The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do. — John Holt
One of the effects of depression is the strong desire to withdraw from life. You may not want to be a bother to people. You don’t want to ruin a social gathering with your downer presence. You may strive for numbness and put a wall up around yourself, to shut out life that you no longer feel a part of.
But if this is the road you take, there will be hell to pay. The very thing you feared will happen, you will succeed in driving everyone away. There will be more loss as you crawl deeper and deeper inside yourself.
Knowing that I have a choice to make here, I look long and hard at what it means to give in to depression, which is really giving in to the feeling that I’m too tired and beat-up to do anything BUT give in.
But there’s that road to hell thing that I’m trying to avoid, so I force myself to do things that go against what I feel or don’t feel like doing. It means going through the motions of things, without necessarily experiencing the feelings that “should” accompany the doing. It means a lot of work and effort without always feeling the pay off, hoping that eventually I will regain my zest for life.
So today was about trying to feel better — about myself, my life, and my future. In other words, to have a little fun.
I met up with my friend Lynn and we went to the Loft’s Educational Open House to get a preview of some of the writing classes being offered. I’ve talked about the Loft before. It is such a special place for writers and book artists. If you can’t read the writing on the wall below, it says “A place where books come alive.” The stairway photo above was also taken there (added poster effect). It’s a very cool old building…
A select group of Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, Screen Writing and Multigenre class instructors gave 15 minute presentations about the classes being offered from January through May. Unfortunately, I came out of there wanting to sign up for about 25 classes. I need to narrow it down to about two or three of the one day workshops being offered on weekends.
There was one offering of a week long travel writing class which will take place in Bayfield, Wisconsin where attendees will meet with local experts to learn about Bayfield history and environmental issues and then kayak to the Apostle Islands and camp. Greg Breining, the instructor, has written for National Geographic Traveler, New York Times, and Audubon magazines. He would have us write a query, 250 word travel short, and a 1000 word feature and sidebar. I know travel writing is difficult to impossible to get a gig doing, but what an experience!
Lynn and I split up after the presentations because I had a meeting with a new writer’s group that is focused on writing about the adoption experience. This is not what I was planning on writing about at this time, but the opportunity to network with this specialized group of writers presented itself and I hate to pass that by. We will meet monthly, so I will do a little bit of work on that story but I mainly want to concentrate on my novel, as making up a fictional story has a certain draw for me right now.
Lynn met up with our friend Bev and I joined them a little later. I hadn’t seen Bev for awhile, since she’s been traveling so much. It was wonderful to spend some time with her. Bev and I initially met at a writing class at the Loft maybe 12 years ago? and have been good friends ever since.
Writing is kind of a solitary endeavor while you are writing. But I can only take so much hibernation before I need to once again join up with the writing community. It’s important to me to see how people react when I read my work out loud, to bounce ideas off other writers, and to give and receive support.
So today was a day filled with good friends and lots of creative inspiration that pushed it’s way into my head and took up some of the space where yuckiness had resided.
As a writer, I should be able to come up with a better word than “yuckiness”, but it will have to do for now.