Comments: The Process of Being Mentally Ill, Part One

Joss-a-lynn! What are you trying to do, upset the delicate balance of the cosmos? You just can't do this! Although, yay, you, on the losing the four pounds and finding the right color nail polish and all. But you must run true to course, dear girl. The world will tip right over and fall on the floor (or something) if you don't. And you wouldn't want that, now would you? K. Now, go write. Then, call Lily. It'll be fine. Trust me.

Posted by David at April 10, 2006 7:50 AM

Or maybe do a whole different story or something.

So, do you need to kill me now?

Posted by David at April 10, 2006 8:08 AM

David, sillyhead, I am talking about trying to quit being mentally ILL, not quitting WRITING.

Posted by joshilyn at April 10, 2006 8:48 AM

I understand the oh-god-I-can't-write-a-novel pain. To me, it always feels like I have this gorgeous symphony in my head, and then what I wind up with on paper is a television jingle. Not even a jingle for a national multimillion dollar campaign, but a local check cashing store jingle. The descrepancy (sp?) between the symphony and the jingle is EXCRUCIATING. But eventually, after I've revised my jingle 50 kajillion times, it at least improves to a compostition suitable for a middle school piano student's recital. I know I'll probably never reach symphony level, but I hold out hope that one of my future books will be worthy of an audition to Julliard.

Posted by Renee at April 10, 2006 9:46 AM

Forgive my presumption--my first publishable novel is barely an ARC at this point, so I'm not a "real" writer like you yet. I just wanted to help you with your mental illness as it's familiar to me, and the symphony to jingle analogy always helps me accept (with a smile) how hard it is to write the book I have in my head.

Posted by Renee at April 10, 2006 9:51 AM

Yes, but CAN you divorce the mental illness part from the writing? I mean, really, they seem such a finely matched pair. Symbiotic as it were. You know, like salt and pepper, peanutbutter and jelly, Bert and Ernie. Could you really bring yourself to separate them? And, can you tell I've had too much sugar this morning?

Posted by David at April 10, 2006 10:18 AM

I'm going to use a different analogy... can we say calm before the storm?

Joss your processes are always...interestingly intense

Posted by Cele at April 10, 2006 11:41 AM

But...I sorta like you mentally ill. It's part of your charm! Although having nice feet in pretty shoes and being four pounds thinner is good, too...guess I'll like you no matter what! ;)

Posted by Amy-GO at April 10, 2006 12:08 PM

Ooooh, I love the wedgie sandals with the daisies on the side.

Posted by Kira at April 10, 2006 12:21 PM

Thank you, Renee, for the wonderful "symphony in head becomes tv jingle on paper" analogy! As someone who makes every excuse in the world not to turn on the word processor so I don't have to look at my awful half-baked mss, I will remember what you said.

And Joss, I understand David's panic. You said you STOPPED writing but didn't say whether you STARTED again. Please don't scare us like this again-- oh, my nerves!

Posted by Elizabeth at April 10, 2006 12:59 PM

Wait, I'm having deja vu. Didn't WE have the "I cannot possibly write this book" conversation as well? Though, granted, I have not had it with you 4 other times. I think I remembered enough about this post from the Between era to say what I was supposed to say, though ("yes you can" and "oh, look over there, something shiny!").

Posted by Mir at April 10, 2006 2:00 PM

Dude. No. We had a very calm almost lackadaisical talk where I said, "Hmm, I don't seem to be writing this book very much, do I"
And you said, "But I am sure you will,"
And I shrugged and said, "Prolly."
And you hurriedly changed the subject because you may have remembered the HUGE WEEPFEST that was this part of writing Between. With Between I sobbed until my eyes felt like they were made of sand.

This time, there was no screaming, no tears, and you never ONCE had to reach for the tranq gun. I was, for me, completely zen!

Posted by joshilyn at April 10, 2006 2:32 PM

Ok.. what do you mean "out of time"... because you have a pending World of Warcraft mission to complete? No... I want to hear about the snake!

YOu know what is great about your blog? You get to watch a writer writing... it's like reality internet for writers. Because if I wanted to learn, say, cooking... I might say "let's watch someone cook" so I could learn the proper technique, then I'd flip on Emeril and learn... or with riding horses I'd go watch someone ride a horse and learn techniques and be a better rider. But with this whole writing thing... there's no one to really "watch".

Except you. Because I now that I know that you flop around on the ground and whine like a two year old on crack then I know it's ok when I do it.

Or rather, my husband now knows that it's ok for me to do that.

Posted by Heather Cook at April 10, 2006 2:40 PM

Wait...haven't we had this conversation before?

Honey, if you tell us you're *not* having a nervous breakdown and add that you are also *not* writing, WE'RE going to have the nervous breakdown!

Posted by Katrina Stonoff at April 10, 2006 3:41 PM

That's it, Heather! "Reality internet for writers." So, Joss, good for you for not having a mental break! But, ummmm, are you going to start writing again? I mean 4 lbs lighter and the perfect shade of nail polish are reasons to re-enter the fray, right?

O, and have you heard of the schlocky new B-movie "Snakes on a Plane"? It hasn't come out yet, but already has a cult following. Looking forward to your scary snake story.

Posted by Edgy Mama at April 10, 2006 4:10 PM

I am so jealous that you only do this when you're a third/half into a book. I do it throughout, like every line. If I had a symphony, it would be the part everyone knows of Beethoven's Ninth, and the lyrics would be "I I I I suck suck suck suck/Oh my God I suck... so much..." just kind of on a constant loop.

They tried measuring my mental illness number once, but the machine turned into HAL from 2001, burst into flames, and ran screaming from the room. You should see what happens with psychics...

Posted by Cornelia Read at April 10, 2006 4:15 PM

If that snake is rollerblading and wearing pink socks I shall be vexed.

Posted by rams at April 10, 2006 9:49 PM