22 April 2014

That Awkward Moment of Collapse

….when you realize that you are not living up to your promise and potential. Those terrible moments waking from a dream at godawful o'clock in the morning. A dream of collapse and loss, panting in panic muddled with fear. The seizure when you feel in your heart that you are so far from what you said you wanted to be that you will never catch up.

Pardon me. A moment, please. (Sighing)

I keep writing "you" as if I am describing the arc of your lives, you the reader. I should stop that now. What I should have written was "I". That awkward moment when I realized those awful things about my life. Not you. I cannot speak of these things in your life because I do not know the arcs of your lives in such particulars.

Waking up from such unsettling dreams as often as I have in recent weeks, it is my hope that no one of whom I know is experiencing the same. It makes for poor sleep, which in turn makes for sluggish days on which it takes far too much effort and time to get back to being in the moment.

These dreams have a recurring theme, that of losing all of my means of support. Cold sweat awakens me, wondering where my jobs went, how could I possibly lose them and the money that goes with them. I twitch awake, breathing hard. It is unpleasant, to say the least. I know these dreams have their roots in the unfortunate round of layoffs I endured starting in 2008, and the subsequent scrambling to find gainful employment. The question I cannot answer is, Why now?

What add a particular new shade of funk is that this unleashing of the succubi in my subconscious has manifested in the form of shame. Shamed by a sense of personal failure as a writer. In the cold grey sump of sunless mornings, imps have been whispering in my ears: "You will never be a professional. You squander any gift you might have possessed, you have not achieved meaningfulness as a way of life."

This is so disturbing that words are not sufficient to illuminate the heaviness in my heart. It is damning to hear those awful voices, to look back on what I have done, and think that perhaps the imps are right. Catchy titles, very short stories that exist in a near vacuum, the occasional flash of brilliance: these are things in which I perhaps have some facility.

Perhaps. Yet a solid body of work they are not. I have had a million ideas go nowhere. I have failed to produce anything I would be happy to call a book. A collection of short stories, maybe, if one cares to be generous of spirit. Yet disjointed fever dreams and notes scrawled on virtual Post-its do not an oeuvre make. Because of this, the small hours of the morning become tainted with anxiety swirled with disappointment bordering on self-loathing.

My mind overflows. My hand is stilled by a lack of ambition or surfeit of sloth, I am not sure which. The disappointment I feel fuels the crematorium of my dreams. I do not write this to depress or disturb any who may read it, forgive me if this has happened. This scrawling of mine is not a plea for pity, I wouldn't be so pathetic.

I write because of the dreams. I recently read truth from a favorite author of mine, who said "...honesty means nothing if there's no real risk to it, no self-examination". The dreams are forcing me to self-examine. I write this out of honesty, and I am enervated by what I have not done.


  1. Dreams are just dreams. You are far from a failure. Dreams don't mean Squat. Your "Mum" didn't raise no failures.

  2. That's it. I'm going to put my Muse hat back on. Only this time, I'm charging favors for it and I'm going to be more relentless than a bitch

  3. Not failure. Some practice, some great pieces... Just keep writing. Something simple to try (excuse the language): http://bit.ly/1g9lznc

  4. At some point enervation will turn into invigoration - everyone, no matter who they are or what they do, go through a slump...but I have every confidence you'll climb up on what you consider the collapse and wave a flag of victory. ;)

  5. I think the trick is not to set out with expectations, and in that way it's easier to look on the positive side, and be thankful for all the things you HAVE been able to do - often without realizing Even small things can make such a difference to those about us...Image - a simple smile at a little old lady as you hold a door open for her might be the only bright spot in her day?! But I do understand the 'failure' imps...

  6. Mind parasites, whispering cruel words of doubt and failure; how they love the deep dark of night, gnawing away at hope and promise. I know. I fight them often.
    You're not weakened by what you haven't done, Irish...you're strengthened by what you have.

    1. Well put. I had not thought of it that way. Thank you.

  7. Crematorium of dreams is funny. Keep that, scrap the rest.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...