i had a conversation with my brother this week. i told him how anxious i have become with writing this novel. even tho the characters are less like my family every day (and more like me), i’m still dealing with family issues.
universal family issues. issues of self-worth, issues of abuse, long buried wounds and painful adhesions.
his advice to me was simple – don’t write painful. write happy.
it’s true. i’ve always been interested in disaster (dis-aster loosely translated is bad star) i’ve always had a plutonian desire for insight into the mystical working of things. the occult, the hidden, the magic, the real working of the universe. the god level.
mind you, i was never interested enough to become a practitioner in any discipline except astrology. my mom rightly kept us away from ouija boards. don’t touch that – you never know where a spirit has been. we weren’t allowed to watch dark shadows either, come to think of it (thanks be to god i’m not addicted to soap operas).
and why, you ask, would you learn something if you didn’t intend to practice it?
because these energies are very dangerous. mastery is a long slow road full of mistakes and damage. ego comes into it, and your soul is damned to hell because you thought it was you and forgot to be humble in front of all that power.
i have been around thru enough lifetimes to see that for the trap it is. nosir, no fame and fortune for me, no lightning rod, no straight tree that gets cut down first. i have always striven to work behind the scenes rather than draw fire. i know i’m not strong enough to fight the forces that are arrayed against you when you decide to be a player.
so i’ve spent a good part of my last 40 years studying one system of knowledge after another without being very proficient in any of them. astrology, tarot, palms and feet, herbal medicine, bodywork, dreams, tantra, various magic traditions, cabala, divination. all of these things teach you about the reality behind the reality you see. the god level. the level that lays beyond the mystery we call life, and the mystery that we call death.
i don’t have much trouble accepting my own death. i can remember about a dozen past lives i’ve already been thru, and they were nothing much compared to the wonder of life beyond death. of which we can’t speak because we don’t have the words or the memory to say it. i’ve learned that death is a metaphor. it’s the perfect ending to whatever kind of life you have lived. it’s poetic justice, it sums up your life, it comments on your mission, your reason for being alive at all. it’s your very own graduate thesis summed up in a few breaths.
whenever i think of a character i think of their death. for myself, when i’m up against hard decisions, i generally take myself to my deathbed and look backward at the situation. it clears up complexities wonderfully. each of my characters dies the death appropriate to their personality. mom dies of old age, judy is executed, frank dies of sex, rick dies by some violent means, his wife (name) by poisoned candy, cindy dies of an overdose, her husband (name) dies of overwork, gordon dies conning people, and laurie spins so hard her head comes off. these are all metaphorical deaths. “laurie spins so hard her head comes off” means she goes faster and faster until she looses control and self destructs. that can mean any of a million kinds of deaths, and i’m sure the appropriate one will occur to me as i’m getting closer to it.
since all the characters are in fact – me – then i’m dealing with a whole lot of personality fragments all dying their own tellingly obvious deaths. all deserving their just desserts. i get to hand out punishment for being a hateful daughter, a selfish mother, a vengeful victim. i have the golden opportunity to tear my personality apart, clean it off, carve new bits or carve off bits, and reassemble it when i’m done. field stripping my soul.
the option of writing happy pales before this kind of intense therapy. it’s the chance to learn so much more about me than i knew before the words flew out of my fingers (automatic writing). and that’s probably why i’m so anxious. i’m anxious because anxiety is the wellspring of creativity. you create out of your issues. you take the rawness of your life and you make art of it. or you go crazy. you laugh at it. or you go crazy. you turn the things that wounded you around until they are not your enemies but your best teachers.