Little by Little – Maybe I’ll Get There

It’s been a month since I finished my multimedia Artist’s book, The Spark. By now, you’d think I’d be back in the studio – painting. But I still can’t get my head there. It’s funny because my heart is there, just not my mind.

I am still working with my doctors regarding my depression. It’s been like pushing a huge boulder up a steep hill. Every time I think I’ve arrived at the top of the hill, it keeps rolling back to the bottom.

I’ve always had depression (bipolar), but it got particularly bad last September. So it’s now been going on for a year, which is pretty much unacceptable to me. Not to be hard on myself; I can’t help it though!

When it started, it wasn’t gradual. It was sudden. And while I still don’t know exactly why, I think it had something to do with finishing my memoir, well, “finishing” meaning – I completed the final draft, but it still needed a lot of editing I didn’t yet foresee. I spent the next year rewriting and rehashing it until I was satisfied. Not an easy task, and it was an emotional roller coaster. In any case, I’ve mentioned this all before.

Well, since the end of June, the manuscript has been with a professional copy editor (I’ve also mentioned), and the longer I’ve had some distance from it, the better it’s been for me and the book. The only thing is that I haven’t been painting. I have the next three paintings roughly planned out (I never fully plan them out completely normally), but I haven’t put much paint to canvas. I’ve been putting in an hour here, 20 minutes there on that same Turtle House painting I started last September! If it wasn’t the 977th painting, I’d say I was nothing but a dabbler. 😉

Instead, I’ve been writing other things. I’ve been working on a few of short stories and posting them on a critique site in order to improve my grammar and sentence structure. It’s fucking difficult to dive deep into something you’ve written and nit pick everything and still be able to keep the overall vibe of your voice. I am hoping that when I get my book back from the copy editor, I will be able to tinker – hopefully very little – armed with all the new knowledge I have. Wouldn’t it be something if I won’t have to tinker at all? Seems unlikely. I would have to agree with every little change he makes. Umm, no.

However, so far, our check-ins have been incredibly on point and eye-opening. It’s all good! Oh, and I should mention that none of this would have been possible without the grant awarded to me from the National Arts and Disability Center and the California Arts Council. They paid for the copy editing.

I will be getting the manuscript back in a few weeks, but get this… I leave on vacation right afterward and I refuse to open the file during that time. But the thought of it sitting in my inbox where it can very easily be opened with just a click will be hard to restrain.

I’ll be receiving two files and I plan on reading the “clean” copy first. That means I won’t be looking at the one with all the red markings and notes. I’ll read the one where all the changes have been accepted. I’ll spend about a week with it, leisurely reading this new book to see if I like it. I am hoping that I really do approve. It would be great if I liked it as is.

The short stories I’ve been working on – one of them keeps getting fine tuned and changed a lot, then reposted on my memoir blog, Shrapnel in the San Fernando Valley. The other is a kind of sampler of from the book. I have tried to make it a stand-alone story, but have been unsuccessful with structuring it in that way. It is what it is. I’m willing to give it out to volunteer beta readers. I wanted to submit it to a couple magazines to see what would happen, but I submitted the first one instead. I don’t have my hopes up though. The other two were taken from a younger time and spruced up. One has turned out pretty okay and the other is awful. Ha.

Anyway, I am thinking that maybe my intense writing streak is starting to mellow out a bit. I’ve been in the studio the past couple days putting stuff back from my Exodus Project show. (Yup, I still haven’t put it away.) So maybe that means I warming up to studio life. We’ll see.


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