A good breakthrough

To say it’s been an intense day is to merely underscore that it’s been an intense week.

However, today, I finally got through a scene in Act 2 of the pilot that had me stymied. So that feels good. 3 good pages, and now on we go.

I’m looking forward to the play tonight  (The Full Monty). I need a break from my own reality for awhile. (And it will only be us women as the guy from work changed his mind, which, to me, makes sense. His wanting to go was what didn’t make sense to me.)

Anyway. For some reason, which I don’t even clearly remember, one day last week, I needed to see when a particular event had happened – a long time ago. And so I was checking some old journals of mine and once I found what I was looking for (in October of 1984), I got swept up in reading old journals. Not the best idea.

3 things immediately presented themselves: I’m an entertaining journal writer, but I have clearly also suffered from suicidal depression for my entire life. And my adoptive parents were just unbelievably mean – eternally. So unloving. Christ.

That, in itself was suicidally depressing – you know, seeing the  living proof of all that in ink on paper; year after year. The constant emotional struggle. The inner turmoil. All of these intense things going on in my life at all times – in terms of my writing, both songwriting and fiction writing. I knew some incredible people, some of whom were famous.  Some of whom were infamous (went to prison). A whole lot of whom have died already. Yikes. That’s scary. And through it all, the undercurrent of me trying not to kill myself. It was just so sad.

One exceedingly interesting thing I discovered involves that one short story I wrote back in 1989 that got me that problem with the FBI about 10 years later.  I had pages and pages in my journal, documenting all the fan mail I was receiving on that one story – some hate mail, but mostly letters from men all over the country who really loved that story and why – deeply personal explanations about why the story meant so much to them. An occasional gay woman would like it, but mostly straight men. And then…a letter from a pedophile in prison.  A big fan.

And a little bell went ting-a-ling.

Thanks, dude, I thought to myself. (Although I know he wasn’t the only one. It was a nationwide ring of pedophiles that led the FBI to my door.)

In my journals, I documented how much I sometimes struggled with my replies to readers. I always sent hand-written replies to readers who took the time to write to me. And because of the things I wrote about, and the way readers responded – in such personal ways – it wasn’t always easy to know how best to reply. But I always did.

It was illuminating and strange to read over all this stuff in journals that are 29, 30 years old. And since the Internet came about, I never get handwritten mail from readers anymore. When I first started getting published, the world was full of magazines and literary quarterlies – these were the kinds of publications I got published in before I started to get book deals.

The world of underground literary quarterlies was just so cool and is now SO gone. Nothing on the Internet compares with what that world was like. Even while I got published in those kinds of zines, I was also a big fan of reading them, so I felt I really understood my readers, even if some of them were in very dark (sexual) places.

Nowadays, I have no clue who my readers are, or how they might respond to their own worlds. It’s sort of just like sending my work out into outer space, really. Not a good or bad thing; just an observation. It’s a lot less personal.

All righty, well, I gotta scoot! Enjoy your wonderful evening, whoever you are and wherever you are. Thanks for visiting! See ya.

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