Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My life is an existential crisis.

My goal all along was to have a first draft completed by the end of November. I really thought it was achievable. I mean, it is achievable. I'm at the end of the last chapter. I've been writing all day, and, aside from my shift tonight, I can write most of the evening as well. Realistically, I could finish before midnight. And how cool would that be? To complete an entire first draft of a manuscript in thirty days! Who would have thought?

Except, I'm at the end and I have no idea how to finish the story. I know where I'm going with it, but I can't see the last scene. My poor Jess, her life is stalled. She's heartbroken and there's no relief. I can't make anything better for her. Worse, I can't even end it with a tidy resolution. This isn't any writer's block, it's more an existential crisis. Because there is no such thing as a tidy resolution. Oh sure, it's fiction. It can be whatever I want. But that's not true of life, and my purpose in writing is to explore and try to find meaning. Only lately I'm pretty sure there's no meaning to any of it.

What's the point of writing this book? Of finishing? Am I doing anything with it? Am I doing anything of value by spending all this time and energy working through a story that will likely never be read by anyone other than me? Seriously. Look at my house. It's a fucking mess. My poor kids are playing unsupervised upstairs while I type away and the laundry pile is a mile high. I'm not even sure what's clean and what's dirty.

You know, I really think life is a lot like laundry. You wash, you dry, you fold and put away. Then you wear something and it's dirty again. The pile grows, you repeat your cleaning process. Dirty, clean, dirty, clean and never ending. It's never resolved. It's really trying, you know?

I get bummed out at the idea of the happy ending. And I really hate those optimistic people who think things work out. It's a bunch of shit, honestly. And that's not me being a pessimist. I think about my parents. (There she goes again...) My mom used to have all these dreams about houses. She'd buy a house, then, upon moving in, would find all these rooms she hadn't seen before. It would thrill her because she couldn't wait to decorate them. If that's not a metaphor, I don't know what is. The only thing is, she got sick and died really young. And what did she get to decorate? She left everything unfinished- all her dreams, her kids, her relationships- nothing resolved. And my dad. He worked his whole life. All he wanted to do was retire and play golf. So he retired and found that he needed surgery. Then another one. And then arthritis left him in so much pain he couldn't walk the aisles of the grocery store, much less play golf. Then he freaking got cancer and died. Can you tell me how these things worked out? Because I totally don't see it.

There are a lot of times when I lose my will to keep trying. I'm not talking about suicide, so stop rolling your eyes. I just mean I've always thought there was purpose, that there was some goal, that there was a reason *I* was here, and have soldiered on with that light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I'm wrong. Probably I'm wrong. And I hate how disheartening I feel realizing that. But maybe it's better not to expect anything. Maybe I'd be in a better place if I stopped thinking there was more and just accepted what is. Sigh.

Anyway, no one ever says they feel this way too, so I'm probably a depressed minority, but there it is. I wish I could say this rant made me feel better, but I'd be lying.

Listening to: Florence + The Machine "Hurricane Drunk" on repeat. Day 4.

xo. kb.


  1. And if you comment something about the fact I'm listening to the same sad song 4 days in a row, I will find you and flick your earlobe.

  2. You *so* can't reach my earlobe from here. HAHAHA

    On a serious note though, everyone feels that way from time to time. (The depressed part.) I think the only thing that truly solves the WHAT THE HELL... WHERE'D MY ENDING GO mindset/problem is time. (*flinches* Don't flick me! I'm sorry! But it's true!) Time makes things fall into perspective, it really does. Now I'm not going to say how long that time has to be-- it could be a couple of days, or a couple of weeks. (It took me a couple of weeks. And at first, that waiting DROVE. Me. CRAZY.) When you separate yourself a little bit from the story, things turn hazy, and those little annoying details you're so intently focused on tend to melt away after a while. Then BOOM... something comes to you, usually when you're not even truly thinking about it, and it's so simple, and so obvious, you'll be patting yourself so hard on the back that your eyes will stay crossed for hours. ;)

    With that said, does that mean the ending has to be happy? No. If you feel as though your story is going to be realistic, then by all means, end it realistically. I've personally found that deadlines are meant to be broken. (Course, I don't exactly have any *real* deadlines just yet... but any time I set a deadline, I stress myself out. So I set one, but then I've begun to give myself about two weeks leeway. For sanity reasons.)

    Did this LONG comment help? Probably not. But you're not the only one to feel frustrated -- I wanted you to know that. And I also wanted to tell you that you'll be past this rut shortly, I promise. =)


    P.S. If you haven't listened to Apocalyptica yet... well, that's all I'm gonna say. (One. Nothing Else Matters. Worlds Collide.)

  3. Jessica. You are awesome. And if you keep telling me about new amazing music I will never be able to properly obsess on one band/artist like I'm used to doing.

    I think the problem isn't so much not being able to figure out the ending, although that does bother me. I give myself rules and I don't let myself break them. This is how I accomplish things. If I told myself I didn't have to workout every day, I wouldn't be consistent enough to look as hot as I do. (Joking.) But similarly, if I don't complete my draft when I say I will, I'll go to bed when I'm tired instead of working through it. KWIM? Sanity is not a consideration for me. Just achievement.

    The problem is less the ending, and more the underlying philosophical wondering of the point. The 'why bother' of it all. I'm a girl who likes answers, and that one's got me stumped. Some days I can deal better, and some days I throw up my hands. It's just been a really tough couple of weeks.

    But I truly appreciate your help. Thank you.