Garden of Strange

by  Christian A. Brown  |  August 31, 2014  |     No Comments

Tomorrow is the day that I begin the new manuscript. Originally, I had intended to start this week. However, knowing what I know about my particular writing habits, I decided to take the week off before delving into the world of Geadhain. Once I go in, I don’t come out for a while. I wake with voices in my head, scratching to get out. I mumble to myself while exercising. I appear—for all intents and purposes—like someone who has lost their mind. I don’t socialize, and I get snappy when asked to do anything other than type. In fact, I find the majority of life’s minutiae antagonizing to my existence. Every now and then, I come up for air. Generally speaking, I work six days a week and sleep maybe five hours a night. I still make it to the gym, and shower, and maintain myself to a certain standard of non-hoboness. But we’re talking bare minimum sort of stuff. And I make a dreadful house-husband during these times. Clean laundry thrown in heaps, or balled and shoved into the closet. The house drifting with tumble-weeds of cat hair from my unwillingness to bring out the vacuum cleaner. When I’m writing I tend to neglect everything that is not essential to my ability to continue writing: food, water, tea, maintaining a zen-like hum of silence. God help the fool that interrupts my hermetecism too; I’ve told people to shut the fuck up for asking the most innocent of questions. “Did you want a tea?” STOP TALKING! YOU ARE NOT THE VOICE I WANT TO HEAR! My trains of thought are so delicate that a single pebble on the tracks ends in a fiery wreck, and quite a bit of temper. I always apologize to the victim of my outburst, but that doesn’t excuse the behavior. For the next two months, while this manuscript is in progress, I am going to be a bit of a monster.

Thankfully, my partner understands this flickering fuse, and we’ve put some safeguards in place for the third round of this process. For one, we’re hiring a cleaning lady, to pick up the slack that I will utterly drop. We’re not wealthy, and I don’t like to spend money. The argument over the necessity of having a stranger in our house has been a source of bickering for almost a year now. Still, I have at last surrendered to the idea and someone is coming in to do what I will not, starting next week. Second, last year we renovated specifically for the purpose of separating my work, and moods, from the rest of the house. I am incredibly blessed to now have a sanctuary in which to write. I am sharing this with you, because I want you to understand if my communication and behavior becomes slightly erratic over the ensuing months, I have not gone on a bender, or started circuit-partying again like I did in my early twenties. I am writing.

More than that, I suppose. I am elsewhere. As in, not really here—not mentally, at least. I am not suggesting that writing or art is a transcendent experience. Strip away the frills and we could be looking at some kind of dissociative disorder. At least for me, that’s how the process feels. I sleep, speak and breathe my worlds, and it is very, very hard to pull me from them. Psychologically, I am sure that this stems from the same triggers and causes of addiction, which exists on both sides of my family in one degree or another. Furthermore, mania, depression, OCD, you name the neurosis, and its somewhere in my lineage. I do not think that I hold the monopoly in having ‘mental illness’ in my family tree. I would say that what we qualify as “mental illness” exists ubiquitously. Perhaps it is so prevalent that it should be called “mental diversity”; for we all have one trait or another that could be considered outside of the norm. Whatever the norm is, and I think it’s a huge mistake as a society to set those sorts of boundaries on something as limitless as the mind. Obviously guideposts have to be established to define criminal behavior, but for everything else, I prefer as much mental diversity as possible. An old lady who talks to her dead husband makes for delightful company—even only with herself—so long as said husband isn’t asking her to take a hatchet to her neighbour. Weird is wonderful. Weird is what makes humanity great. I’m going to side-step the deeper issues at play here, and focus primarily on the confession that I am grateful for these differences in myself. I am certainly weird. I play make-believe for a living. I have suffered and lived through depression. Great depression. The clinical kind. I like that I see the world in a darker spectrum. I am happy that my obsessive, neurotic tendencies can be turned toward more positive outputs than harming myself or others.

Oh that we should all be so blessed that our schizophrenia, MPD, BPD, sociopathy, or whatever, can make us into better artists and philanthropists…is not what I am saying. I got lucky. I think exercise (moreover the willpower and focus taught by athletics), and the many beautiful, caring souls in my life helped me to find my balance. Creatives need more stable personalities to bring order in themselves and in our society; without those people we would live in chaos. Art would have no meaning if there were not polarities in opinions and emotion to weigh it against. In my case, I am only biochemically different enough (I’ll abstain from using crazy here, as it is a horrible word and sets a certain tone) that my standard of life and ability to—at times—interact with the world is not inhibited. At least not to any degree that I am deemed in need of institutionalization.

I’m not sure where I was headed with this blog, often these soliloquies tend to take their own course. This one turned into a bit of a confession on my past, my habits, and the stress that I place on others. Moving into another period of this stress, I think that I would like to thank the people—friends, family, fans, cats—who endure my eccentricity, my moods, and allow me to flourish in my garden of strange. I am deeply appreciative and thankful of that encouragement. And I appreciate, in advance, your patience in bearing with me through this next little storm. I’ll try to keep the snappiness to a minimum.

All my love,

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-C

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