Monday, 1 December 2014

Apocalyptic and insane; my dreams will never change.

Exactly thirty days ago, I set myself a goal which, at the time, seemed insane.
I decided I was going to write a book in 30 days.
Well, part of a book. Fifty thousand words of a book.
This goal was part of the worldwide NaNoWriMo* Challenge, in which writers and authors (because we all know they’re not the same thing) from around the world set themselves the task of clawing their way through an average of at least 1667 words a day for 30 days straight. There are no prizes or incentives offered; ‘winning’ means the satisfaction of setting yourself a target and meeting it, and, of course, having 50,000 words of your next novel written.
It was brutal.
There were times when I wanted to go fetal.
There were times when I DID go fetal.
There were times when I sat and stared at my laptop from the other side of the room, glaring at it like it may grow teeth and bite off my fingers if I touch it.
There were times when I wanted to give up, and there were times when I almost did give up. The entire month was riddled with doubt, insecurities, fear, failure and pain. Oh, so much pain.
I won.

I’m going to say that again, mainly because it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.
I clawed my way through an average of 1774 words a day and reached the 50,000 target two days ago. Today I officially validated my novel (read: proved that I did, in fact, write over 50k in 30 days) and was rewarded with a giant banner that proclaimed me a WINNER. 

I am a winner.
Lately I’ve been feeling really…Desperate. I think that’s the best word to describe it. A quiet desperation’s building higher, right? It seems like the more I work on this crazy dream, the more I want it. It feels like it’s almost close enough to touch, yet every time I reach out for it, it slips away from me. NaNoWriMo is a prime example of this: Yes, I wrote 50,000 words, and yes, against all odds, it’s not all trash (I think. I hope), but all that 50,000 words has done is make me want the other 50,000 or so required to finish the novel. And then all I want to do is unleash Cubbins from his cage – where he has been kicking and screaming all month – and get started on the editing process. I always want more. The curse of the terminally dissatisfied. Honestly, I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I keep thinking back to that scene in Artifact where Jared says to Shannon, “Let’s encourage each other to enjoy it as well, this discovery.” I am definitely enjoying it. L490 is super fun to write, as is my drinking game, #TakeAShotOfAlmondMilk**. Which, by the way, everyone is expected to play if I ever achieve my dream of becoming a literary superstar. But I don’t know if my desire for more takes away from that. Like maybe I’m not fully appreciating the process. I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. All I know is that this desperation is increasing every day. I feel it, physically. This need. This drive. This passion.

I think it’s really important to find that thing in your that you are wildly, over-the-top insanely passionately about. In some ways I think too much passion is frowned upon, but that’s never made sense to me. How is it possible to love too much?? What’s the point of life if you don’t have something that drives you, something that inspires you, something that you love? What’s the point of living without passion? Is a life without dreams much of a life at all?

I think sometimes we’re afraid to admit what we’re passionate about. Afraid to admit what we dream to be. Who we dream to be. I know I used to be like that. There was a time where I’d rather roll around in barbed wire and salt than admit to anyone that I write and that I hope to one day become an author. That’s crazy, right? How silly to be ashamed to admit that you dream, that you are passionate about something! But I was, and in some ways, I still am. There are still many people in my “real life” (as opposed to my internet life) who don’t know I even know how to string to a sentence together.

Assuming, of course, that I do in fact know how to string a sentence together. That remains to be seen.

It’s an interesting mentality, really. I think most of it stems from fear of failure. I can’t tell people I want this thing, because what if I don’t get it? To use the example of NaNoWriMo, fear of failure was the reason that I hadn’t participated before this year. What if I didn’t get to 50k? Oh, the horror! Surely the world would implode. Surely. But if there’s two things that participating in NaNoWriMo has taught me, it’s that a) actively working on your dream drives you to want it even more, therefore you work harder to get it, and b) Failure is not as scary as you think it is. If I had failed to reach the 50k by today, three things would have happened:

a)      I’d feel sad and disappointed in myself, let’s be honest, but,
b)      The world would keep spinning, and
c)       I’d still be closer to my goal than I was because I’d be actively trying to achieve it.

It’s the trying that matters, you see. The active pursuit of what you want. Chasing a dream so real.

Chasing your dreams doesn’t mean you love every second of it, though. There were definitely days were the last thing I wanted to do was attempt to make something out of nothing, but I showed up anyway. I kept doing the work. I dragged myself through one-word-per hour days and can’t-I-just-drown-instead days. I did this, because I’ve found my passion. The thing I am compelled to do beyond a reasonable doubt. It may never amount to what I want it to be, but that doesn’t matter. Not really. What matters is that you find the thing that you love, and let it consume you. Everybody needs that thing. Everybody has that thing, if you look inside yourself. And I mean really look. Listen. Feel. See what drives you. What gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. One of my favourite quotes (and the first thing I see every time I turn on my laptop) is this: You have to do what you’re passionate about, what inspires you.*** And you do. This doesn’t mean that you have to do it as a career or a job, because let’s be realistic, not all dreams come true. That is the sad reality. But so what? If you told me with absolute certainty that I would never be a published writer, do you think I’d stop writing? Not for a single second. I write for me. Of course I hope to share some of my words with others, and I hope that those words connect with people, but I do this because I’m passionate about it. Yes I am in a permanent state of terminal dissatisfaction, and yes I always want more, but ultimately, I write for me. I would hope that everyone who is reading this right now has that thing you want so badly that you can almost taste it. That thing that makes you feel desperate and insane. That keeps you awake at night. If you don’t have it, I would urge you to find it. As Roald Dahl says…

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life…If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

My desperation has been keeping me awake at night. It’s been plaguing me, actually. This desire to create something that lives forever. That touches the core of every person who reads it. In times like this, I turn to my other passion: Music. Because we all know that where words fail, music speaks. It should not be a surprise that the music I turned to was all written by one particular band. In an effort to write these feelings out of me, I stole their lyrics and turned it them into a prayer. Into an outpouring of all the things I feel inside. It helped. Maybe it can help you too, if you are feeling desperate. If you are chasing a dream so real. If you are on the precipice of who you are and who you wish to be. All lyric credits to Jared Leto and Thirty Second To Mars. I don’t own any of these words. I hope one day I write something as powerful as their lyrics.

I lie awake in bed at night. And think about my life.
I want to be different.
I'm desperate and broken. I'm hopeless and taken.
I'm chasing a dream so real.

It is a thousand to one and a million to two, but I will fight to the death in defence of my dreams. My intentions never change. What I want just stays the same. And I know what I should do; it's time to set myself on fire, because there is a fire inside of this heart and a riot about to explode into flames. And I'm about to crash, crash, burn...But don't save me. Let it all burn. Don't save me. 'Cause I don't care.

Can you feel it? Things are changing. A revolution has begun today for me inside. It's automatic: I imagine. I believe. And I won't suffer, be broken, get tired or wasted, surrender to nothing or give up what I started. A new day is coming. A new age, a new face, a new love, a new drug. A new you. A new me. I've been dreaming of things yet to come. Living. Learning. Watching. Burning. Eyes on the sun.

I live. I die. I bleed. For the fantasy. I am a machine. No longer living; just a shell of what I've dreamed. I'm in love with this hell.

Underneath a falling sky, all my dreams are rushing by. But I chase them, because I am a queen of promise. I am a victim of myself. Maybe the child of a lesser God. Between Heaven and Hell.

Apocalyptic and insane; my dreams will never change.

TITLE LYRICS: ‘Edge of the Earth’ by Mars

* National Novel Writing Month

** Every time I drop a Mars reference in L490, you have to take a shot of almond milk. That title alone is worth at least three.


My laptop lock screen. Perfection.

[Song titles by paragraphs]
A Beautiful Lie
Kings and Queens
Up In The Air

Closer To The Edge
Kings and Queens
Was It A Dream?

End of the Beginning
The Fantasy
Bright Lights

The Fantasy

Up In The Air
Kings and Queens

Edge Of The Earth