I occasion Discord, a chat-oriented social media platform that allows you to hang with people with whom you have some connection. I am part of three groups there, by far the most significant the Kansas Bunch — a very small community of writers anchored around some brilliant people in Lawrence, Kansas. They don’t actually know that we are the Kansas Bunch.

My membership in that group seems at times to be honorary; I celebrate the achievements of others while I struggle to restructure my novel once more. But I love those guys and I love hanging out with them.

But things got gnarly at work as they sometimes do (I am well-compensated for these times), and I posted a desperate message to my Kansas Pals saying “please give me an anchor at least once in a while.” Since I wrote that, I have not opened the Discord app on my laptop.

Actually I should say I’ve not successfully logged in. Maybe a month ago I tried to log in, failed, tried again on my phone, failed again, went through tech support, found where I had hidden my secret unlock-in-case-of-emergency keys, and then hesitated.

I still haven’t logged in.

When I do, there may or may not be answers to my plea from months ago. There may or may not be any messages at all. Probably there are friends of mine pushing forward as writers, working on great things. Things you may read someday. There’s no shortage of talent in the Kansas Bunch.

But I’m actually behind where I was when I last communicated with The Bunch. My project is less structured, more vapor than ever. I’ve been working the last few days to put some sort of parameters on the first book, with a tight focus on providing a great beginning, middle, and end, while accepting that this is just the first stone to hop to get across the river.

There’s a bunch of people on Discord who would love to help. But the last few weeks I’ve just been stuck. NaNoWriMo was awesome this year, but when it was over I just flopped and stopped writing entirely. I also stopped riding my bike. I just stopped pretty much everything except work.

None of this conforms to my idea of who I am. Well, that’s not true — I hold more than one idea of who I am in my head, and fat, lazy, slob is one of those images. I’m fitting that one pretty well.

So I guess I am who I imagine myself to be, just not the best version. I even know exactly what to do to break out of this quicksand. But part of the quicksand is sapping your will to escape.


4 thoughts on “Mired

  1. Hold on there, Sparky. While this group may not hold the gravitas to get Jerry the writer going again (while we enjoy the product, we’re not exactly down there in the trenches, “been there before” boon companions), I personally am holding you accountable to bike riding. I have been in those trenches before, dammit, and know how important that release is. You need to commute by bike. And you need to put miles and elevation in. You have a goal to climb Mt Hamilton. I’m here to remind you.

    • Thanks for the ping! You’re kind of a coach-figure to me, to be honest, and your encouragement means a lot.

      I’m doing better now; four days in the saddle so far this year (one a commute). The regular exercise makes everything else better as well. I have an uncomfortable health issue (it hurts when I cough), but for whatever reason, the geometry of my hernia is such that lounging on the sofa leads to extreme discomfort, while walking or riding a bike seems to make things actively better.

      I’m seeing a doctor on Monday, who will then probably refer me to a specialist, who will likely perform laparoscopic surgery down around my nethers. I’ll save up all the gory details for their own episode.

      But meanwhile, today was a great ride. Tomorrow’s might be shorter, but I’ll probably end up checking whether my favorite stretch of trail is still flooded.

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