Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Excerpt From a Book I May Write One Day

Dear Lovelies,

I was feeling poetic the other day and started writing stream of consciousness style. I did not write a poem. I wrote two paragraphs, the beginning of something that could maybe, potentially, turn into a short story or book somewhere down the road. Check it out and let me know what you think of it. I wrote this in second-person POV, which is new for me, as I’ve always tried to write in third-person, but that’s what writing is about: exploring new things, getting out of your comfort zone, deleting everything and starting all over again… One disclaimer: I AM NOT SUICIDAL; I’M JUST A WRITER. Sorry. Didn’t mean to yell at you guys but it needed to be said. Anyway, let me know in the comments, or email me, what you think of it. Happy reading!

~

The Guilt of Being

Sometimes, there’s no answer to the question “Why do you want to die?” in the midst of flashbacks that act like your own personal time machine, whisking you away, back to the place of horror, fear, abuse, and panic attacks in a church bathroom that leave you wondering if it’s actually possible for your heart to beat out of your chest cavity and onto the cold marble floor, or if your stomach could vomit up the nothingness you feel inside. You are plagued by guilt of various degrees. First, the guilt, and fear that always accompanies it, of sitting on the hard floor of a megachurch bathroom stall, leaving a semi-silent memoir of pain as you sit sniffling and, with your hands covering your mouth in a weak attempt of muffling your weeping, so as not to be detected by others trying to relieve themselves, lest they ask what troubles you. Second, the guilt that rises in your inner being because you feel like a spiritual failure. Here you are, in a bathroom stall, instead of out there being part of a congregation worshipping and praising the God who saved you from the pit and redeemed your soul for His name sake. You feel like an anomaly, a broken unworthy mess, for succumbing to your trauma-induced anxiety and having a panic attack instead of having faith in God to save you. Are you even a Christian if you have mental health problems? You’re weak. You should be ashamed of your lack of faith. You don’t belong here. You know they’re lies but they sound like truth, so you bury your face in your hands and scream a muffled, painful woe. When you think you’re all cried out, you venture out of hiding and head towards the sink to wash your face… and a stranger’s kindness forces you back into the bathroom stall to sit and weep again. You don’t belong here.

Out of desperation, or maybe a need to connect and get out of your own head, you text a friend in a different part of church, knowing she’s focused and listening to some young dude teach about God, and your chest tightens up, as you are the cause of momentary distraction, though she’ll say otherwise. You venture out of the stall—for real this time—and head to where your friend is. You step onto the elevator, mentally admonishing yourself for being so weak and when the doors open, you turn ever so slightly and see the kitchen down below, a whole two floors beneath you. A passive thought of death brushes pass but you pay it no mind, too engrossed in your current pain to contemplate future plans. Once you find your friend, she assesses the situation, asking therapist-like questions that make you squirm but it’s okay because she cares. You know she cares. She assures you that you’re not a burden and for the first time, you believe her. All is well, until later.

Because of different stressors you are currently facing—the hardest of all being Complex PTSD—you fantasize about death and suicide a lot. Like way more than you should. As you and your friend are moments away from boarding the elevator to join the mass of hungry, loquacious, and contemplative congregations down on the first floor, you look over the rail and the thought comes into your head: Jump! but you don’t, not yet. There are too many people in the room and someone might stop you. No, this must wait for the opportune moment. This needs to be foolproof, perfect.

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Loving a Suicidal Writer

*I wrote this poem after reading an article about James Baldwin and his struggle with suicidal ideation*

If I ask you to martyr me within your pages,
blank and crisp, like unvarnished potential,
don’t let your memory of me fade away
like forgotten, abandoned childhood dreams.
Don’t listen to my mournful woes.
Write me beautiful and stellar,
glamorous and headstrong.
Paint me with words like “indestructible”
“iridescent” and “wonderful friend.”
If I should attempt to fall prey to my own dirty hand,
don’t let pain and trauma tell the story,
write me a new ending, one where I am the victor;
one where I live triumphant
with my long-forgotten happiness.
Hold my hand in the darkness and guide me
to yet another light. There will always come another light, won’t there?

Posted in Stuff No One Talks About

Nobody Ever Thanks the Editor When the Author and Book Get Praised

“Oh my gosh, your book is so amazing; I couldn’t put it down! The story, your characters, and that plot twist?! Did not see that coming! You’re such an amazing writer…”

Does any of this sound familiar? Or, for those of you who are still hoarding your finished-and-unpublished manuscripts in a folder on your desktop labeled “NEXT GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL,” is this what you wish will one day happen?

Slow down. There is a process. Before you start mass-marketing your book, think of your poor editor. You know, the one slaving over your manuscript, making your Word document look like more murder scene than polished perfection from all the red highlights and inserted comments in Track Changes from your awkward phrasing, tense switches in the middle of paragraphs, and with blotched splatters of comma splices running wild? Doesn’t she deserve some credit, too?

How This Thought Came to Be

I know it sounds random, but it’ll make sense in a minute. A few hours ago, I was on Amazon searching for more books to buy (I don’t have a problem!) and I wondered if the book I had edited for a self-publishing author had received any reviews. I went onto the page to look and lo, and behold, there was one review. The review was the typical kind of review of a raving, satisfied reader. I smiled when I read it; that smile quickly evaporated when a thought came into my head: What about me? 

The Thankless Task of Editing

Nobody ever thanks the editor when the author and book get praised (except the author). Look, I get it. We, readers, read for entertainment mostly, and don’t read like writers unless we are apart of the crazy clan who think we can change the world with our words while being sleep deprived and functioning on coffee alone (not me though, coffee puts me to sleep, so tea is my preferred drink). Like a loyal stagehand working behind the scenes, ensuring “the play must go on,” only to be forgotten by the rush of applause meant only for actors’ ears, editing can be a thankless job.

Moreover, I am not without fault either. When leaving reviews on Amazon, I, too, become engrossed in characterization, plot holes (if any), and the love of language itself. I too often forget that, while the act of writing is a solo one, the act of publishing is a collaborative effort between the author, editor, book cover artist, and publisher. And having been on both sides of the table, I realize that editing is a hard task; it is stress-inducing and deadline-driven, but it is also worthwhile and necessary for creative art, be it written, drawn, or filmed, to exist. So, the next time you hire an editor to work on your craft, send him a thank you card or a small trinket to show your appreciation.

I want to hear from you: Do you agree or disagree that editors often go thankless? What would you do to show an editor he/she is valued and needed?