Where is the correlation between patience and anxiety – I mean, can you be a patient person and still riddled with anxious feeling?
This is somewhat a calling back to an earlier post on anxiety and writing, partly now a response to life as it is for me: a not-quite emerging writer, hovering at the green edge of things.
Yesterday I received news that a funding application I had made had been turned down. It was to be for a modest book tour in the US this summer, for On the Edges of Vision. I was neither very shocked or upset about it – after all, the reasons given were valid, like the fact that the tour wouldn’t lead to much ‘public good’. Books, especially sly dark ones like mine is trying to be, often don’t add much obviously elevating to the public discourse. It is their purpose to whisper to individual hearts, I suppose. And to whisper nothing useful. There is a place for useful fiction, don’t get me wrong. For education, for encouragement, for comforting words (please don’t think I’m a snob in any way about these books!) But then there are writers who write the anxious, the strange, the whispery.
Now I am left with plans to salvage – I made a good list of costs and possible stopping points for the tour. I laid a bit of preparatory groundwork with kind contacts in the US. It falls on me now to see if I can find other sources of funding, perhaps arrange something shorter, East Coast.
So with energy and ways forward, I should be feeling if not good, then at least focused. Unfortunately, anxiety resurfaces at the times it wants. I have to sit with it, work through it. Write my way out, however spidery it makes my writing. Right now I’m working on a novella project, made of flash pieces. Supernatural and full of the ghost of Victoriana and old stones raised on moors and basements full of century-old brandy and shadowy women, and parties that go on unseen in dark ballrooms. It lends itself to short, breathless bursts of writing. Tight wedges of anxious plot that then lead out like fireworks before they light up the sky, to the next flash, and the next. Gaps of silence between. It’s going to take a lot of editing and picking over at the end when I’m done. but it’s fit work for my mind as it is.
Always there’s looking to the next thing, and the next. Stories sent out on submission, opportunities applied for and awaited. But now, now I go to the writing and I flick matches against the back of things to see what will strike. Patience subbed out for activity, since it’s all I know in my own way how to do.