The Monster In Me: A diabolical journey

Imagining scenes and story arcs come easily to me, and I think I know why.

If you care to follow me into a hidden place, perhaps you too will understand–or perhaps you won’t.  I will risk being judged.

I am attracted to conflict and contradiction.  I relish adversity, I feed on it in a way that makes me feel monstrous and evil.  I gobble it up, I bottle it in and then I gnaw on it for years.  I do not shy from confrontation but I worry at the results like a hungry lion on a well-chewed bone.  Psychologically I know holding onto these things won’t help me grow as a person and contradictorily I know that they help me as a writer.  My anxiety, my confidence, my despair, my happiness; sometimes I wonder if I suffer from some kind of chemical imbalance but then I justify that I don’t feel the extremes.

Logic is my best friend.  Imagination is my freedom.

My imagination also has teeth.  It lurks and pounces on me at times, when I am not ready for it.  I think things that I never want to consider — awful concerns about my husband, my child, my future.  The same thoughts offer me scenes I can use, traumatic obstacles that my characters have to overcome.  Usually my tales culminate in a personal dilemma, a decision between something terrible and something heartbreaking.  Surprisingly I manage happy endings, but even the reader knows that they are not eternal and come with strings attached.

I am a cynic.  I am an optimist.  I am both of these things at the same time and no, I am not cynical about my optimism.  I am optimistic about my cynicism.

My imagination haunts me and tears at me and leaves holes in my reality.  I hear things that I think have been said, I see things that I think have happened, and in that I know I am not alone, but I am concerned about the quality of my perception.  There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground; it’s either (usually) negative or (sometimes) egotistical.  What does that say about me?

I dislike people who say: “I’m too old to change” or “This is who I am, take it or leave it.”  It’s arrogant, at any stage of life, to turn one’s back on personal growth.  I am still evolving, I seem to be able to let go of some of my darkness, but I continue to dabble with the ‘what ifs’ in my life.  All the way back to primary school.  Let it go, says my mind, it’s done, it’s past.  I want to, but I wonder… what if those anxieties, those grudges, those memories that I taunt myself with, that I trouble myself with… what if they come from the same place as my story creation?  What if they also drive the conflict that creates my many, many story arcs?  I don’t want to let that go.  I never want to let that go, not even if it comes with a fee for the ferryman.

Is that what is meant by ‘suffering artist’?  It’s not about the money, it’s all in the mind.



5 thoughts on “The Monster In Me: A diabolical journey

  1. Totally understand what you are saying here. I have anxieties, fears. I take anti-depressants and anxiolytics, but I also believe that this very things help me (A LOT) with writing and creation. It´s like you said, it doesn´t have to do with money, but with the mind.

    Very good post.


    1. Thank you. I have always considered my imagination to be both a blessing and a curse. My biggest fear is dementia, or whatever cognitive failure it is that removes the ability to separate imagination from reality. It would be nice to be stuck in utopia, but I don’t think that’s the kind of world my mind would have in store for me.


  2. Pingback: Marc’s Words of Wisdom 07Jan 2014 – Optimism | Marc Gilbert-Widmann

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