Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Friday, November 12, 2010

Naked and Bleeding

I ordered hardcopies for my beta friends around me that were curious how Mutants and Curse Me A Story had changed... at the same time, I ordered a copy of "Secrets of Stone and Skin" which is the gargoyle/OCD book. On Wednesday, all of the copies arrived and I left them with my friend Stephanie and, I suspect, she'll assume she can just pass them on to the other people that normally ask to beta for me. On the surface, it's a normal pattern and she probably assumes that I've got a thick skin for anything other than unfounded or harsh criticism. Actually, most non-writers probably assume something like that if they're asked to beta read.

I know that most writers compare their manuscripts to babies... and, in some ways, I can't disagree. On the other hand, I was reading "The Picture of Dorian Gray" a few months back and Oscar Wilde tackled the feeling I get when I'm passing on a manuscript to betas.

The artist that paints Dorian's picture says: "Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul."

Later, Basil recants this and says, "I cannot help feeling that it is a mistake to think that the passion one feels in creation is ever really shown in the work one creates. Art is always more abstract than we fancy. Form and colour tell us of form and colour--that is all. It often seems to me that art conceals the artist far more completely than it ever reveals him."

In both instances, it describes exactly how I feel about this particular manuscript. On the one hand, I feel naked just that it exists... that I wrote it. On the other, it involves gargoyles, among other things, so I should be able to distance myself from it and say, "It's a story not an autobiography." Even if it didn't involve either gargoyles or OCD, though, the reality is that I'd feel obvious and naked. It's a weird paradox involved in being a writer. You pour your soul into things and want to share them, but it makes you feel so completely vulnerable.

On a less awkward vein, my Nano novel is coming along well. I've reached nearly 16K despite yesterday being rather a wash due to it being a school holiday and T being so completely manic and out of control.

I'm about one month off my OCD meds now, I think. Getting off the meds involves nearly as many side effects as being on them. One particularly nasty side effects is a pins and needles sensation in my limbs and them constantly "falling asleep" if I'm not moving every minute or so. Several dozen times a day I have to deal with that painful paralysis that comes with that. This side effect can last up to a year, but I don't expect to be off my meds that long. My memory has drastically improved and I feel more like "me" now that I've been writing again. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to write without being on meds.

Speaking of which... I should really get to that or cleaning.

Le sigh.

I hate cleaning.


  1. I hate cleaning too! I'm afraid I can't put it off much longer though. :(

  2. Cleaning bites. Ugh! Sweetie, if you truly reveal your soul when you write then you've never revealed to me more than I already knew. You are exquisitely funny and completely beautiful. I heart you.

  3. I hate cleaning too, blech.

    I've never read The Picture of Dorian Gray, and I don't paint, but those quotes are very true about writing. The changing nature of our attitudes toward our own work. Yes, it's about me-- no it's not about me-- I'm baring my soul-- I'm hiding my soul-- it's everything-- nothing. Sharing the fruit of our imagination is wild with highs and lows.