I think I've been coming out of it in the last few days, slowly. I've started to listen to what I'm like on the phone, because social interactions make my Happy Pretend Everything's Okay mode kick in--which can be good. Because I will say, "Yes, I'm really depressed right now"--that is to say, I'm honest about it, and I try to let people know what's going on because I'm really bad about hiding it and then spiralling down to a really awful state of mind and no one even knows--but then talk relatively cheerfully for a couple of hours. It's a respite, honestly. But I've noticed that I still sound kind of weary, if I'm depressed at the time. When I start the conversation already sounding a bit bouncy, I'm doing better.
(I also know because, when I'm severely depressed, I sit there and wonder why I should even bother trying to work, because it's all been done before and no one's going to care and my book is going to get marvelously bad-to-indifferent reviews before it ends up gathering dust with a crappy cover before it gets thoroughly remaindered, so why not eat some ice cream instead. When I'm myself, I have more of a--you know those young Judy Garland movies where they would have to put on some kind of show to save, like, an orphanage or something? When I'm myself, I have more of that plucky "Let's put on a show!" mentality. I... I haven't had that in a good long while. That's why you haven't had any Secret Life of Dolls, and why it's been so hard for me to post anything else entertaining, like a Fifteen Minutes.)
Meanwhile, I'm trying to steel myself go back to my Black Ribbon drafts. I've been writing a little--but without looking at anything old. So it's stuff that I would have to incorporate into the old drafts, written out of context, because I'm afraid to go look. I purposely took a slightly pulpy tone when I wrote the original version (BACK IN 2003, MY GOD), because I was going to do it as a quick internet serial. So now I'm taking a more subtle tone, maybe one that's a bit drier--have been writing in that tone for a few years now. It's a very slight shift, nothing drastic. Someone asked if it's humorous--not the way that Secret Life is; not the way that, say, Lemony Snicket or Jasper Fforde are. I dislike Here Is the Part Where We Banter For Half a Page bits--parts where the attempts at witty dialogue are trying too hard. I don't want to say "Joss Whedon wannabe dialogue," but--well. Also, you want your characters to have their own voices, and not spout off your one-liners as if they're all the same person (namely: you). I think there will be humor in the sense that this is my general approach to life, but it's not, like, a comedic novel or parody or something. It's pretty straightforward historical horror/suspense.
So I'm going to start with rewriting the first chapter--I should probably work straight through from A to B, which is not usually how I work, but then, I've got a mostly-finished, only-slightly-patchy primary draft now, I think. Maybe missing a couple of chapters in the middle, or a few chapters that are more Narrative Sketchy ("and then have her walk down the stairs, have her see something suspicious to tip her off, not sure what yet"), but I can get to them when I get to them, in chronological order. For those of you who read the original three chapters, the storyline isn't really changing; I just have different background details, a better sense of how the house should be laid out, and a better sense of how to pace it. What happens in those three chapters will probably happen over the course of five or six chapters now, with a lot of new action/plot/characters mixed in. And bits that
Part of my concern is that, while I do have backups, I'd really like to go fish up my primary Black Ribbon folder out of the Retrieved Data, because that was organized (and had all my research). My fear, however, is that I will look at the external drive cross-eyed and it will go up in flames. The Resurrectionist spent a great deal of time impressing upon me that EVERYTHING DIES, and that the external is particularly delicate. Basically, if it falls over, it's dead. If you move it, it's dead. If you breathe on it, it's dead. And if you so much as unplug it without shutting down the computer first, you will reformat the whole thing. Great. Is there not a more stable product than this? Is there not some kind of case or cover or padded cell you can put it in? Because I'm scared to turn it on if there's so much as a cloud in the sky (our power tends to flicker in and out. Oddly, it does this on overcast days, but not actual stormy ones).
Brb, buying six-packs of thumb drives.
Meanwhile-meanwhile, I broke down and ordered a full bottle of Siren (NSFW image) ("White ginger, jasmine, and a touch of vanilla and apricot") from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, because I have a six-year-old sample of it that seems to help me concentrate--it's the ginger, you see. Increases blood flow to the brain, apparently. Only the oil has aged so much that the ginger is strong as hellfire. All I have to do is open the vial, hold it at arm's length and think about it for a moment, and I am covered in an aroma so pungent that even dish soap can't entirely get it off. I really truly do dab a minuscule dot onto the back of my hand,* wash it off, and then breathe in the ginger for the rest of the day. It has become that strong. So, even though I'm trying to rein in expenses at the moment, I went and got myself a fresh bottle. Maybe I'll use it as a room scent. I'll tell you what, BPAL's Wolf's Heart and High John pretty much got me through a three-month breakdown while I was trying to finish the 15M book. And White Light seems to help with panicky moments. Good stuff.
* I tend to wear oils or solid perfumes (like Lush's Honey I Washed the Kids) on the backs of my hands, rather than my wrists, when I'm working because I don't want my desk or computer to smell like them permanently. Particularly if I'm at someone else's desk, as I was during the Compocalypse. I also tend not to wear oils on my wrists if I'm wearing a watch or a bracelet, for the same reason.
Anyway. That's what's going on over here.
Reminder: The Final Lostnesday is on Sunday, and it's going to be a huge Super Bowl/Oscars-esque thing with a pre-show and then a 2-1/2 hour episode and then a Jimmy Kimmel post-show with the actors (and alternate endings? I don't know if these are parodies or real). I would love to liveblog it, but honestly, I'd rather actually pay attention.
I have a couple of other things to discuss, but I think they'd get lost in the rambling here, so: we'll do that later.