Tried writing from a different point of view today. It was like doorways were opening up in my mind. The writing was fresh, took the story in a new direction. What I'm doing is all re-write, but to my amazement, there was so much new content pouring out of me. Don't really know what I've written until I review it again after some time has passed, but the feeling is like standing on the crest of a wave. I'm high above ground and moving with a brutal natural force beneath my feet.
For the first time I left the reality of my main character, Rachael, and added fiction. She was my look-alike, a personal twin, but now I've got freedom to make happen to her things that never happened to me. I'm not stepping out outrageously, there is still so much based on actual events.
I had Rachael write a suicide note. I've written a suicide note. Rachael's suicide note was not like mine. In spirit similar, but in the novel it is much more interesting. I had to substitute the word "ridiculous" for "psychotic". The note is borderline psychotic, how do you show such a thing but not use the technical word? Technical words are the death of writing. In my life, I cringe whenever my husband uses a word that I don't understand. Not that I'm insecure about my vocabulary, I've got a good vocabulary. But I hate the impulse not to be pure and simple in communication. Using big vocabulary gives one a sense of power; "oh look at me, I know something that you don't know". Spare me your delight. In my writing I am trying to be simple. I will go back and replace complexity, which seems to come naturally to me, with something more simple.
I had a college professor once give me a high mark on some homework. We were writing an interpretive essay of someone else's writing. It may have been Emily Dickinson poetry. I used big vocabulary and long sentences. He said he did not understand exactly what I was saying, but that it sounded good, and thus, the high mark. Although I benefited, I do not believe I deserved to do so. The college professor was wrong.
I think of the simple vocabulary of Susan Clark's novel "Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" (just finished reading) and the simple vocabulary of Dostoevsky's classic "The Brother's Karamazov". I tell myself "use small words" and I hope this works. It boggles my mind that so much complexity can be conveyed using small words. If the revelation is true (in my case usually revealing interior memory and perception) then it can be said simply. Its when you are uncertain for what to say that you stretch and find big words to cover for your inadequacy of meaning.
Didn't write yesterday and tomorrow is Church, so don't plan to write tomorrow. Had some emotional difficulty yesterday, just felt low spirited. I fixed myself with sweets. Bought chocolate and a cheese danish. The sugar made me feel tired, stupid, and compliant with life. I wanted to live but it was a doped feeling. Felt secure. Felt safe. Felt comforted.
Had a session with Jim yesterday and it only seemed to make matters worse. He said to me "my homework for you is to have fun. Watch Comedy Central". I told him that the last fun thing I had done was to go bowling. He said, go bowling more often. I also reminded him that I don't have television, although I do have access to a lot of comedy movies. The reading of my Emily Dickinson biography is dull, the author is currently going through all of Emily's teachers and posing what effects they might have had on the girl. Inter-spaced are snippets of her writing at ages 11 and 12, that to the author's mind, show great promise and are impossible for most 11 and 12 years old to write. Me, being me, thought "goodness, I don't write prose like that, never have, never will - I am so dull compared to Emily Dickinson!" It is sometimes hard for me to read genius because I compare myself to it and come up short.
I sometimes wish dearly that I was genius. Plain different. On a whole different level. Obviously talented. Personally, I rate myself mediocre. I'm in the middle of a huge crowd of writers. I imagine that people read my blog and then break off and never read it again because I've failed to be interesting. Even people who love me, my brother and sister, I suspect fail to read my blog because it is boring. Can I manage to capture the human condition? Or will I write merely to exercise personal demons. My novel won't speak to anyone else but me. This is my fear.
Ah, I've titled this entry "Victory". How soon I experience defeat. And all at my own hand. There is no one who can injure me and reduce me to the smallest person other than myself. I started this writing with glee, and now and hour later I belittle myself. There is something wrong with me.
Yesterday Jim said, "The people who anger those who work in the hospital the most are the borderlines." I had just told him that my therapist in the Institute was exasperated and perplexed and yes, angry, that I wasn't getting better faster. Now, next week, I have to go back to Jim and ask him "Were you suggesting that I've got a borderline personality?" Perhaps I need him to explain to me what he thinks one is, but if he thinks I've got one, I'll be pissed off. I suffer from depression, not a personality disorder. I'm so violently against this diagnosis that I may wish to stop working with Jim if he thinks this is what is wrong with me. Oh I won't leave him, not really, I've got no place to go, but I will have to hold back from insulting his person. "Incompetent noodlehead" is the phrase that I imagine spitting out. And I will offer a letter from my past psychiatrist, seen for 12 years, denying this diagnosis. I will write to her.
In the meantime, I may do some research on the internet to determine that I don't suffer from a borderline personality disorder. I can diagnose myself perfectly well. Always have been able to, always will be able to.
My explanation for why my therapist at the Institute was pissed at me? She was evil. She was blaming the victim. I had no emotional rapport with her what-so-ever except for me to be a good patient and to answer any question she posed for me. I laid myself bare for her and I got thinly veiled impatience for an answer.
I will be standing in the middle of a cross-road if Jim gives me a diagnosis of borderline. I will be at a loss of how to work with him.