Illusions of the Past and Flash Fiction

I kind of miss the old way I used to run this blog, with a different type of content for every day of the week. It was a very creatively enriching time in my life and I really feel like I grew as a writer during that period. I was also at my healthiest, mentally speaking, during that period. My inclination is to chalk all of this up to a wide variety of writing, heavy structure, active participation in numerous creative projects that included working with people for feedback, and the rewarding feeling of sharing it all someplace other people could see it and respond to it. Unfortunately, things aren’t actually so simple as that. Like most things, the truth of the matter is more complicated.

Honestly, that period of time was so much work that I did almost nothing other than work, write, and depserately try to relax when I had a moment to spare. Trying to write about two thousand words a week of a full novel-length story, producing a new poem every week, flash fiction, reviewing a book, video game, or movie that I also had to read, play, or watch, and then coming up with stuff to write about tabeltop games? It was incredibly draining. I averaged about ten thousand finalized words a week in posts as I put something up every day of the week and that meant writing fifteen to twenty thousand words, depending on how much editing happened and whether or not I had to toss something out because it just wasn’t working.

In retrospect, I don’t think I was really doing that well. I think I was just too busy to notice how stressed and exhausted I was. That was the year that ended with me writing over one hundred thousand words during National Novel Writing Month and then, less than a week later, learning that my Grandfather had maybe two months left. I pretty much feel apart then and held myself together long enough to get through his passing and the funeral before my life came apart at the seems. If I was really doing so well before all that, I think I would have kept it together a little better than I did. Which isn’t a judgment of me or anyone else falling to pieces when they lose someone important to them, but it is a recognition that my life was primed to come apart and then immediately did.

I think I’m personally struggling a bit more now, but that I’m better off than I was. I hesitate to describe myself as “more healthy” since I know I still struggle a lot with what it means to be “healthy” (not to mention the daily trials and tribulations of coping with multiple mental health disorders), but I’ve gained the tools needed to work through most problems on my own in a day or two. It doesn’t make the problems any more pleasant, but it means I’m less tempted to ignore things the way I used to. It takes work to take care of yourself and I’m more capable of that work than ever before in my life, so I think it’s a net gain even if I don’t feel as peaceful and content as I did back then.

Which is probably why I’m spending so much time thinking about reviving some of those old writing and posting habits. There’s a part of me that wants to test myself against a period of time I held up as “the last time I felt at peace with my life” to see if I can recreate that peace or even prove myself more capable. I recognize that this isn’t necessarily healthy, but I also recognize that I often struggle to come up with stuff to write about here and that it would be nice to have a body of flash fiction I’ve put together to fill gaps or to cover another one of my posts every week, like I’m doing with the poetry recordings on Saturdays (and will be doing with that serial story I’m slowly working my way through in preparation for when I’m out of old poems to record myself reading and then repost). Having a collection of posts ready to go is a relief and I imagine having another stream of them for another day of the week will only increase that relief.

I might take some time to come up with flash fiction prompts and then start posting them again, using my old guidelines. A whole story in three hundred words is a good challenge for me since I’m usually so verbose and wordy by default. It would be good practice to get back into, you know?

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