It’s 5:22pm, and while most people are thinking about dinner, I should be wistfully asleep. Except that I’ve been awake for hours now. I’m beginning to think this may just be part of the backward world I live in – while most people get to come home, unwind at the end of a long day, and eventually peter off to sleep, I get to come home, accidentally nap for a while, wake up, begrudgingly find something to eat, and pretend that any amount of caffeine at my desk later will help me through the night.

This is an arduous process.

My life lately has become various levels of concern. I don’t sleep enough. I don’t eat regularly. I am becoming tolerant to normal human levels of caffeine. My motivation and energy levels are basically zero. And recently, I’ve found that my back and shoulders are in variable, constant pain. And these are just the physical things. These are the things that people are used to hearing, and so the only ones I feel even remotely comfortable expressing. (Though it is still difficult.)

(Do not show emotion. Do not show pain. Anything less than perfect and happy is weakness. Weakness is intolerable. The weak are culled.)

The psychological concerns are so much worse.

I’ve never had a good track record with therapy. (I hate that word. Why do I hate that word?) I went in high school for a while, when I was at what was probably my rock bottom. That doctor didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. He made me feel small. And I still avoid him when I see him in public. A couple of years ago I tried again, with a different professional, who listened and would never take “I don’t know” (my fallback when I don’t want to talk about something) as an answer. She told me I was incredibly self-aware and led me through some ego-state exercises which I found interesting, though not necessarily insightful. I stopped going there when I accidentally missed a few appointments, after a particularly not-good day when my therapist actually told me to get out of her office and come back when I was ready to talk to her. She called me in November and offered her services again. I have made no effort to return that call.

The problem is me. The problem is that all of the issues I have stem from something that is very deep and which, if challenged, will very well change the entirety of my personhood. That is something I am not (and likely will never be) prepared for. I’m not going to talk about that. Probably ever.

(Weakness is intolerable. The weak are culled.)


I think that the act of writing this novel is stirring up all of this stuff again, for various reasons. I can’t really get into it without divulging things about both my work and myself that I don’t really want to discuss. Suffice to say that writing about young people is a treacherous thing.

I also have so many concerns about my novel.

Is my setting vivid enough?
Are my characters relatable and engaging?
Am I spending enough time developing my characters?
Is my plot worthwhile?
Am I “showing” enough or “telling” too much?

I capped “part one” at almost 27,000 words. I’m worried that half of it could be thrown out. I’m worried I spent too much time with part of the story that could just as well be glazed over.

(Weakness is intolerable. The weak are culled.)

I wanted to do my first round-table with my alpha readers this weekend. I am not sure that that is going to happen, now, due to scheduling conflicts. But I think that if I can meet with one, I still will. Maybe that will help put me at ease.


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