Monday, April 14, 2008

In the Write

The attitude I bring to my writing is different every day, and highly dependent upon my mood. Some days I'm on fire and I can't wait to start spewing words. Other days I am tired and indifferent, and on those days, just opening a notebook is far too much effort. Sometimes I am angry and irritated, and my journal is filled with biting diatribes on my family...other times I am happy and content, and could write sonnets about how well-adjusted I am (*snicker*).

I've actually noticed little difference in the quality of my writing on days when I'm hypomanic vs. days when I'm so depressed I can hardly bear to string words together to form a coherent sentence.

But attitude isn't the only thing that shifts with mood. Perspective shifts, too. And what interests me more than the influence of mood on how well I write or how easily it flows is the influence of mood on what I write. How, I wonder, would a given pivotal scene in a novel have gone differently--potentially influencing the path of the entire story--if my mood state had been different on the day that I wrote it?

Obviously there's no way to's a bit like wondering how my life would be different if my parents hadn't decided to move to the U.S. when I was a child. But my mind is the sort that likes to latch onto such unanswerable questions and worry them to death, and so it is the sort of thing I lie awake thinking about.

I wonder if my mood influences how receptive I am to new ideas about the story I'm working on, or if it might cause me to discard ideas that, in a different mood state, I would jump all over. I wonder if I would solve a plot problem differently if I was hypomanic vs. depressed. I wonder how many different stories could be written from the same spark depending upon the pattern of my moods. I wonder if some of the novels I gave up on--the ones that are sitting, half finished, in the bottom drawer of my file cabinet--might actually be salvageable if I could just have a go at them in a different mood.

Ah well. I suppose I should just be glad that after five years (two years on bipolar meds when I couldn't write, and three years after stopping bipolar meds when I didn't want to) that I feel like I want to write again.

So today I'm going to pull the last novel I was working on before my diagnosis out of the bottom drawer of my file cabinet, brush the layers of dust off, and start looking at it through the filter of my current mood: the mood to write.

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