There is a lot written now that bi polar disorder has entered the mainstream mental health arena about all of the writers and artists through time that were bi polar and how they created in such angst that they did such things as cut off their ears or kill themselves leading a lot of people to wonder if you had to be crazy to be an artist at all. Can you be “healthy” and be an artist? Well, I think that’s not the point, not for me anyway. The point is that I believe you can be bi polar and create and have a happy life. I think you have to be aware, very aware, and take good care of yourself, and use those energies in a way that moves you forward. Within the confines of that hour I can be as flippin’ manic as I might be writing this story that screams to be born, but then… Then the timer dings, I save the document 56 ways to Sunday, I kiss a pug, and I go on about my life. Every single page that I write is an affirmation that I can do it at all, and that affirmation is something that is spreading through me and into dark corners that I thought would never see the light of day. I knew it before but I forgot. It’s writing I need. Writing will save my life.
Harnessing That Bi Polar Energy, A Renewable Resource ~ Dedicated to @kseniaanske …
June 7, 2013 By 1 Comment
It began like this…
Like over 50,000 others on Twitter I have been inspired by the incredible Ksenia Anske whom I “met” there, as one meets, tweet by tweet, in this now not in the least bit unusual medium. This amazing woman/writer/Twitterologist has published one novel, and not only self-published it but she offers you her writing for free right on her website. (Yes, you can download her books for free. You can also buy them on amazon. But first she just wanted to give them away entirely for free.) Her work and what she is doing with it, as well as the amazing phenomenon she has become on Twitter tweeting her way through the day as she writes, now working on her second novel, and encouraging others far and wide to do the same, “Write-Write-Write!” has me all fired up and more excited than I have been in a long time about just-plain-writing. Writing for the joy of writing, for the thrill of it all, because you can’t NOT write, because you write like you breathe, because words are your LIFE, because reading and writing are all that matter. Because…
I have been saying this and writing this and teaching this for nearly 40 years but I forgot. I have written in magazines, newspapers, been published in anthologies, had 3 small presses and written a dozen novels that didn’t sell but I always wrote with a passion, a desire, and a fervor that nearly set my hair a-fire. I was known for this, until I didn’t know it myself anymore. What happened to me?
Somewhere after leaving my decades long marriage I fell through time and space and lost myself so completely that for someone who picked up a pen at 9 and wrote her way through a lifetime of pain and confusion and depression and whatever else life handed me I lost the thread, over a decade I unravelled, and writing left me. Oh yes, I’ve blogged, but I stopped writing books. It didn’t matter if books were not published — and if I’d had the option to self-publish, the kind of options that are available today, some of them might have been published and I think I would have been proud of them — no, it didn’t matter that they weren’t published, what mattered is that I never had any trouble writing them. I’m not talking about quality, or publishability, I’m talking about the zest for it all, and somewhere along the line I lost it.
Enter Ksenia Anske on Twitter. Now, mind, we don’t really know one another, we’ve just tweeted, or retweeted as it were a few times, but her energy is contagious and it has reignited a passion for writing in me I’d lost without knowing it. Thank God. Just in the knick of time. And it’s so much more than that.
I had nearly written myself off, so terrified have I become over the fact that being bi polar seems to have become more of a struggle as the years have gone on to the extent that I have worried that I wouldn’t be okay, okay as in able to make a living and take care of myself. It’s really been a very scary time and every day is a bit of a Sisyphean task to push myself up the hill through the hours only to roll back down and have to start over the next day. What I hadn’t realized was that the not writing was making it all worse, and I couldn’t get my groove back, not until Ksenia. I am on my knees thanking God for that woman, and I can pretty much guarantee you a lot of other people are too.
Okay, so what is the point of all of this? With my new found inspiration I pulled out a novel I have been starting and stopping for years. It is an odd little novel that I have great affection for but every time I start it I get just so far and I think, “Yegods, this is, well, it’s… what would people think?” And the thing is that now I don’t care, I just don’t care. Life is too doggoned short to care so much that I don’t write and if I don’t write it just won’t bode well for my life as a whole. It’s just that…
Well, you see I got the novel out, I dusted it off, I set a timer and I wrote for an hour. BAM! Something inside of me like a sleeping dragon woke up and went WILD. I was laughing while I wrote. I was prickly with fear and shivering with delight. I startled myself and I just WENT for it. This set me to writing everywhere, Facebook, Twitter, you name it, that I was going to write this novel and tweet the dickens out of the whole process and, and, and…
And then it hit me. I was riding a wave of bi polar mania and it scared the hoo ha out of me! And it stopped me in my tracks. And then I realized that I have done nothing but be stopped in my tracks for over a decade. And if I have to surf the wild waves to write this book I’m going to do it.
Now, here’s the thing. I am on medication. I may get manicy in moderation but I get a grip fairly soon. I don’t drive my car off a cliff, I don’t take drugs or go on alcoholic benders, no, I just get razzle-dazzle excited (and sometimes buy too many pens or books or art supplies or plants for the garden) but the thing is that if I’m gonna have to be bi polar then gosh darnit I’m gonna USE it! Why not harness that bi polar energy?
So my plan is to set that timer for 1 hour a day, and no, I haven’t done it today but I can promise you that as soon as I publish this blog post I’m going to do it and here’s why. I’m going to do it because I have to, because I need to show myself that I can stick to something, that I can finish something, that I can DO something, and that joy, that over the top sheer reckless exhilaration I feel when I am working on that book is something that I need to harness and store up inside of me. I need it, like the solar lights that I have all over my yard that soak up the rays during the day and glow at night, I need to write this novel and let that part of me kick up it’s heels and write whatever I want to write, as big and bold and wild as I want to write it, because, properly harnessed, within the framework of that hour each day, I will be charging the solar battery in the center of my being so that I can move through the rest of my life and create the business I need to create to take care of myself and yes, maybe save my very own life.
And no, I’ll leave it to Ksenia to tweetly-deedly-doo all about the writing process on Twitter and elsewhere. I will be there soaking up her tweets and thanking God that I stepped into “the twitterverse” and found her. And I will rip though this novel without stopping or looking back. I’ll say anything I darned well please any way I want to. If, in the end, it is something that with time and editing and work becomes a book that I feel that I can publish, well, wonderful, but it’s the act of writing it, of finishing it, that I most need to do, and so I am. By the time you see this my timer will be ticking and I will be pounding the keys fueled by bi polar delight.
Skyrockets in flight, it’s bi-polar-delight, I’m harnessing bi-polar-delight. (If you’re old enough to recognize the song that inspired this you can sing it out loud with me just for fun!)
Thank you Ksenia. Now I’m setting my timer. It’s time.