Convalescence, concluding

Of course, there’s more to my apparent writer’s block than mere stage fright.

One of the main things that I’ve been struggling with is how I write. I have been writing on here at the same time as doing university work, so I have obviously been doing a bit of academic writing at the same time. I genuinely enjoy academic writing, despite the fact that it doesn’t come particularly naturally to me – I like the fact that it has rules and structure, and the way that it all kind of falls into place if you pick apart the question you have been set and write good notes with the question in mind as you go along.

That style of writing works well when you’re comparing psychological studies or evaluating a philosophical argument, but it’s not particularly great when you’re writing a blog about memories that resurface randomly and assessments of your own thoughts and behaviour. I still wanted to try, though. I haven’t been comfortable with the way I write for a long time now; it feels juvenile, immature. I wanted to write proper grown-up stuff.

This urge may be because I used to be strangely proud of the fact that I dropped out of school so young but still somehow had an inherent feel for writing. In fact, I still know fuck-all about the rules of grammar and punctuation but somehow I can still (usually) string (mostly) coherent sentences together. And I thought no one would be able to tell that I make it all up as I go along – or, I figured, people would think that I was deliberately breaking the rules like some kind of literary miscreant. However, when I started university and was a couple of assignments in, it suddenly occurred to me that people must be able to tell how uneducated I am and I started to feel self-conscious about it. I wanted to fix it.

I suppose I thought that if I just applied the rules of academic writing to what I was already doing then it would be fine – but, sadly, it hasn’t worked out. I’m starting to wonder whether or not I’ll just have to accept that what I write is characterised by the fact I have no fucking clue how I’ve written it. Maybe one day I’ll write something smart and grown-up, but until then I’ll just continue trying to be evocative through vague and cryptic sentence fragments. Besides, my memories are coming back to me in a far from linear way and I keep bouncing around my own timeline like Billy Pilgrim. It was just a terrible idea in every way.

(Incidentally, I did start taking detailed notes for use in future posts but all that managed to achieve was the chronicling of random transient and misplaced emotions. I started taking notes in August, and it is no coincidence that August was when the amount of posts on here started to decrease. See? Terrible idea.)

I am skirting a much bigger issue here, however. It’s very close to the ten-year anniversary of my grandad’s death and… well, if I’m honest: I’m not sure how I feel about it. Right now I’m in the middle of the anniversaries of diagnoses and emergencies, none of which I can remember exactly. There were only 53 days between me taking the phone call from the GP about an anomaly on my grandad’s lung X-ray and him actually dying, and my mental state back then was much like mine is now: I had all but stopped eating and sleeping and writing. Days blur.

As I’ve said before, I feel like this anniversary is important. But why? It’s not really any different to any other day, is it? Well, no. But the day itself isn’t the important part – the dates are merely bookends on either side of a whole load of stories, and it feels as though I’m at the end of this particular compendium. I want to start examining what’s on the shelf. Have I done anything interesting? Did I achieve anything? Did I learn any lessons?

But you know what it really feels like? It feels like I just took ten years off to recover from it all, and now I have to go back into the world even though I’ve still got amnesia and a rotten fucking hangover.

And have I ‘recovered’? I’m not over it by any means, but I have accepted it with great sadness. It would probably be more accurate to state that I ‘survived’ it, and that the only thing that was going to get me to this level of acceptance was to tread water until enough time had passed. I went under twice but, provided I don’t sink again within the next 39 days, I have just about made it through.

I’m not going to lie, though: I’m not well at all right now. It’s all my own doing, but I can’t seem to control it. It’s a very troublesome way of being unwell, too – I’m aware of how bad it is but something in my head isn’t letting me acknowledge the severity. It’s not bad enough for me to seek assistance because then I would have to deal with so many other things. It’s not that bad, anyway. (It’s bad.) It’s just one more hurdle. (I’m so fucking tired.)

I’ll be okay.
(I hope I’ll be okay.)

Anyway. These are only a few of the reasons I’m struggling to write. I previously said that I was having trouble trying to cope with having an ‘audience’, but that’s not even close to being the whole problem. Of course I want people to read what I write: I wouldn’t put it on the internet otherwise. I just wasn’t expecting people to be quite so enthusiastic. I’m not complaining, though – I’m just a bit astonished, especially because it’s so disorganised and some of the posts are just ridiculously sad or concerned with unhinged infatuation.

It’s also kind of unnerving when I start talking to people who say they’ve read it – I feel as though they know too much and I worry about what they think. Everyone has been so supportive, though. It’s been nice having other people’s voices talk over the one in my head telling me that I’m a terrible person and everything is my fault. This does carry with it it’s own burden though; I’m aware that most of the things I have written so far have been from my childhood, where I was generally innocent of any wrongdoing and was a victim of circumstance and other people’s choices. You haven’t seen me in my role as the villain yet.

7 comments on “Convalescence, concluding

  1. The only way to develop your writing is to write. By all means assess it to see if it is expressing what you want to say, but don’t beat yourself up over it. See it as an opportunity to write yourself and your past out of your system and move on in your written self expression. This website does not specify any “course requirements” or tests, your blog is what your choose to make it or develop from it.

    • It’s astounding how much criticism and pressure I put upon myself. If someone else said that kind of thing to me then I’d be appalled… I would say exactly what you’re saying and wonder why that person was creating so many obstacles for themselves.

      I’ve been worrying too much about what I think other people want to hear and not enough about what I actually need to say. You’ve said exactly what I was intending to do when I first started writing here… I just lost sight of it. Thank you.

  2. There is nothing wrong with your writing, Kim. Memories don’t come in an ordered way. Just do it – according to your instinct – that is more than good enough

    • Thank you. You’re very kind! And very correct… I need to stop worrying about stuff I can’t control and just write what needs to be written. Words are more important than what order I get the posts and pages in.

  3. I envy your ability to let memories and experiences flow loosely on the page. Although it might not seem like it, that is a skill! Too much thought or planning with writing blocks creativity and the deeper selves of the subconscious. I am learning that the hard way.

    • Thank you! That’s very sweet. Ah, I had already made that mistake – back in August I realised that I only wrote about things AFTER they had happened and the feelings had calmed down. I started writing in notebooks while I was ‘in the moment’…

      …and now I have a couple of notebooks I’ve never re-read and a very threadbare blog. If I just think of a topic and start typing away then I can usually come up with SOMETHING. This just stifled me completely. I need to just jump on here and not think too hard and publish and stop talking myself out of it!

      I hope you find some ways to make it a bit easier for you – although I think you’re awesome already 🙂

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