All my life I’ve gotten into random conversations with people where the subject of our life trajectories comes up, and I always end up feeling kind of weird. This past weekend I hung out with a friend who told me he decided on his career path in high school, diligently researched colleges, applied himself strenuously to his field of study, threw himself at the best internships available, and then went on multiple rounds of job interviews with companies he had also heavily researched, and that’s how he ended up in his current job. He made a choice based on the menu of job options available in our society and then did everything he could to fit into that choice.
What about me? he asked.
This is when I felt that all-too-familiar weird feeling I always get during these discussions.
I got an email from a writer the other day asking about transgressive fiction. She had seen my previous article, What It’s Like to Be a Female Author Who Writes Transgressive Fiction, and she was curious about a couple of things. Number one, she wanted to know how I fueled my ideas to write in this genre, and two, she wanted to know how I handled the reactions of my friends and family members. In particular, did any of my friends and family think I was just writing about my “twisted fantasies”?
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It’s one of those normal-not-so-normal days for me. I slept badly, woke up feeling frantic, and drove to work obsessing about everything and nothing. During the course of the morning I alternated between short manic bursts of energy and then feeling completely raw and like I was walking around in the world with no skin on. I know the energy bursts will taper off until I’m left with only the raw feeling, and then I’ll need to withdraw totally. How I’ll feel tomorrow is a crap shoot. I might be okay, or I might feel down and low-key depressed for most of the day.
However I feel though, I know I’ll make it through. None of this is new for me. In fact, it’s so familiar that I don’t even really stress about it anymore, which might sound odd but it’s true.
I’ve been writing seriously for about 12 years now, and while a lot of things have changed along the way, one thing has pretty consistently remained the same: I always seem to feel dissatisfied with my writing life.
Sometimes I’m unhappy with the writing itself, but experience has shown me that almost all bad writing can be improved if you just work hard enough at revisions. What I’m really talking about is something different, something deeper. It’s an insidious feeling of never being where I wanted to be, of always striving to reach some goal, and then reaching it and still feeling like I didn’t get what I wanted.