ineffable. To know that I have grown from a boy consumed by anger, into someone who actively avoided angst, and finally into a man comfortable enough to embrace all facets of life, and human emotion, makes me feel more alive than I have ever been.
I know that this post is a few weeks overdue, but I wanted to take a moment to offer my sincerest thank you to everyone who has followed this site over the past six years. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for sharing in my journey. And thank you for being a part of my life. The love that I have for every single one of you is far greater than you could ever understand.
Despite the very lacklustre start to 2018, I hope that you continue to stick around, because Chris Nicholas and the Renegade Press are just getting started.
To learn more about You, please click on the image below:
92 thoughts on “Ineffable”
Hi. Thanks for the support and Congrats on the Anniv. Well Done. Well Written this is. Too.
Aimed at the hearts from the Heart. Glad you are staying as well. Stay well also.
Good for you! I like the cover of YOU and the description. Don’t expect your publisher to launch your book. That’s now the writer’s job. Very best wishes! (And thanks for checking out The Drifter series).
Wow this was quite the inspirational read. As someone who has just decided to start down the path of being a writer and poet, I find this to be extremely relevant to me. Thank you for sharing your journey, its always nice to be able to remind myself that I am not the only who struggles and that if others can overcome then so can I.
This article almost got me crying and ended up giving me a stronger faith that I can do it and someday I too can write an article like this with so much gratitude
A lovely and inspiring post. I started my blog on July 16th of this year and having a wonderous time. Glad to meet you!
Congratulations and thanks for sharing! It’s my first time on your blog and I love it already. Feelings are difficult to deal with, they’re challenge! I hear you! Well done!
Absolutely, one hundred percent true. I like what you said, you’d rather turn out something that impacts people rather than something that is consumed, and then forgotten. I don’t know how many books I’ve read that once I was done, I said, Oh, that was nice, and then never picked it up again. I’d rather have that one book that speaks to my soul, and every time I open it, I find something I missed the first, second, or even thirtieth time around. Thanks for the post.
You have almost 21,000 followers and somehow managed to come across my poem, for some reason liked it, and so here I am checking out the random being who liked my work, shocked that you, with such a large following, would like my work.Regardless, Thank you
I am in awe after reading your post! What a treasure of a skill you have! I thank you for liking my recent post because now I get to read your work… who knows if I would have seen this amazing post otherwise.
Great post! I relate trying to remove depression and anxiety from your life and how it affects the creative process. About 18 months ago, I shed all of my assets and tried to remove myself from anything that stressed me out or upset me. The path I took was actually counterproductive to what I wanted to accomplish. For a while, I couldn’t write. With enough time, introspection, and reflection, I started embracing the anxiety, anger, frustration, and face my stressors head on, and in doing so, launched my blog. I’m not writing a lot but I am writing daily and feeling more inspired. Thank you for sharing! Brian
Thank you for sharing your journey. Your bravery is inspirational! I wish you the best. Congratulations on the release of your book!
Hi Chris! You just liked one of my blog posts and it means a lot to me! I love your writing and your blog! Thank you for checking mine out. Maybe we can support each other and follow each other?
Thank you for dropping by and like my blog post, you are such an inspirational writer, and have motivated me to work harder on my blog posts, which was a push I sorely needed. Thanks for this new year motivation!
Reblogged this on The Perils of Improbable Potholes.
Yes, your post is truly inspiring for anyone who has ever suffered from any sort of emotional challenges, and I suspect that includes a lot of us. Good for you for overcoming that and going ahead with publishing a book. That is a genuinely good victory for you. I wish you the best with your book and in continuing to move forward.
Insightful comments about writing and life. Praying for God’s very best for you. Blessings!
Greetings wolf on this red moon wolf weekend (in the states). I sympathitize but can’t empathathize as I’ve never been depressed…must have lots of the right ‘tonins’ or luck of the Irish? Thanks for liking my new blog in which I’m throwing my writing out there, though hopefully not like one throws spaghetti against a wall to test doneness !
You said “These days I would rather write a book that leaves a lasting impression on an individual, than produce something that is consumed by many and quickly forgotten.” I suppose that’s why my 4 books in progress remain in progress while being ‘bettered’ and made leaner like the wolf in winter. Best of luck in getting your book to the public…I’ll be looking for it! Jo
I also tried for so long to force anxiety out of my life, but just like you said, nothing good can come from doing that. I have found that often times accepting negative feelings instead of trying to fight them is what really helps. Thank you for this post, I loved reading it and will definitely check out your novel, congrats by the way!
Thank you for dropping by, now I can go cry on my chances of success, but yet again I’m very stubborn. I hope to have my blog site up the way I truly want it. Thanks again for dropping in on a non hitter
I really enjoyed this post, good on you for being so honest. Hope life is treating you well as we hare into 2019!
Bravo. For all of it. And how in hell do you get a readership? Not that I have tried in the slightest but it occurs to me now, after 100 posts, that my blog, of which I’m (mostly) proud, and that I started entirely for myself, and continue to write for my own satisfaction and as documentation of a woman grappling with what life throws at me… well, it’s a non-entity in the scheme of things. In any case, I am very impressed with your self-awareness. You are an old soul.
I like your style and thanks for checking out my little blog.
I’m still in process so bear with me Lol. Check out each of my blood and not just one you may be surprised n like it!!! Keep writing!!!❤️
Please edit my last comment in a couple places … I don’t know how on here thank you!
I look forward to following you. Awesome cover for your book too BTW
Greetings wolf, on this bright blue day(here in Windhoek, Namibia). I don’t have much to say either then the fact that i sympathize with you, but am unable to empathize as i’ve never experienced depression. I admire your skill as a writer, as well as your passion and outlook on life; which is why i’m so thrilled to thank you for liking my recent post The Land of Mend and Bend. Its always good for ones mood when you know someone out there appreciates your efforts at wielding the forces of creativity and aligning them to your will.
Your honesty is refreshing. Culturally writers tend to play it safe and sugar coat, stripping back the rawness.
Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.
So proud of you! You have really opened up about who you are. Just this post alone, gives strength to anyone reading to keep writing, expressing their emotions, and growing through their whole life 🙂 Jen
This goes to show that every depressing moment, every gut wrenching pain, every bitter feeling and basically all the things that bring us down to our very core-are all absolute necessities to get our eventual success in whatever we are trying to achieve. Before I used to think why everything always goes wrong, now i realise they are actually the catalysts to become the person we are meant to be.
God this is amazing!!! I’m so honored you even opened my blog site! You’re writing convicts me at my heart strings. Ty for this letter ! I may be just another follower but I feel connected to you…the mouth of a wolf. Ty again for everything. Melanie The Eclectic Writer
It seems like you’ve been through a lot to get to where you are. ‘You’ has a really interesting plot.
You write the realest posts Chris. They’re raw and brilliant. You aren’t afraid of showing people both how vulnerable and strong you are.
The best writing often comes when we allow ourselves to feel all of the emotions and to let them out. It helps us, and others who might peruse our paltry offering on the altar of the written word, even if that is only one reader. As someone who has blogged for ten years this year, it’s the writing that matters, not the size of the audience. YOU have done what you set out to do. Best wishes on your continual movement forward, despite the detours along the way – glad you’re gathering flowers as well, how dull life would be without them.
Very inspiring and encouraging words. Congratulations on your achievements. You truly deserve it!
Thank you for being vulnerable. I look forward to reading more.
Very nicely expressed! Best wishes.
Great to hear from you, Chris (it’s been a while). Hope the wolf is still howling, creative and alive!
Glad u found me so I found you.. here’s to many years to come! Love from a newbie in Athens 🙂
Yeah! To your confidence. And what great way to navigate anxiety. Travelling and blogging suit you well.