Friday, December 12, 2008

Swimming Upstream

I know.  I know.  This time of the year is never good for me, no matter how hard I try.   A self-imposed lecture on the myriad number of blessings I have (good health, great family, excellent friends, roof over my head, food to eat, etc.) never seems to make an impact except for making me feel guilty for having them in the first place.  

Many people suffer from the winter blues and goodness knows that here in the great frozen Midwest, I'd be excused if such were the case with me, but it's not.  My mother's birthday is the week before Christmas and since my last post revealed that she's no longer with me, you'll understand that it's the time of year that I miss her most.  My best friend, also deceased, would have celebrated her forty-seventh birthday this Christmas Eve.   So, I'll be in a dire mood for the next few weeks, working hard to lift myself from the doldrums and not get mired in misery.

When I was young (er) I wrote  dreadful poetry or stories as an outlet for my angst and I guess some old habits die hard.   Hard enough, anyway because I laid out an entirely new story, plot, GMC and suitably horrible ending for hero and heroine, all in the space of a few hours.  All this on the strength of transferring my black mood from my mind onto paper.  I tried to think of any notable authors who writes sorrowful tales where no one is ever really happy and the endings are sad.   Then I realized that there are plenty of talented and noteworthy authors who write stories exactly like that , but the work isn't considered romance. 

 Like the Scarlet Letter.  That's a pretty sad story wrapped around an awful conclusion and I'm sure I could come up with many others but for now, I'll ponder this particular work from Nathaniel Hawthorne.   Wikipedia says that The Scarlet Letter was considered Hawthorne's magnum opus.  So perhaps instead of trying to lift my black mood, I should mine it for literary achievement since I seem to be lacking the cheerfulness needed to write a proper romance.  


Marilyn Brant said...

I don't think there's anything we can do but let ourselves feel what we feel. I know the holidays are rough this way because there's such a focus on "being merry." It's apparently anxiety-inducing to other people if we're not suitably upbeat and jingly when they want us to be, and I think it's this expectation of merriment-no-matter-what that adds further stress at a time when we could use a LOT less...

So, though I wish this weren't such a difficult time for you, I can certainly understand why it would be, and if writing darker, sadder stories is a way you can cope with it--I say, do that.

FWIW, I was feeling similarly last month and that's why I couldn't work on my current book--nothing I wrote was the right tone for it...but I hadn't thought to work on a different project. So, I think you're being very productive. :)

Missed you in Milwaukee today and thought of you often...

Abigail Reynolds said...

It's extra-hard to have to deal with sad issues at Christmas-time, with all the emphasis on joy and the work that needs to be done. My mother died in late April, and it was over ten years before I could make it through the leaves coming out on the trees without being pretty down. When everybody else was seeing a new beginning, I was seeing an end. My father died years later on April Fools Day, and that's easier - I think because I don't feel like I ought to happy on April Fools Day.

As for your writing, this happens to lots of people. We start writing light-hearted, happy tales, and then as we keep writing, they get darker and darker. It's certainly true for me. Maybe this is the story you need to tell.

Lots of hugs,

elegantextracts said...

You are not alone. The holiday's are not my favorite time of the year but I sometimes think I don't like this time because everyone "expects" me to like it.

I know I am fortunate because I have all my family with me still, but it doesn't shake my "anti-holiday" mood whatsoever.

My suggestion (not that you asked) is to focus on the outward. I find comfort in movement. A long, tiring walk seems to do the trick for me or reading a sappy novel or viewing 8 hours of Hornblower straight through... anything to focus my mind elsewhere and off my mood.

These things work for me, and I know that everyone is different so do what ever make you happy. Try to look at the coming days as just that: days.

e. said...

Big hug to you, P.

This can be such a difficult time of year. By writing what comes to mind, be it something sad, a memory, a blog post and put the romance aside for a little bit, I think you're doing the best thing. Writing through the sadness makes me remember happier things too. Silly memories, happy snippets, things that help to dull the pain with some sweetness. I hope that will work for you too... writing is a wonderful gift, if you can write how you feel, so much the better.

It's never easy though, and I feel for you. My mother died right after the Christmas holiday in 1991, so I still have very vivid memories of that. And my father had a horrible time right before Christmas two years ago, so I remember the season with sadness, although as time goes on, the memories become just a little sweeter.

I hope writing will make you feel better....

Pam said...

Pamala--I came over here because I kept seeing you on Marilyn's site. We share some of the same interests, so I guess Marilyn has good taste!

You have my good thoughts for a peaceful holiday season. It's always difficult when sad things happen around this time, even if it's just the memory of somebody no longer with us.

On a lighter note, your mention of dreadful poetry made me laugh. After reading some of my dreadful poetry to my DH, he very gently suggested I try writing what I know (which was not poetry), and that's how I started writing romance!

Pamala Knight said...

Thanks to all the angels who stopped by this blog and a special chocolate kiss to those who've left comments, such as:

Marilyn - I am running out of words to express how much you comfort me with your sentiments. You always say the right thing.

Abigail - thank you (along with Marilyn) for encouraging me to let the dark story have its voice. I agree that I like my work better when I've allowed it to flow instead of forcing things. And I'll try to remember that town in Alaska or somewhere that has daylight for months and how insane that would make me I'll try for balance in mood and attitude.

Teresa! - I'm happier just by having you stop by. Your advice is good and appeals to me because I think I'm overdue to work my issues out by hitting some tennis balls. And a movie marathon might just do the trick. Horatio Hornblower you say?

E. - I appreciate you lending your support as always and I promise I'll try to heed your wise words. Happy holidays to you, Lily and M.

Pam - Hello there! I'm getting happier by the post, here, LOL. And I'm not sure how much of this blog you've read but Marilyn is the pinnacle, or as that song goes, 'she's the tops..." and if she hasn't figured out that I'm hanging around her, hoping that some of that awesomeness will rub off on me then the cat's out of the bag now. Thank you for stopping by. Please don't be a stranger. I promise I'm only mariginally insane and not well and truly entrenched ;-).

Thank you to all of you for helping to lift my spirits with your kind words.