Unlovely Feelings

Feelings about writing I’d rather not have

Lately, I have written little. I’ve edited, edited, and edited (and frankly have at least two novels left to edit with ProWritingAid). But this means I now have writer’s block and haven’t done the very part of writing that gives me a high.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The unlovely feelings I’ve harbored

Instead, the writing part of my life has become a series of unlovely and even petty feelings. I’m ashamed of the thoughts and cycle through them helplessly. In exposing them to the light, I hope I can exorcise them.

The cycle goes like this:

  • Being disappointed by my progress in writing/being read
  • Looking down at my talent
  • Being jealous of other people who have advanced in writing and being read

Self-pity and jealousy aren’t a good look, so I don’t let them out. Except here, I’m letting them out by owning them. By admitting them, rather than indulging them.

What do I do about this?

I think I need to go back to what I love, so I remember what I love about writing. And what I love about writing (other than getting attention, which I’ve already noted is failing) is actually writing. I need to create and then I’ll have the energy to do what I need to do — the promoting, which pushes me into the comparisons to others and the jealousy.

This is all very intellectual. but…

I’m analytical about this whole thing, which tells me one thing: I’m trying to stifle these unlovely feelings by managing them. Feelings are not to be managed without paying attention to them and letting them out constructively.

The way I learned to do this was through cognitive journaling. Without going into too much detail, cognitive journaling lets you document a feeling and its power over you, then examine the cognitive distortions that fuel those feelings. Many of our bad feelings come from inaccurate thoughts.

So that is what I need to do about my unlovely feelings — let myself listen to them and then find the truth.

I’ve got some work to do.

My Feelings and Creativity

 According to my horoscope, my feelings today are not going to be mild or even moderate! I’m supposed to let my feelings out through creativity. Good thing I already do that, eh?

That’s why I started writing — to let out a surplus of feelings. As a child, my feelings weren’t mild or moderate and tended to bewilder people. I wrote to keep my feelings manageable. 

Now that my bipolar medicine keeps my feelings more manageable, I write a greater range of emotions, varied plots, different poems. I still, however, write my feelings into my work, shaping the words to my feelings. 

Back to the horoscope. What will my feelings be like today? If the past two days are an indication, I will be impatient and frustrated. Great feelings for a poem.

Day 3 Reflection: Intention

Every morning, I think and I write with a goal in mind. I write to tell stories, invoke feelings, construct meaning. I write with intent.

The word “intention” is a noun, yet we invoke intent as infinitives: I intend to write this blog, to convey ideas, to speak to my readers. I intend to create, to act, to do. 

In some mystical traditions, intention is as powerful as the act itself, as the intent creates the reality. The intent becomes the enacting of the infinitive. If one’s intent is to wound, to hurt, to steal, one has in effect set the wheels in motion to do so simply by intending to.  If one holds to that mystical tradition (and I do), it’s important to examine one’s feelings before they become motives, and one’s motives before they become intention, because by intending to act one has already acted. 

This is not to say I walk in an oppressive cloud of guilt for thought crimes. It does mean that I’m rather introspective about thoughts that could spawn bad intent. The thoughts serve to inform me of what I need, not to be shaped into intent. I do not indulge scenarios of revenge or retaliation or fantasies of infidelity. The thoughts may drift through my mind, but I let them drift and keep myself anchored in the reality of my intent, the things I want to accomplish.


My Sanctum

As I have mentioned before, one of the things that saves me from severe winter blahs (aka Seasonal Affective Disorder) is my planning for the spring garden. 

I should explain that my garden has rules: everything I plant in it should be, at least in part, edible*. This means that I landscape with edible flowers, herbs, and plants that have been gathered and eaten in American or other cultures. Most of these can’t be found in nurseries or are rather expensive if bought as plants, so I grow them from seed myself in my grow room.**

 Here is a view of my grow room, which is a small basement room that used to be the coal room back when my 100-year-old house was a youngster: 

Not very impressive, is it?

The wires are for all the fluorescent fixtures and the heat pads — and the ancient iPad repurposed for record keeping that you see at your left.  The wall that you can’t see is lined with reflective material that was meant to insulate a garage door. Peel and stick — excellent for increasing the light in this room.

The flats you see are for two sets of items I’m growing — the edible nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant) and a handful of herbs (celery, lovage, yarrow, calamint, perilla, hyssop, alpine basil herb).

Closeup of my first herb flat

I have more to plant — I’m waiting on seeds for my moon garden and more herbs and for some flowers (and for lots of things that will get planted directly in the garden. By the time I’m done, I will have six to eight flats of seedlings to nurture.

Not all of them will survive. Past seedlings have succumbed to damping off disease (which I fight heroically with cinnamon water spray) and watering malfunctions. Some seeds never come up. On the other hand, sometimes they grow faster than I expected, which is why I’m setting the top shelf (that you don’t see) for taller seedlings to reside. I will save the best of the plants that come up for planting come spring.***

Spring comes to me sooner than to most because of my grow room, with its ugly cement floor and worn shelves. Today I sat with my seedlings, thinning them out so that they could grow strong, and feeling, if not happy, a bit less out-of-sorts.

* This year’s exception is the moon garden, which is comprised of white, night-scented flowers, most of which are toxic to deadly if eaten.

** When I say “grow room”, people think I’ve got one of these high-tech setups advertised on eBay where people grow — well, plants that are illegal to possess or use in this state. Mine is not nearly so exciting.

*** This doesn’t count the direct-seeded vegetables. I have to admit that I’m not as good with these because it gets too hot to weed and there are so many weeds. I’m working on using more mulching and earlier morning weeding.