“No defeat is made up entirely of defeat, for the world it opens up is always a place formerly unsuspected.” The Descent – William Carlos Williams
Following the meeting before Christmas about my business plans, where I was advised that it would be better to re-focus my energy entirely on writing and paid speaking engagements for the moment and keep the other stuff on the back burner, I’m taking that advice. My life is writing (for the purposes of earning money, that means copywriting and journalism…), there is never a Plan B; any attempted plan B is a non-starter…for now at least. The situation is basically shit or bust. I have three or four weeks to turn things around and find quite a lot of new work or else I’m going to be in quite a lot of trouble…
After a row last week, I called a Serious Family Summit. Reading from notes I’d written on a piece of paper (preparing notes to talk to your own parents – not a high point, but it worked when I was younger, and I wanted to be thorough and serious about it…), I talked honestly about the problems of the last two and a half years, where and why things had gone wrong, the problematic pattern of over-investing hopes/feelings in things/people and imploding when it doesn’t lead to something good, and the struggle to move on. I said I’d basically given up on life from August 2011 until about eight months ago, and although I have been trying to move forward (ref: The Book and certain recent work accomplishments I’m pleased with), I’d got myself into such a hole that it is still a struggle to climb out. I have constantly harked back to the last time I was happy (the months leading up to August 2011 when my friend died and a major story I was working on was dropped because the source had lied to me…) like someone who’s lost something and keeps wanting to go back to where they last had it to try to find it. They said they understood, were glad I recognised it and hoped that now I could be upfront, I was in a place where I could move forward properly.
For the record, in future, I would really like to be able to deal with the “Emotionally over-investing-and-then-imploding” pattern without resorting to writing Honest and Difficult letters to the people concerned the way I did during my early 20s: not least because the consequences this time if one fell into the wrong hands would be awful (and I’ve watched enough telly and heard enough stories to know that Honest and Difficult letters have a pesky habit of doing that…). I’m not sure what a better option would entail, but there we are. If anyone has gone through this pattern and dealt with it a better way I’d be very happy to hear about it (I had counselling last year, and felt I spent a lot of the sessions identifying/re-stating the problem rather than actually dealing with it…)
Thankfully, the person who gave me that business advice before Christmas (whom I met at a conference where I was speaking…) is turning into a very useful professional ally, giving me plenty to think about and encouraging me to count my blessings. I am trying to recognise that I do have a platform and contacts of a fashion and that if I can use them (and go easy on the wine whilst doing so…) something will come of them.
Something needs to. Fast.