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If all else fails, and I write enough of these posts, they could turn out to be my winning entry.

NaNoWriMo Notes: Panic Attacks And Group Aversion

Oct 15th 11:26am EST.: Fifteen days 12 hours and thirty-four minutes to go.

I have to admit that the panic started to set in last week. What the hell am I doing? I have a hard enough time as it is churning out a couple of articles a day, let alone adding the burden of an extra 1700 coherent words on top of that. There are days I can barely sit up long enough, or think clearly enough, to post a simple record review, let alone write a novel.
Three times a day I open my mouth wide and pop in a long lasting slow acting 100mg pill of something called ms-Contin. Better known as morphine. The big M. Prescription narcotics designed to keep me as pain free as possible.

Do you have that look on your face? The one that everyone gets when I tell them I take a shit load of morphine on a daily basis? MOR-PH-INE!!! Boy does that one word seem to frighten people. The same people who think nothing of popping any other pill under the sun, including tranquilizers, anti depressants, or whatever, will blanch and look worried if you mention you’re taking morphine.

The most common questions I get are, aren’t you afraid of getting addicted? Or, isn’t that dangerous? No and No. Look as long as your taking a medication for the reason it’s prescribed it you won’t get addicted. Especially to something like morphine. What it tires to do is regulate your pain enough that you can have a degree of normalcy while you go about your daily business.

So last week I started to panic about how the bleep I was going to manage to do all the things I want to do. There is a reason it’s called disabled, I told myself calmly and rationally: It’s because you’re not able to do things. DUH!!! If you were able to do the things you wanted you wouldn’t be disabled now would you?

You’d think after three years I’d have gotten my head around that one don’t you? For a supposedly smart guy I’ve always been a bit slow on the uptake. If I were some sort of wise therapist type I would make some comments about denial, not just a big river in Egypt anymore, but what the hell I’m not. You see I’m not only slow but I’m also stubborn.

If I start being reasonable in my expectations based on my so-called abilities, or lack there of, I would probably convince myself that I couldn’t do anything and sit in front of the television all day rotting my brain out. I’d be a vegetable before a month was out.

So I set unreasonable limits for myself and see what happens. The worst thing that could happen is that I won’t be able to do them. Well if I know all that why was I panicking? For the good healthy reason that I’m a walking contradiction. In spite of the attempted casualness of “The worst thing that could happen is that I won’t be able to do them” I don’t mean a word of it.

I’m not a damned rational human being. Never have been and never will be. Would a rational person even think of trying to write 50,000 words in a month? Does a rational person care about a two page review, that he’s not getting paid for, so much that they’ll spend fifteen minutes trying to figure out just the right way to say something?

All right, now that we’ve settled the matter of my irrationality, perhaps that explains how I spent the last week worrying myself into a state of exhaustion. If I keep this up by the time it comes to writing the damn novel I’ll be wrung dry emotionally and will have nothing left to spew up on the keyboard. Oh great, something new to worry about; just what I needed.

As if I needed anything else to get the old nerves on edge, I’ve been checking out the forums over at the NaNoWriMo web site. No wonder I don’t like belonging to clubs. I always thought it was because I’m such a strict Marxist: “I’d never be a member of any group that would have me as a member”, to quote that great observer of human nature, Groucho.

The last thing my delicate self needs is to listen to a bunch of other people moaning about their troubles, when I need to moan about mine. But aside from that I’ve never been much of a mixer or been particularly interested in becoming one.

I was one of those kids in public school who got sent home with the report card saying…does not play well with others. Not that I was a bully or anything like that, the complete opposite in fact. I just wanted to be left alone and do my own thing, or at least what ever passed for doing your own thing at six.

I know one of the points of NaNoWriMo is to provide a supportive environment for all the participants. People use the forums to talk about what their doing, how it’s going etc. Sort of like what I’m doing with this series I guess. But, to my mind anyway, there’s a difference. I don’t know if I’ll be able to explain it or not but I’ll try.

From the time I was working in theatre to now I’ve never talked about my creative process. I’ve never joined in on discussions in cafes about philosophies of art or what I do. I’ve always tried to just let whatever work I’m doing speak for itself. Talking about it seems like a pointless exercise.

Even doing this series seems a tad self indulgent to me at times. What’s so important about what I’m talking about that makes this anything less than a waste of space? Wouldn’t you rather read my finished story, than me blathering on about my panic attacks, or reasons for doing the contest?

I think it comes down to intention. My intention with this series was to try and provide a window into the mind of someone going through the process. Be as honest and truthful as I can without making it a bunch of Dear Diary entries. It can be a story on to itself. Sort of like the Odyssey where the hero goes on a long journey and has to overcome many trials and tribulations in order to reach his goal of coming home.

Maybe I’m being unfair in my judgement of the forums, when I liken them to people sitting around coffee houses talking about art and not doing anything, but that’s my attitude and I’ll have to live with it. It’s a part of the story of my attempt to complete the contest as much as anything else is.

You know I just had a thought. If all else fails, and I write enough of these posts, they could turn out to be my winning entry. Wouldn’t that be a hoot? Of course how do you know that’s not been my intent all along? See you next time.

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

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