Fact and fiction collide

Here is the truth I scarcely dare confess: writing makes me ill.

Not this writing here, usually short lived, only briefly published. I have 870 posts returned to draft, reclaimed by second thoughts — forty percent of this blog. This is my repository of brain splurges, read only by the few.

This is the confession I barely dare admit: the novel I have spent the past year editing has been agitating me. The characters — all of them fictional — remind me of people I knew long ago. I suppose they emerged from my sub-conscious self.

More and more I think that I will never publish that book, regardless of the significant investment that went into it. I know that’s what motivated me to pen all of those letters to those I feel I have wronged. My interactions with those characters on the page.

So, yes, I dispatched a rushed apology weeks back. An apology for what? For having a bad opinion of someone. Did he even know I had a bad opinion of him up until that point? Nope. Did he even have a clue who I was? Probably not. Of course, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, thinking back to it. But it was on my mind to clear my conscience.

Why? The truth? Because he was partly the inspiration for my first novel, The Beauty of the Lion, a book completely atrocious, as far as I can remember it. My memory fades as to precisely how bad it was because I obliterated it twenty years ago, in a period of similar angst. I only have fragments of it now, recovered months later from the non-overwritten parts of an old 100MB Zip disk.

I think I can attribute my depression over the past few months to three things. The first, the winter blues; I get it every year. The second, I have been neglecting my health. The third: serious writing.

Three novels I was juggling in turn, each of them churning over painful memories from long ago. Perhaps that’s why I feel like a time-traveller these days, leapfrogging from today to a distant epoch daily.

All three novels are works of fiction, but in everything we write, we draw on what we know. It has been apparent to me for months that this editing has been causing me hypertension. It has been making me physically sick.

I haven’t dared admit this, because I have invested so much in these books. But there it is: the truth. I think they stir inside me too much pain that was never resolved.

So there we are. I think I wrote to others in acknowledgment that the novel only weeks ago I thought I would soon release will never actually see the light of day. At most, I may publish a single copy for my own bookshelves, as an example of the folly of man.

Could all of the above just be an extreme bout of writer’s doubt? Or am I on the verge of another purge?

Well, a thirty day interlude is upon us. Timely. Best park these thoughts for now. Let the novels gather dust for a month, and perhaps forever more.

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