Writing in the Fall

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything original for this blog, and I’m sorry for that.  As you probably know, I’m currently trying to make Chocolate Diamond Media a real job, make a feature film, and I’m working a day job, and have my family to spend time with.  So that’s part of it.

The other big part of it, is that I don’t write well in the fall.  This is a tough time of year for me, and even right now (the last year or two) when I’m at my most productive, the fall is tough.  I’ve talked a lot about seasonal depression before on here, and this is that time of year for me.  I’m not nearly as bad as most years.  The truth is that there is more daylight down in North Carolina than in Massachusetts, and for the last month, I’ve been waking up nearly every morning an hour earlier than I used to, in order to go run.  These have done wonders for the more overt symptoms of depression, namely I don’t feel sad/bad.  And it has helped me to want to be more productive, and more motivated than I would normally.  That productiveness has translated into editing, and filming, and forcing myself to work, but it has not helped as much with writing.

When I get to this part of the year, I don’t have any shortage of ideas, they still click into my head at the same rate as the rest of the year, but for some reason I have a hard time pushing them out into words.  I’ve started 10 blog posts, and as many short story/novel/film ideas, in the last week, and got no more than a sentence deep before abandoning them, but had pretty clear ideas, just couldn’t get them started.  Imagine you’re in a train car, and you see the train tracks laid out before you, and you know once you get on them you’re going to chug away and ride off into the sunset, but there’s 100 feet of tracklessness that you need push the train car across before starting on that.  That’s what I’ve been doing sitting on the train, staring at the tracks, and not sure how to get the cart on them.  Today, for some reason, when I woke up, the train was on the track, and so I’m pumping the coals into the fire (it’s an old train because I like the visual representation better, don’t worry coal burning is totally clean in my metaphor world) while I have track in front of me.

I hope that this will keep going, and when I wake up tomorrow I’ll be on the tracks again, but I guess I won’t know until tomorrow.

In the mean time, if you’re in the mood to see some of the creativity (non-written) that I’ve been producing while I haven’t been writing, please go check out the Chocolate Diamond Media YouTube channel.  I think I’m starting to get things into a groove over there, and there is some of the same sensibility (although an honest effort to remain unpolitical over on that channel).

Season Review: NC Autumn

Lots of people can do a movie review, or a book review, or some stupid gadget review, but I wanted to do a review of one of the seasons, since this was my first year in NC, and Fall is starting to give way to winter, I thought it only fitting that I review a North Carolina autumn for you.

Now, if you’ve read my book (which sales figures show you probably haven’t) or read enough of my blog posts, you might know, that I hate fall/autumn.  Hate it.  So why bother reviewing it?  Because, I found something different about it this year.

I moved from Uxbridge MA (adjacent to East Bumfuck) to a small town just outside of Raleigh NC, and things are a bit different in the world of weather.

First off, I get seasonal affect disorder, which some asshole decided to call SAD (probably the same person who named the condition of stuttering “a stutter” or lisping “a lisp.”  Just a real sick kinda person.)  A big portion of this condition is not getting enough light due to shortening days.  Well, here in North Carolina, the sun goes down about 40 minutes later on most days than it did up north, which so far has meant that I’m at least leaving work in the sunlight.  This does wonders for me.

Last weekend, the foliage was in peak color, which makes me think that perhaps the season is just delayed down here, but we’re now less than a month away from the days getting longer again, so I tend to think that perhaps, this is just a better fall as far as light and mild weather are concerned.

I’m not sure it’s accurate to say this is the best autumn of my life, that I feel the best I ever have, but certainly it’s the best of the 20 years (more than half my life).  I’ve felt only the slightest twinges of sadness and depression the last couple of months, and they’ve barely made a blip on my depression-o-meter (if you suffer from depression, I strongly suggest getting a depression-o-meter, they’re a real life saver.)

Now, if I’m being totally honest, I think that there may be other reasons, why this year autumn has been so awesome.  First, my son is at an age where he is incredibly fun to hang out with, and things like Halloween are fun again, watching him waddle around as Yoda.  Second factor, I’ve felt like I’m really making headway towards my goals, I’ve been writing a ton of articles over at World’s Best Media, I started a second paying gig as an assistant editor at a book publisher, I’ve had some smaller successes with articles and things I’ve written, and honestly, it’s just starting to feel like it’s coming together.  Third factor, I’m enjoying my time; all of those things I mentioned before are fun and rewarding, but I’m also spending time with my wife, and with our son, we drive around this new state of ours, and explore.  My wife seems a little worried because I’m more tired than I used to be, but it’s because I’m living more than I used to be, and I can’t do it without her (and frankly I don’t want to try).

So maybe the weather doesn’t deserve credit, maybe my recent happiness, is just a convergence of factors, but at least the weather isn’t dampening it.  At least I don’t feel like a fucking mole person in my day job, going into work in the dark, and being released back into the dark.  Honestly, even with the all of the other factors, that mole-man mentality can really ruin shit, and I’m thankful that I’m not doing it.

I give NC Autumn: B+ (Because after all, it’s still the 4th best season.)

Bi-Polar Winds Blow

Earlier this week I was able to go out with just a t-shirt on, or at most a light hoodie.  Today, I have a winter coat, and walking across a parking lot my nostrils were burning from the dry icy air stinging at them as I inhaled.  There is no preparing for the weather here.

I realize that climate change has been offsetting the normal iciness of a Massachusetts winter, but for my entire life the weather has been chaotic and unpredictable.  The one thing you can count on is that the weather will not be consistent or gradual.  The weather is harsh and unforgiving in any given direction.

I’ve always been pretty vocal about the fact that I’m not a fan of the weather here, but days like today I feel it must be said.

I’m bipolar, and I also suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  That is specifically based on sunlight, and gets worse with shortened days, but days like today when it is so cold that no one has any business going outside.  So I tend on days like this to stay shut inside, and get less sunlight.

I’m not saying the weather is what makes me feel the way I do, but it is hard to not feel mood swings when you’re reflecting the ups and downs of the very air around me.

The truth is that the weather here is almost always too much.  In the summer we have to deal with oppressive humidity, sticking to our clothing like a wet grocery bag sticks to vegetables; in the fall we get the wonderful sensation of never being able to dress appropriately “oh you wore a light sweater?  Get ready to freeze you nips off” or “oh you wore a jacket?  Hope you don’t mind sweating through it;” in the winter we get such bitter coldness that you feel as though you’re breathing in refrigerated dust, the air itself is a stinging powder of revenge against your nostrils, throat, and lungs; spring is nice.  I hope you’re able to enjoy five days of beautiful foliage during three seasons straight of uncut suck.

So I come back to a question that has plagued me for some time, am I miserable because I’m in a place I hate, or do I hate the place because I’m miserable—  I should mention, that part of being bipolar is manic level highs, so don’t feel too bad for me, I say miserable here because I’m unhappy with the place my life is happening, but in many significant ways I’m happy with this life.

I guess I know that the grass always seems greener on the other side, but that doesn’t really change the fact that the grass is burnt and brown and dying on this side.  (Is it ok for me to state that I come up with some beautiful pessimistic metaphors?  I’m like the best at finding the worst in things.)

Today was cold enough to freeze all the happy cells in my brain, but I’m sure they’ll thaw tomorrow and I’ll try to be a bit more upbeat.