Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Transitions are hard

No, I'm not necessarily talking about the small transitions in a story, say, from paragraph to paragraph. Although those can definitely be hard too. (For the record, I usually deal with them by choosing the easiest, most obvious transition I can think of.)

But today I'm thinking more about the bigger transitions. Today, I'm acknowledging that I'm in a funk. And I've been in a funk for a couple of months...just about the time I moved across town into a new home, and just about the time I gave up my research career for scientific writing. I'm in a funk, which is strange because I don't think I should be in a funk. I just bought a new home that I'm totally excited about. I'm loving my job and my boss, and I'm getting paid more than I was before. So, why the blech?

I think back to those (rare) occasions when I finish one story and focus my attention on another. Whenever that happens I tell myself that I should be thrilled that I finished something and thrilled that I get to start something new. But usually I don't feel very thrilled. I feel lost. I feel a nothingness that doesn't help me get very motivated. In my writing, having finished enough stories, I've learned for the most part just to let these phases pass. I might be down, but I know it's temporary.

Well, today I'm realizing that I should probably take the same approach to life. I'm in a funk, but most likely it's temporary and caused by nothing more than the difficulty of transitioning.

So, that's where I am today. And maybe things are finally turning, because I've spent the last three nights working hard on Cyberlama again, and I finally sent in the manuscript for my crime novella, Bread, to a small press after I got the full request over five months ago. With my revisions, I'm taking the Bailey approach and using pen and paper, and really I'm only saying that because I wanted to talk about Bailey. And I also want to say "Tolstoy"!

As for Michelle, I drew a winner from the nice comments on my Monarch post on Monday. The winner is: J.B. Chicoine - writer and painter extraordinaire! J.B Chicoine, you said you were trying to win it, well, here you go! You can thank the Math Goodies Custom Number Generator if you really want. Or you can thank me. I love carrot cake. Please send me your contact info to dmalasarn (at) gmail (dot) com.

We also have another winner from Judy Croome's guest post, "A Wounded Name." S. P. Bowers, you win a free copy of The Story of an African Farm and Judy's own Dancing in the Shadows of Love!

Oh, and one other thing, if you want, you can check out my terry-cloth-monkey-mom interview at the Potomac Review blog here.


  1. Ha! As I started reading this post, I was thinking, 'Davin is describing exactly the way I feel lately--sort of blech' (except you actually spent the last three nights writing and I sure haven't!)...but by the end of your post, well I guess I'm feeling the opposite of blech! I actually won! YAY! Thanks!

  2. Nice interview! I like the Rhesus monkey analogy (the films from that experiment are creepy).

    Transitions often make me resentful. "Why do I have to [do whatever new thing]?" Transitions between writing projects make me feel the same way. Only yesterday day distinctly thought, "Why do I have to write this book? It isn't fair, man."

  3. jbchicoine, You're quite welcome. You're more than welcome! I hope you enjoy the book, again. :) I feel good about having written. There also seems to be some snowball effect. The more I write, the more I want to write.

    Scott, thanks! I think if I weren't so greedy and selfish I'd probably feel resentful like you do. But I want to be able to say I wrote the book I like. Sometimes, sometimes, I imagine being able to snap my fingers and have the book written. But then I'd get suspicious of how easy it was to succeed.

  4. I am resentful of beginning a new novel because usually I've been reading a lot after finishing up the last project. Luxury! Wallowing around in so many books. I've been reading three or four books at a time this last month and I feel so piggish but so very happy. Now I'll have to give up reading on my lunch hours and the evening commute and go back to writing during those times. But as you say, the more I write, the more I want to write. It's just a process of getting the snowball moving downhill.

  5. Scott, I still haven't figured out how you can write on the bus. I've tried. It's a mess. I can get about five words on a page before I find myself scrawling on my thigh or on the person in front of me.

  6. Yay! Thanks.

    I know what you mean about transition funk. I've been in one this summer as we've adopted a little girl. Sometimes our focus is on learning and growing. It doesn't mean something is wrong it just means we have to focus for a little bit. And when you're living so focused in your own life it's hard to slip into someone else's.

  7. S.P., You are also welcome. As for your adoption, congratulations, and I wish you the best of luck! That is indeed a big challenge, but I bet it is one that will be extremely rewarding.

  8. Oh, Davin, I've been so worried about your transition, but this post puts me at ease, so yay!!! And shame on you not immediately messaging me to say you had submitted Bread. >:(


  9. Michelle, thanks! Yeah, I submitted Bread on Friday, I think. After fretting over a synopsis for several months, I just whipped it out in under an hour and sent it!

  10. Congrats to JB!

    Sometimes that funk is just a necessary slow down before the muse kicks into gear again. Hope the funk moves out of your house and life soon. :)


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