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Writing with the black dog...

It's been well over a week since my last post and, as I have said in previous posts, I'm putting it down to depression. The black dog is well and truly snapping at my heels and I'm never sure whether attempting to kick it away only makes it return to bite even harder, or whether I just leave it! One thing is for sure, whenever it returns I am always shocked by how harsh it is - everything is - and how so many things make my skin crawl so much that I just want to lash out at everyone, and everything, in sight. It's such a horrible thing. The other day a friend asked, 'what is depression?' - is it pressing something down, an inability to voice oneself? I get the voice thing, definitely, because I am finding it incredibly hard to voice not only myself, but voice the characters I'm supposed to be writing for, and from, too. Last Friday I was talking about feeling a paralysis of voice and as I was saying it I had this scratching at the back of my throat and I had to stop a couple of times to cough and then continue. How does one voice what's going on when a) it feels so much that it's overwhelming and b) the attempt to do so only leaves you feeling more drained? When I'm like this there are no answers. I'm currently sat in the British Library, having spent the best part of an hour staring out of the window this morning deciding whether I should go to the library or a coffee shop and if the library, which. So I'm here and have been since 10.30 this morning and every noise being made makes my skin crawl with fury. Anger. I'm trying to reconnect to my victorian novel. I printed off the 60,000+ words I had written since October last year, about six weeks ago, and looked at it briefly and was horrified, ashamed at my efforts. And then yesterday I resolved to start on version 4. So here I am, wondering where on earth I ever got the idea that I could ever write anything of any value. Yet the stories are there - the stories are always there - demanding to be told. There's a question of three parts - does this need to be said, does this need to be said by me, does this need to be said by me, right now? And the answer to each of those questions is 'yes', always yes. Mostly yes. I feel that need to tell stories, I always have. And the struggle is one of expression, authenticity... all of the things which depression disables. I'm posting all this here because I feel it is all part of my writing process - if I frame it that way then maybe I can make it have meaning, inject the depression with an ounce of virtue that makes it easier to bear. My Mum's book is also nagging away at me - nagging is the wrong word - but making itself heard, like a troublesome child in desperate need of attention. I managed a few thousand words of that last week but I couldn't for one second say with any certainty that those words are the right ones. I really believe that I hold within me this duty, this need, to tell the stories of my parents - yes, I haven't even though about my Dad's story yet although it presents itself fragmented in stock Irish images! I really believe in Jung's belief that 'there is nothing more devastating for a child than the unlived potential of a parent...' and I think the devastation may only receive any type of healing when some of that unlived potential of the parent(s) is expressed for them by the adult child. How does that sound? It sounds totally hokie to me, but however it sounds, it feels right.

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-Dedicated with love and respect to Dr Bruce Lloyd-

And in memory of my parents:
Thomas Valentine and Joan Theresa
Good people who taught me so much more than they realised


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