After the build-up of excitement that maybe I’ve finally done the time and have earned the solution, I find out that I wanted something too much and believed in it too hard. Doubt is not my problem; unerring faith is. I touch on an idea, I grab hold of it, I listen to people tell me it works, I have a few positive subjective experiences, and I run with it all the way from hope to sacrosanctity. Of course it’s going to be knocked off the pedestal. It should be knocked off the pedestal.
I’m just getting tired of asking myself, “What do I believe?” and having to reply, “I don’t know.”
Some people might regard that response of not-knowing to be wonderfully powerful. In its way, it is. When asking about the future, a solid “I don’t know” opens a lot of possibilities. When asking about things spiritual, a solid “I don’t know” opens every potential and embraces mysteries. The problem is that I want to know. It’s so frustrating that when I think I’ve got something that I can hold onto, it slips through my fingers like soft sand. No matter how hard or gently I hold it, whatever I grasp falls away.
I think I’m just tired in body and mind. The past several months have been committed to writing, researching, editing, proofreading, publishing, redrafting, hoping, and waiting. It’s just one of those days when even one of those “Once in a Lifetime” events might not pull me out.
Of course, feeling this way has its upside. I learn something about myself, and I get the yen to novel about it. Even if what I write isn’t compelling, I get in seat time to practice storytelling. I learn to develop better story arcs; I learn to compose better sentences. I learn to write better descriptions of what, where, when, how, who, and why. I learn better novel-craft.
Perhaps I do believe in something. It doesn’t matter if I’m discovered as an author and a stair-stepped chain of burning plasma changes my life. I have reached goals in my life, ones I once unerringly believed I could not attain.
Hm. Maybe I’m in mourning a little for that anticipation, that conflicting desire to retreat from publishing even as I want to charge forward. I’ve spent eleven years fighting with The Dome Trilogy. I’ve worked so hard on it, dedicated a decade to making Nightmare Specters and Solaray Dawn far better books than Beneath a Sunless Sky. The mistakes which make me queasy had a purpose. To avoid making them again, I had to evolve as a person and as a writer.
This just may be growing pains yet again, though I do not recognize them for the unpleasant symptoms (in the familiar feelings of malaise). Or it could be that I’m hungry and tired and need to eat then sleep.
I don’t know.