I thought I’d give a brief overall update of where I stand at the moment.
As you know from my last post, I started a new story a couple of weeks ago. Haven’t given it a name yet-we’ll just call it “that vampire story” for now. But the end is nearly nigh, which will bring my tally of short stories to 9.
It should have been ten but I just can’t seem to finish one story I entitled The Little Man. In case you were wondering, it involves a tokoloshe. For non-South Africans, the best way I can describe a tokoloshe is that, it’s a bit like an Africanized version of the English sprite or to fans of popular culture, a gremlin. I think I might even dedicate a post to this legend soon. Watch this space!
I’m still very determined to finish The Little Man however, even though it seems to be taking forever.
I’ve made up my mind that I want thirteen stories for my collection. Nice number I think, for a collection of supernatural tales. Probably a bit clichéd too but I’m happy with that number as a reasonable target. So that’s my aim.
Afterwards, it’s that scary mission of finding a publisher. I feel nervous just thinking about it. Give me a minute while I crawl back into my rabbit hole…
I can try and use every excuse in the book. Heck, I’ll even borrow some of Eskom’s. Generator malfunction? (Does a woman’s monthly cycle count?) Staff shortage? Yes I know I am only one person but I’ve definitely come up short here. Wet weather? Yes there was plenty of it last week. Inferior coal resources? Er, no I don’t think I can use that one I suppose…
The thing is, there is no excuse. I can’t even blame it on writers’ block this time because it wasn’t. Emotional block would be a better term if you were looking for one. For more than a week I had not done a stitch of work. Not a line, not even a bit of research to fool myself into thinking I was working. I deliberately downed my tools to take a little holiday on the island of Pessimism. And no I did not enjoy myself.
Doubting every virtue I possess and questioning the choices I have made, I seemed to be plunging deeper and deeper into self-loathing and misery. I wanted to give up my dream. Then you know what comes next right? No, I didn’t kill myself (if I did you wouldn’t be reading this).
At times like these, your head starts to swirl around the most famous questions ever unanswered: Why are we here? What am I doing here? What is my life’s purpose? Why is Julius Malema such an idiot? Is there a higher power? And so on and so forth.
Well unfortunately I do not have the answers to the above questions, but my return date from the island back to reality did come quicker than I expected, for I had come across a certain quotation:
Never, never, never give up.
Now this seems like a simple saying, quite clichéd in fact; lacking that certain profundity that comes with great quotations. What made it special to me however, was the person who said it.
Anybody who knows me well knows that I have a soft spot in my heart for Sir Winston Churchill. Him with the droopy jowls and trademark victory sign, it is so hard to imagine what the world would have been like without him. It must be hard to stay motivated when you keep telling people that this Hitler bloke is trying to take over the world but nobody believes you. If the Nazis where nearly outside Britain’s doorstep, what would you do as the Prime Minister? I’ll tell you what I would have done. Being the complete coward that I am, I would have faked a panic attack and had myself temporarily committed to a psychiatric ward until the War was over.
Now I know it’s a far cry but compared with what Sir Droopy Jowls had to contend with, my little insecurities and problems seem quite pathetic. Mere trifles.
Now I have always told myself that it is wrong to compare but I’ve realized that sometimes comparisons can bring real perspective to your outlook on life as long as you don’t overdo it (comparing spouses and children is not cool!). In this case it has been very motivating. There was a point last week when I wanted to crawl into a hole in the ground and hope it would swallow me up. But Sir Winston didn’t give up did he? And yet the whole Nazi zeitgeist tried to swallow him up didn’t they?
Maybe in another life I will be able to deal with a fanatical, idealistic movement/empire attempting to kick my ass and take over my land. But for now I think I will resort to keeping my inner Gestapo at bay. I have also come to accept that, as long as I am doing what I do I will always have these ‘blue’ periods. It’s an occupational hazard. Therefore I have not chastised myself even though I have lost a week and a half. It’s fine. I’ve dealt with it and now its all systems go.
Look to people who inspire you when you are down. They are your heroes for a reason: to pull you out of the very quicksand that life threw you into. Even if they don’t know it.