So, I have a few things to get out tonight, and in future I’ll try to spread them over several smaller posts (instead of one large, hard to follow post).
Anyway, I’ll start with my writing class…
I went this Tuesday (like every week) and it went ok, I can feel myself slowly building the confidence to share my opinions and initiate discussions sometimes. It’s a slow road but I feel safe there. Especially when we discuss the structure of stories and I really enjoy the time i spend just writing.
When I’m there I feel that the expectation of me to write something allows my mind to really get into the art. I can put my head down, look at the idea inducing references (whether they be short sentences, words, or pictures), and just write. I let the ideas flow and write what my brain and heart allow.
I’m coming up with some interesting ideas and I’ve got a lot more writing done since I started this course than I have done in the past 2 years combined. Which is a great improvement, especially when anxiety makes meeting with groups of people harder than it might normally be. I suppose the ability to turn off from the room im in and the people around me to just write whats in my mind probably helps alleviate the worst parts of the anxiety.
I’m nearly finished on an original short story (The Search for Beatrice Heartgrave) about two brothers and how one’s weakness becomes his strength. It’s a fantasy/sci-fi story set in a medieval style era. And it’s a story I’m really excited about; not least because, as I’ve written more and more of it, I’ve decided to tweak my original plan and have it develop into an intriguing magical/extra-dimensional world set in this rather old-fashioned medieval era. It’s got my creative juices flowing so to speak!
I’m really enjoying it and loving the fact that I chose a course I could attend, in person, instead of a work-from-home course. If only because, as stated above, being there makes me feel like writing an actually makes me want to write. I also feel being out of my own home really helps as it gets me away from any major distractions (like Netflix/Xbox/Books/Comics/Films/etc.)
I like that it is slowly helping me build my confidence in groups as well. I struggle so much these days when it comes to confidence. Truth be told I still have little (if any) confidence in myself either as a writer or as an actual person. But that is something I am really trying to work on.
I had a bit of a cross-over with some intense memories during this weeks’ writing-prompt exercise.
We were given 3 prompts. Each had a beginning and an ending, I simply had to come up with 6 things that occur between the two points and see how the story develops compared to some literary structures we were shown (man in a hole, boy meets girl, etc.)
One of these prompts was the following: Girl & boy fall in love at a supermarket, they adopt a tiger.
Beginning: Girl & boy fall in love in a supermarket.
Ending: they adopt a tiger.
My job was to come up with 6 steps that took them from one moment to the other.
The problem I had was simple: Girl & Boy fall in love in a supermarket. It was like a bright light in my eyes.
The moment my brain read that it was like a school yard moment where my brain decided to shake the words at my heart like it was a bully dangling my bag over my head.
That is to say it was teasing me rotten with simple words. I read those words and instantly I thought of that moment I saw [E] way back when we first started talking. It was like a sudden shot of adrenaline decided to turn on all the associated feelings and that memory burned itself into my mind.
Tears welled up because I wanted to work, to write something but all I could think about was her walking towards me with that red/white striped jumper and the bashful shade of rose that filled her cheeks when I said hello. I, I can still see it as if it was yesterday.
I tried to bury it and think about something else, anything else. I got lost in a supermarket once, I tried to focus on that and try to use that emotion as a focus, a way of pulling myself out of one memory and into another.
But I was not strong enough.
I sat there, staring at the paper, anxiety setting in, tears welling up. I did not want this room of strangers to see me cry. To judge me, to think I was a loser. It was the most horrible sudden anxiety overwhelm I’d had in a while.
I put my head in my hands, panicking that I was not going to be able to write something, I spiralled a little and it was inexplicably difficult. I decided to just face it. I took the emotions and try to hold them in. I managed not to shed any tears and after about 5 minutes I managed to calm myself down as the initial overwhelming emotions settled a little.
I took some deep breaths and eventually got something written down for another of the examples.
I moved passed that moment the best I could and managed to engage a little even though I felt deflated and anxious the rest of the night.
It’s tough and moments like this scare the hell out of me more than anything right now. I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want it to ruin the things I love doing.
That said, I showed myself I can handle it in that environment and whilst it doesn’t make it easier in the moment, it does make it easier when I’m there and calm. Which, whilst not ideal, does give me some hope for future classes…