Monday, May 19, 2014

I'm in a malaise. I've known something was wrong for most of this year but I always thought it was a temporary period of stress or discouragement that I could work through and emerge clear-headed and ready to tackle life. But I was out for dinner just last Friday with Tash, Amanda and Lucy, and I felt very heavy and sad because they were all talking about their husbands and children. I was disinclined to talk about myself because all I do is sit at home in my pyjamas, so I said "I'm in a malaise" and as I said it I realised it was absolutely true.

It is an irritating thing to say about yourself, like something Frances would say in Frances Ha, only I lack Greta Gerwig's adorability. I am not merely undateable (though I am also that!) but also unloveable and also much older than her. I find my general mood is one of annoyance and I constantly have to stop myself writing needlessly mean things on social media. Even so I still manage to, quite a bit of the time. And I find myself seeking support from my various coteries only in terms of criticising people I don't like, which I recognise is a way to make myself feel less like a loser but is pyrrhically the behaviour of a loser.

I feel overwhelmed all the time and find myself frittering away my days, taking long lunch breaks and binge-reading novels, staying up way too late and then oversleeping. It is my turn to choose the next book club book and I haven't been able to rouse myself to that. I berate myself for my laziness but I can't seem to

My work is feeling like a real slog of bits and pieces at the moment with no narrative of progress. I keep saying to myself that once I hit this or that deadline I'll be free to work on things that are of bigger-picture importance but I never seem to be able to get off the treadmill, and it is dispiriting to me that I put such painstaking effort into things that don't get read and don't get paid enough to justify the effort.

Perhaps the malaise started when it became obvious my book was a failure. I find it hard going into bookstores because I can't see any copies of my book in there any more. At least I've never seen one in a bargain bin or op-shop (SO FAR: TOUCH WOOD I BET IT HAPPENS TOMORROW). I felt so embarrassed today because one of my Facebook friends posted a pic he took of a signed copy in a bookshop in Sydney. I signed it last July and clearly the only reason the book is even still in the shop is that they can't return it to my publisher because I ruined it by signing it. Ha.

The rituals of successful authorship just bum me out beyond belief because I am not participating in them. I haven't won or been shortlisted for any awards and have stopped asking my publisher if they have entered me in any because they have moved on to other authors with fresher, more successful books and it embarrasses me to have to remind them that ole yesterday's news still exists.

I have received absolutely no money from the book and honestly I doubt I'll even pay back my advance. Not that I was expecting to receive a red cent; you write a book for the opportunities that 'having written a book' gives you, rather than to earn a living from it. But still, I felt sad that another writer earned enough from her royalties this quarter to get her hair permed. I haven't had a haircut since last August and a fringe trim since last December and my hair looks terrible, and perhaps that's part of the reason for my malaise – having to look at my stupid forehead.

I also haven't been invited to any writers' festivals apart from last year when I did my hometown writers' festival and the Emerging Writers' Festival. This year I am feeling really heartbroken and excluded from the EWF because even though I haven't actually emerged I have technically 'emerged' on their terms because I have participated in the festival for a few years in a row and now I suppose it's time to give younger, better-looking and more successful people a go. I'm feeling really old and past it and as if the generational torch has been passed straight over my head to people ten years younger than me.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a party and someone was asking me about my book and honestly I was in such a deep malaise that I didn't even want to talk about it, but I was trying to anyway because you've gotta Self-Promote, right, and even as I was trying to explain the book (which I have obviously done many times before), I realised what a ridiculous, overly complex book it was and marvelled to myself that my publisher had taken a chance on such a weird book, and thought to myself that no wonder it sank like an absolute stone.

People are always asking me, "What are you working on now?" and honestly I have a text file with six different synopses in it, and several other ideas that are so dumb they haven't even got to synopsis stage yet. My plan was that I was going to sit down and finish all the synopses so they were basically one-pagers and then just send them all to people like a menu and maybe they would point at one and say, "That one" and then I would write it.

But I am struggling to emerge from this malaise. For instance, writing this has made me feel so low that I don't even feel like watching Game of Thrones which is not only one of my favourite TV shows but also I have to recap it for tomorrow morning. I just want to go to bed.

Once again, super glad that like five people read blogs these days. I let my ten-year blogging anniversary go past without comment. Ten years. That's a lot of crap I've written that I could have monetised or some shit.

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