Saturday, February 14, 2009

Clouded Clarity

The worst time to blog for me is late at night, after driving all day, and not getting much sleep the night before. But it is often at times like this -- near exhaustion -- that clarity imposes itself on my, otherwise, cloudy mental state.

I don't know about regular people, but this writer spends many days lost in a haze. I sometimes believe my ideas for stories are born from the fuzz of my consciousness. Not trying to sound deep, but am merely trying to explain something about myself.

In most of the blogs I write, I talk about writing, or craft them in a way that makes me appear to you, my readers, like a writer.

At times like this, I sometimes just want to write. Or share. Maybe it's that I want to open up.

I don't do that often. If ever. Not for real.

I'm good at breaking off relative insignificant bits of my heart and passing them off as soul-bearing. But it's really bits. Always bits. Morsels that wouldn't, shouldn't satisfy anyone listening. I feel like a magician when this happens. They way I talk, act -- behave -- it's convincing. You believe it's me your hearing about. You believe I'm the me that's being displayed.

I write dark thrillers. Pretty much always have. And even now, writing Christian suspense, they're still dark.

It's always about darkness.

The difference is, when I write, I am in control. I can create a world where, in a sense, I am God. I know what's going to happen before it happens. I am in charge of who says, and who does, what.

That, let me tell you, is satisfying.

Do I really think I'm God? Let's not be silly. Of course not. He has a job I'd never want.

If you read my books. If you know me. You will see a piece of me in each and every character. From the dumb dry sense of humor, to the ... well, to the I'm not really sure what else, aside from the dumb dry sense of humor.

But I'm in there. Me.

I have no idea who it was that said, "Writing's easy, all you need to do is open an artery and bleed ..." Or some such thing. You get the idea. It's blood that goes into writing for most writers. A manuscript is like a baby. One we writers have given birth to.

And I'm straying. I'm off topic. Because this isn't a blog about me the writer, as much as it is supposed to be about me. The person behind the writer.

Write about what you know. That's a rule many writers are taught.

It couldn't be any more true. When I was fourteen the first story I wrote was about a teenage dishwasher who becomes a busboy. I was a dishwasher who became a busboy. At fourteen, that's what I'd accomplished in life. That's what I wrote about.

My writing has matured, I believe, along with me. I've done more. Experienced more. Felt more. Saw more. And as a writer, I try to capture events and snapshots of my life and use them in the characters I create to make the story I tell more ... relate-able. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, not so much.

It seems like more and more I focus on my failures, and fears, and hesitations, and short comings, and spill them out into my fiction. Fiction is factual. Has to be. And finding the words and scenes and emotions needed to fill an empty page is not something I struggle with.

No one has led a perfect life. Life is not meant to go your way all of the time.

It's just that sometimes, I'd like to see the pain, the misery and the anguish of life let up a little. Just a little. As a person, a human, I need a breather every once in a while. I need to be let up from out of the deep depths for even a chance to fill my lungs with oxygen.

I'm laughing right now. I've taken a moment to go back and read the rambling rant I've written. And the truth of what I said at the beginning continues to hold true.

This is merely a morsel. A bit I've broken off from my heart and am now attempting to feed to you, my readers. But what insight have I given you?

That I'm in pain?

Who isn't? Everyone is in some kind of pain. Headed for some kind of pain. Or just getting over something painful. Again, that's life.

I've heard people say that artists (if you wish to call me an artist) can create art because they are a tortured soul. (This is yet another quote, or saying that I am badly messing up. But it's past midnight, and I'm in no mood to research the Internet for more accurate accounts. Not now. Not tonight).

So why write this blog, anyway?

I have no idea. It was in me, though. I thought about it on my drive back from Binghamton tonight. Three and half hours alone in the car, I had time to think. Time, for me, can sometimes be nothing more than an enemy.

Sympathy is not something I am looking for. Or empathy. And I am not trying to cause anyone concern. I'm actually just trying, and not succeeding, to open up. To share.

One reason I believe my marriage failed was centered on this very point.

I love to say that the leading cause of divorce is marriage. (That quote, I got right).

But I've heard the stats. Communication is key to successful relationships. And when it comes to communicating, ironically, I fall short. Every time. I fall very short.

There has got to be a bright side to this blog. I'm trying to look at it like a story. I'm writing it. Therefore, I am in control of the blog's outcome. Putting a positive spin on the despair I've just "penned" is within my power.

And yet, as I look across the room at my bed, I realize that getting sleep -- me falling to sleep right now -- is the highlight, it is the only positive outcome. The day is over. Half the night, too.

But, hey. There's always tomorrow.

I'll end this with something I always say. One day at a time. It's all we can do, all we can be expected to do.

Thanks for reading.

Have a great night and God bless.

Thomas Phillips

1 comment:

Corrine said...

Life is also love and laughter, which I believe you have experienced a lot of in your life. Yes, pain is part of life but we cannot let it dominate.

Thanks for breaking off that bit of yourself to share.

(If the event you haven't heard, the LAS Staff group is being eliminated as a functional unit -- in other words, Roxie, Kev, Barb & myself, tapped. With 42 years, I'm in the best position of the group, plus:

2/5/09: Involuntary Term. Notice
5/5/09: 90 Days
8/5/09: Age 62

Sending {{{HUGS}}}