24 August 2018

Darkness and Creation

Mentally, at this specific moment, I am probably in a better place now than I have ever been since before depression first hit me when I was nine years old. I blame actually tasting my performance dream in real life for this improvement (and probably also being in an environment well away from my negative church/extended family).

Here's the thing though.

After skipping NaNoWriMo last year because I was so uninspired, I'm now wondering if I should attempt this year. On one hand, I haven't really done anything creative in a very long time and I miss that. NaNoWriMo could be just the thing to kickstart my creative brain again.

But... the only story idea I've come up with so far that I might actually squeeze a novel from is a story that basically deals with the subject of abusive churches.

On one hand, it could be good to write this. Having gone through some stuff in previous churches (and heard stories of others' experiences) means I definitely have a place to write from, and goodness knows I feel strongly about this topic. It's possible that writing about the topic could help me deal with my own experiences. Writing is definitely a cathartic thing for me, and the times when I was at my worst emotionally were the times I couldn't write because I didn't have words to encompass the pain.

But on the other hand, I'm actually in a fairly good place mentally. I've pretty well severed myself from the ones who inflicted so much damage on me in the name of Jesus. Dare I dredge all that up in my memory again? I've mentioned before how writing well is not much different from method acting -- the best way to resonate with the reader is to actually feel what the characters are feeling. This includes their pain.

When I was filming Rift several months ago, I was already sort of on an upswing, mentally. But I deliberately sort of 'kept' myself in a dark, frustrated place until I finished filming because I wanted that dance to capture, as authentically as possible, the pain and frustration it was intended to convey. I think the rawness and honesty of the piece did benefit from that and I don't think I regret it. But now that things have gotten SO much better... do I want to deliberately go back to a dark place for the sake of my art? I'll probably end up back there soon enough anyway -- dare I risk hastening it? Is it possible to dip into it for a couple hours each day (during writing sessions) and then 'switch it off' and return to my current content/joyful state? Or is that playing with fire? Will I be able to switch it off?

And if I decide not to risk plunging myself into the depths again, even for the sake of art -- then what do I write about? That's literally the only story idea I have right now. Characters and plots and allegories used to spring to my mind fully formed as I went through the motions of life, but now I can't even remember what it was like to have a story consume me the way stories like Reuben, Rebecca's World, Chasm, and of course, Kyrie did.

I miss that.