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The month of September was interesting and full of ups and downs. As if life could be any other way, right? The beginning of the month started off in a less than optimal fashion, though its start coincided with a relatively significant achievement in writing. I took part in the 3 Day Novel challenge, where participants are challenged to write a novel in three days. It was a hell of an experience, and not one I’m sure I would ever do again.

The issue with the less optimal resolution wrapped itself up over the course of those three days, as well. It was interesting, though hardly surprising, to see the impact on my writing. The plot and idea were an old one, but my emotional connection with the narrative deepened as the weekend unfolded. I thought it interesting to give birth to a novel during the labour day weekend. I was definitely in labour and after 24-hours, beginning to question everything about myself. I was at a point where I thought I would throw in the towel and just call it a day. However, one can’t go through life just quitting because things get difficult, right? I don’t expect to win that challenge, not by a long shot, but life isn’t always about winning, it’s always about not quitting.

I finished the first draft around 1pm on the Monday after Labour Day, edited it for a few hours and then mailed it in. Part of finishing things is that final separation, I guess. The act and declaration of finalization. It’s all well and good to talk about writing something, to start writing something, to write something, to write something, to edit something, to re-write something, to edit something again and to re-write it again, and so on. Spinning on the creative hamster wheel is an interesting thing: firstly, it’s physically exhausting, and secondly, it’s like looking through a Viewmaster at the same time.

The creative hamster wheel is different from the emotional one, the one we get stuck on in our heads sometimes. Or, at least, that I get stuck on sometimes. To complete that novel in three days, I jumped headfirst down the well, right into the reservoir. I knew I wasn’t going too far down, and I could only stay there for a very short length of time, so it wasn’t like I was worried about drowning in the emotions and really doing myself harm. I had enough air, enough connection to the world outside of that realm to be able to draw myself up and out. It was an interesting feeling, because instead of being freezing like a lake might be, the emotions at first were warm and tempered. However, as I passed through them, coming up towards the surface, but delving more deeply in some ways, I found they became hotter and hotter and threatened to burn me to my core.

In a way, this became more than writing a novel in three days, it became more than a cathartic venture. It became an exercise in self-awareness and self-revelation. It allowed me to explore more deeply my views and philosophies, my approaches and my flaws. It also allowed me to more clearly identify my needs and wants and desires and hopes and dreams. And, in some ways, I saw fear in a handful of coffee grinds (come on!) and confronted it. And here I am. Still alive. Still dreaming. Still writing. Still loving. Still breathing. Still caring. Still laughing. Life is funny.

For example, here we are, and I’m still writing about the first weekend of September. I’ll do another one of these soon and get into the rest of the month in more detail. It’s been an interesting month where issues of mental health (I promise to explain in a less abstract fashion!) manifested themselves in tricky and deceiving ways. Those sneaky ghosts.

Talk to you soon,

– Tristan

About Tristan Baggins

I have always wondered where to start with these bios, but I guess it’s always best to start at the beginning. I’m in my early-30s and I’m passionate about NBA basketball, heavy metal, hardcore, my cat, my friends, writing prose and poetry, helping people, craft beer and mental health. I am also diagnosed with Bipolar II; the clinical definition might have changed with the release of DSM V, but the title doesn’t change my experience. The bulk of my 20’s were defined by erratic behaviour, depression, paranoia, anxiety, and, if I’m being honest with myself, a lot of inadvertent self-harm and self-destructive behaviour. What I learned coming through on the other side of the tunnel is that the light’s there, it’s not a myth, and it’s worth reaching towards.

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