Another writer’s blockage—a more serious blockage—may arise from an excessive need for a success not actually related to good writing: an excessive need to please admirers (that is, to be loved), or prove himself vastly superior to others (that is, to be superhuman), or justify his existence against the too obstreperous cry of some old psychological wound (that is, to be redeemed). No amount of work can solve this writer’s problem, because nothing he writes satisfies the actual motive behind it.
–John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist, p. 135
Everyone loves a dirty little secret, the kind you’ll take to the grave, the kind that just drips with filth and depravity. Yeah, I have some of those, but for years, my biggest secret was nothing so dramatic. Unfortunately. My dirty little secret was that I was a writer who was terrified and lonely and oppressed. I was the Nelson Mandela of literature, locked away in chains I forged out of nothing, nothing at all.
It took literally a decade for me to understand that being an artist isn’t something I needed to hide. It took a little longer for me to understand it was something to celebrate. But I couldn’t have made this journey on my own. I couldn’t have broken the chains without the tools I learned by working the 12 steps of recovery. On my blog, on Tuesdays, I will tell you the story of what I was like, what happened, and what I am like now. And hopefully, by my experience with the 12 steps, I can help others to unleash the creative angels that we keep locked away.
I added a new page, outlining the 12 Steps, and yeah, this isn’t the AA or NA or another other A program’s steps, and I took some liberties, but the basic ideas are still there. Powerlessness, unmanageability, hope, surrender, that kind of thing. I’m going to go through this process slow, step by step, hitting each step, and telling you my story. Next week, Tuesday, I’ll start with a little biography.
Now, I truly believe in the anonymity of the 12 step program model. So I am not going to say what kind of addict I am. Some addictions are more acceptable than others, but it really doesn’t matter. This is not so much about my spiritual ailments, but more about how I used the 12 steps to break through writer’s block and to write. I can write. I’m iffy on social media, and I’m iffy on querying, and I’m iffy on a lot of things, grammar, story structure, laundry, but I can sit down and churn out pages. I’m finding that a lot of people can’t do that and it’s really hard to get published if you can’t write the book. And it’s really hard to stay published if you don’t continue to write books.
But here is your chance to guess what program I belong to. As long as you buy me donuts, then you can guess. Or maybe we can hit a bar. Or meth, I like meth, a lot. I know, we can fly out to Vegas and play Texas Hold ‘Em until we’re both being hunted by loan sharks. And yeah, Vegas has strip clubs. We can go to strip clubs while you try and guess what kind of addict I am. But then, maybe, I’m not an addict, but I love you so much, that you can get drunk, and I’ll stay at home and worry about you and try to control every little part of your life. Wait, that’s the other side of addiction, the co-addict. Maybe I’m one of those. Or maybe I’m a TV addict, a movie addict, a Bioshock addict, or maybe I’m addicted to early morning rosaries at my local Catholic church.
So yeah, addictions abound. I blogged about that.
So, next week, Tuesday, my biography. Where I will tell you the horrible bottom I hit watching Joss Whedon television shows.
I was in the police station, and screaming, “First, just one episode of Firefly, than I’ll talk. I swear to God! Just one episode! Okay, okay, how about fifteen minutes of the Firefly movie, that should work. Avengers trailer? Ahhhhhh yeah, that’s the ticket.”
And then they showed me episode one of Angel. And I got nasty.