The writing was good. The idea was good. The characters were complex and the plot was intriguing. The tagline was punchy and I could see it on the future cover. I could see the cover. Nothing wrong with the story nor even its execution on the page. Yet, there was no drive. Every day, going to the electronic page was like crawling through a trench while an impotent war was continuing overhead and my legs were pinned back by a shut bear trap…which is great for the illusion of a suffering artist but poor for the art. Writing is the gateway of life for me. While working on this particular project, I read less, was less interested in art, was impotent to get moving and felt no desire to do much else.
The lowest day was spent staring at the screen with plenty of ideas but no will: a priest before the wine who can't be bothered to do the transubstantiation bit. I was a Tory MP unable to rip off the poor, a salesman who couldn’t lie, a comedian without a tongue.
I was trudging through Hubert Selby Jr’s Requiem for a Dream, reading it at a glacial pace not because it lacked any urgency, or majesty, or even the pleasure for the achievement of taking the reader to worlds they may not have ever been to, but because of my state of mind. Not even feeling like reading it, but desperately wanting to, I took a bath and listened to a documentary about Selby Jr. While listening there were two things which were said which made the creative energy, which I believe we all have, linger longer than it had done in months. That energy had been dormant and no matter how many trips to my desk I took, it hadn't been moving.
The two things spoken about: a professor described Selby Jr’s work like a Hieronymus Bosch painting, and the second was from Selby Jr himself who said that Last Exit to Brooklyn was Brooklyn of the soul. Those two things broke through, explaining both how Selby Jr showed life which was both there and not, and that there was an orchestration of madness in his work, showing the chaos of life as magnificently as the paintings of Bosch.
Since those two points hit to something I wasn’t aware of, I stopped the project I’d been trying to work on and started something new. There are still the same old pressures of writing (mostly, time) but the flow achieved is as good as ever and the characters coming to life want to stick around. I want them to stick around too.