Exhaustion has set in over the last two days – I’m starting to feel like someone who’s been climbing a mountain and needs to stop at camp for awhile; last night I found myself barely functional. I suspect I need a nice, restful weekend, and though I was viewing some of our plans for this weekend through the lens of the effort involved, I might be coming back around to seeing those things (a barbecue, a concert) as a chance to unwind.
One thing is for certain, though – the time for a vacation is rapidly approaching, lest I burn out. It’s been close to two years since I last had one, and the stress of those years – momentous years, no doubt – is weighing heavily on me. During that two-year gap, even taking a day off has been a matter of some personal issue, as I have this nagging tendency to blame myself and feel guilty when I’m not in the office. My work ethic certainly works for and against me. Most of the time I’m grateful for it, but there are times that it drives me insane.
Here’s the issue: this exhaustion has left me a bit hollow when trying to summon things that I might say about my own writing. Don’t get me wrong, work continues all the same, and though I’ve already surpassed my weekly word count goal (took that off the site, updating it was becoming a chore), work will continue into the weekend. The book has taken on a life of its own, for better or worse. Unfortunately, though, I’m not sure how much I have to say about things at this point.
Okay, how about we chase a particular animal that’s been racing around my mind down into its warren. I have been thinking lately about how writing and the broader creative, artistic process functions as a method of bringing dreams into being. It’s simplistic to be sure, as there is also the issue of capturing and conveying emotion and the human experience that may or may not bear any resemblance to a dream. I do wonder, though, if that isn’t also tied in some way to the same thing, a need to capture some sort of dream-like state? No matter how literary or staid, literal or surreal the work, we’re all looking to reproduce inner states.
The subject is so close to my heart because I’ve always had intense and vivid dreams. For the longest time, it seemed like everyone had those dreams, but relaying my dream experiences over the years has led me to realize that my dreams are generally more intense, and certainly odder. As the nature of my dreams has become clearer to me, the inclination to trust them as a source for inspiration has also grown. They represent something unique about my point of view, and while I spent years downplaying my own experience in an effort to conform to “standards” and “accepted wisdom” about storytelling, I’ve come to realize that the best art IS the best because it so accurately captures what is unique about the artist. So where a certain turn of phrase in conversation once seemed like something that wouldn’t work in my writing, it is now something that needs to be in my writing.
In short, I think that sometimes we seek so hard to recreate others’ views of what our writing should be in order to be marketable or salable that we discount the validity of our own experiences and how they might influence our works for the better. There’s an awful lot of accepted wisdom about what works that I fear has a stifling effect on young writers. I know it did on me, for an awfully long time. It was only once I learned to summon the courage to really trust my instincts and what made my writing mine that I felt I really started to take off, and I still have a long way to go, I know that.
This all comes back around to capturing dreams in that our dreams are perhaps the truest representation of who we are, and why we should strive to capture them in the truest manner possible. This theme is something that I’ll continue to flesh out as time goes on.
Taking a day off from the daily link, I think. Going to go focus on something else – there’s certainly plenty to work on.