I caught myself feeling down a lot the past week. I’ve been tired and a little teary and just plain glum. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the cause. I thought maybe a bunch of things were finally settling into my bones:
- It’s “unofficially” autumn (though not for real until Saturday), so summer and all of my travelling and writing and meeting new people adventures are over. I still can’t believe everything I did this summer! I told myself I won’t do three (one, two, three) workshops again because it actually was too much. Throwing in a trip abroad that wasn’t to a beach compounded the exhaustion. But I had an amazing time doing it all, so no regrets!
- It’s time to get back to work on my memoir manuscript. Given the feedback I got at Bread Loaf and from a couple of other readers, this round of edits will be pretty extensive. I’ll be making significant structural changes, especially to the beginning, which I’m still not happy with. I start to feel good about my book at Chapter 7, which is entirely too late to start to feel good about something.
- I’m still submitting a short story around that I wrote last summer and have workshopped a couple of times. I got some positive feedback from a journal (a goal publication!), but I need more clarity on how to make it better. Otherwise, I’m still going at another short story that’s been pretty difficult. (I swear, I saw the protagonist on my plane to Ft. Lauderdale—yes, my fictional protagonist, in real life, on my plane. It was fine until she spoke to me. She asked if I had any lotion. It was weird giving my protagonist my little pink bottle of Vaseline hand lotion. Then she would smell like me, too. It was all very odd, and I still wouldn’t be sure I wasn’t hallucinating if my spouse hadn’t seen her, too [she was dreadfully pretty, so I had to make sure he didn’t look too hard].) Both are causing me their own versions of angst and making me a little tired.
- I’ve got new material to get on the page. Inspired by Bread Loaf, I’ve got two essays and a short story that I spent some of past week drafting. The essays were short and easy to get out; the story, like the two above, is causing me some trouble. I think it’s because, though it’s a fictional story, it is based on real life, and that’s always weird, lying about things that actually happened in some way or another.
Ultimately, I reminded myself that this time of year is always weird. Even without consciously thinking about it, my body knows that it is the three-year anniversary of my father’s death. The weather in DC hasn’t been helping, staying nice and gloomy in the remnants of Florence. I still don’t miss my father, per se—not in the way people who had great relationships with their fathers do—but I think, every year, my subconscious acknowledges the implications of his physical absence from this planet: I’ll never get the acceptance or the love that I wanted and needed from him. I’ll be feeling great and then, suddenly, boom, this sadness comes out of nowhere, and I’m always confused as to why, until I think about it.
One day, I hope September returns to being just the introductory month to my birthday at the beginning of October. Three years later, it’s still “that weird time of year when my brain remembers that my father died.”