On The Breaking of Dams
Unlike Sarah and others I’m not sufficiently professional to be able to force my way through writing something when there’s no ‘there’ there. It’s not a case of waiting on a fickle muse for inspiration so much as nothing being good enough to go on that page, not having any idea how to move the current plot line forward, and in extreme cases, falling asleep as soon as I fire up the word processing software.
My brain is an evil, deceitful SOB and does things its way no matter what I think about it.
Invariably, when something like this happens, I can backtrack to probable causes only after said problem goes away. I’m not ready for that yet, but I can state confidently that the writing dam has indeed broken, and I’m finally doing something other than futzing around with intermittent fanfic (there’s no commitment, the egoboo is nice, and it keeps me in some degree of practice).
The thing about this – and it goes for all of us who write because we have to – is that when something like this happens, it’s seriously bad for us. We storytellers need to be able to keep telling our stories, or it drives us insane (possibly more insane in my case, since my base level of sanity has been kind of questionable for a very long time). It’s not a coincidence that mental illness and extreme creativity cohabit far more often than mental illness and just about any other trait. Heck, I’ve seen theories that the level of creativity where you’ve got to get that shit out of your head and onto paper (or word processor or whatever) is actually a form of mental illness where the person who has it is able to channel it into something constructive.
If that kind of creativity is the ability to channel mental illness into something constructive, then it makes sense that losing the ability does bad things: it removes the socially acceptable outlet for what one could call quirks, which in turn causes a build-up of a kind of social pressure. Certainly all my worst episodes have happened when I’ve been facing this kind of blockage and unable to find a way to break it.
I’m actually rather relieved I’ve managed to hold myself together through this one and not collapse in a screaming heap (usually a soggy one, since I tend to short-circuit all intense emotion to tears) (and let’s not go into why I had to go back and edit that so I didn’t write ‘heaming screap’).
Not that I’m out of danger yet. Ten days running of decent (five hundred words or better) output doth not a novel make. But it feels like the dam has broken. Tension at the back of my neck has eased off, as if something opened in there (don’t ask. I don’t understand what’s going on, just what it feels like to me).
As for whether it’s worth it, time will tell.
In the meantime, enjoy a wee snippet for the day before the day before New Year’s Eve.
Low Earth orbit, mid April, 2018
Knight-Commander Friedrich Eiriksohn von Uberhalden am Feurichen auf Leuringen frowned at the projections showing which of the planetary leaders had received his message. His head ached: a country boy from the first world of Prussia-in-exile should not ever need to send that kind of ultimatum no matter how far he had risen from those modest origins.
It was honor enough for him to have been raised to the rank of Knight-Commander. To command a ship of the Holy Order and have God’s grace shine on him and his crew and guide them to the long-lost homeworld… That was a miracle.
A miracle mixed with sorrow, for the Holy Nation of Prussia no longer existed on the homeworld.
Friedrich’s stomach knotted with remembered horror at the thought. The nation and Order whose ideals had given humanity hope for over seven hundred years had been blotted from existence, demonized and turned into a byword for hate-filled war-mongers. Prussian achievements were claimed as German, yet given what the translators had made of the homeworld’s information network, Germany could not be considered a successor state to Prussia. It might share the name of the first Germany, but it was such a cringing, weak excuse for a nation forever apologizing for the abominations of the conflict they called the Second World War.
And the Prussians, the Prussians who’d resisted that dreadful regime, their reward had been to lose everything, even their ability to take pride in their heritage.
None of which made the decision to decloak any easier. The message was – thankfully – not his doing. The wording had been sent by grav pulse from the Lord Grandmaster on Leuringen, along with permission to purchase the Prussian heartland from Poland and Russia if they were willing, or to take it by force if not.
Friedrich prayed the leaders of both nations would choose to sell the land.
The Order protected humanity in exile, shepherding the lost souls taken over the centuries by Dracaener slavers, the millions descended from the slaves, bred in captivity to do the dirtiest, coldest work that Dracaener automatons were too delicate and too expensive to do. Friedrich readily admitted that the Order’s guidance might not be as good as perhaps could be imagined, for they were all still mortal and subject to mortal frailty, but all the Masters from the very first, the Blessed Lord Sir Konrad von Kolberg, had given their hearts and souls to their cause.
And, not infrequently, their bodies and their lives.
To wage war against humans… The mere thought ran counter to everything a Knight of the Order strove to be.