Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Literary Depression

Is anyone else depressed? I feel depressed, so depressed, in fact, that I'm not writing creatively. I'm not writing my new novel or developing my collection of short stories. Why bother? The publishing industry is in the dumps. Houghton Mifflin stated that they're not going to acquire any new projects. Some really good writers I know haven't sold their book projects--it doesn't look like it's going to happen either.

I'm depressed over Prop 8, particularly because so much of the money to fuel it came from churches. I am a proponent of religion. I actually think it can do some good for many. I have pushed the importance of spirituality as a form of self-care, particularly for gay men. I participated in a research study that found that young gay men with spiritual/religious lives are less likely to hurt themselves. Indeed, I've always thought that young gay men who still manage to believe in God when they come from churches that demean them, have a kind of spiritual strength that no one can muster.

Anyone who has read both my novels, can see that my characters have spiritual lives. It becomes hard for me to push Faith when churches still use their influence to destroy lives.

Now, I said I haven't been writing creatively. However, I have been journaling, just getting some of my thoughts and emotions out is a great form of therapy, I believe.


Paul said...

I definitely think the doldrums are going around. I've found it hard to focus on much and I actually do think the Prop 8 stuff doesn't help. Hope you feel better.

Prince Gomolvilas said...

Hey, Noel, I started writing a post on depression, but I pulled it. It was sort of an extension of this post I made last year. It's seemed to only get worse over the course of this year. But, honestly, you know what turned it around recently? The return of 24. Seriously. There's something to be said about distraction or revisiting old loves to turn moods around. I've actually been in better spirits since that 24 special aired than I have been all year. Fucking weird. But maybe it tells you something.


Dann said...

I really appreciate your full disclosure, Noel. I still find it difficult to admit my true feelings because I just feel SO vulnerable and that is SCARY! Though I KNOW that from vulnerability comes the best creativity.

I WILL reveal that 2008 has been THE most challenging year I think I've ever had in my life. So much has happened this year to encourage change in me. At times it's been very grueling. But it's all good.

What a crazy world.....

Sundry said...

I hear you, Noel. Everything seems to be so uncertain these days, it's really hard to maintain a positive outlook.

Glad you're writing. Journaling can really keep you going.

Peter Varvel said...

I'm not depressed now, but I have been in the past, as you know, because of the struggle and conflict with Christianity and sexuality.
I wasted a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. I think I'm finished with that, and trying to process my anger, now.
As toxic as anger can be, it feels much better than self-pity. And you can use your anger to be moved to action.
I'm hoping to reach a third and final stage of true forgiveness before I die, stubborn as I am about not wanting to actively choose that right now.
Hugs from me, too, friend.

thelastnoel said...

Thank you all for contributing to this post. It's a hard time for alot of people. Creative people get it in double doses--we're so sensitive and all. That sensitivity is what gives us Voice, I believe. It also can be our downfall. I'm not sure if there's a study about this, but I've always thought alcoholism and suicides are pretty high in the arts.

Last night I did some serious journaling--the deep dark soul-searching kind. It was intense. I think I'm getting through it though.

Thanks for your cyber support.

Cheryl said...

Prop. 8 and the more-hopeless-than-usual state of the publishing industry have been bumming me out too, so it's nice to know I'm not alone.

Ultimately I think that creating is an act of faith--I mean, there is certainly no LOGICAL reason to do what we do. But we'd be more miserable if we didn't do it, so I try to look at times like this as a test of that faith.

And so what if I'm getting a C- on that test right now?

Don Cummings said...

Oh my friend---we ARE the canaries in the coal mine...I've been depressed lately, too. But a few days ago, I snapped out of it. Sometimes, what works for me, is to just COMPLETELY ACCEPT the depression---and it lifts. Something about fighting the depression makes it even worse. Accept and it will release.
And as far as faith goes. Man, these in a daisy or a piece of bread...find it in the simple things. You have loads of faith, I know. It will carry you through.
Have courage in these trying times. Things will change. They do. They ALWAYS do.

Peter Wallace said...

Hey Noel, sorry to be so late in commenting, but thanks for sharing. We are in scary times any way you look at it. Yes, there's some hope, but there's so much shit to overcome you wonder how it is possible. And then the whole publishing/media meltdown as part of the economic collapse. What's the point of trying to write?

Well, at least there's some good news in publishing that your old friend Don Weise is the new publisher at Alyson books!

Cheers, my friend. This too shall pass.

ted cornwell said...

As a much rejected writer, I also was buoyed a bit by the "funeral" post that follows. Times are definitely tough for literary publishing, but I think the poetry world offers some direction. Most poets are content to exist and publish in an entirely nonprofit world, certain that their work will lose money even if they become prestigious enough to be published by commercial publishing houses. And yet they keep writing and sharing their work, and drawing some solace or even joy from literature. Speaking of publishing news, Don Wiese just was named publisher at Alyson, and I think he'll add some literary clout to the Alyson lineup.
Anyway, I loved Letters to Montgomery Clift and I'm looking forward to reading your new book. Thanks for doing such an informative blog as well. -Ted Cornwell

Mary Patrick said...

I just loaded up my Dead Dream Currency on my website that is left over from my funeral. There is one to "Bury Prop 8" (it will make more sense when you download.) I had people drop this currency into the open casket for things we want to dump in 08, but recently someone suggested I used the left over currency (which looks like real money) to drop in the collection baskets at the mormon and catholic churches. Check it out. What a fun little holiday project. (And hey, coming from the good Catholic Sister Mary Patrick.) It will cheer you up. (It is available right on obnoxious drop box on my site.)
Mary Patrick Kavanaguh

Letty Nuno said...

i'm still getting over the anger of prop 8--religious leaders were much to blame for promoting hate and misleading info to a group of people who are ignorant regarding gays and lesbians--who are not aware that we are not a threat to marriage but just the opposite we are advocates--i still remain strong in my spiritual beliefs and hope everyone is too