Something, anything, is vital to distract from the depression that overwhelms me when I finish a manuscript. The end of 6 months of intense concentration, 6 months of living and breathing and dreaming the story arrives and although I know the condition and try to be careful, this time, more than most, I am shattered.
When writing a series the characters stay with you. They change, they develop, in the way friendships do. So saying farewell, even to characters that appear for just one book, hurts. Killing anyone off, even a baddie, hurts.
On this new book, The Low Road, writing the penultimate chapter, work that would normally take 3 or 4 days, took two weeks; not because I didn't know how it would all end, but because I couldn't bring myself to go there, to be there, in that place, in that scene. Dredging up the images was vivid and real and terrifying. I was crying as I typed, tears dropping into the keyboard. And I am the person who creates this. So how come?
When I hit the send button and the script left for the USA, the first two days were exhilarating. There comes a huge sense of "I've done it!" Then came the loss. Loss of routine. Loss of daily conversations with my dear friends on the Highland Gazette, friends from the town, the glens, friends met, friends yet to meet. The song says "The hills are alive..." For me, the glens are alive. Alive with stories.
This all coincided with the loss of real friends - or perhaps not. Certainly the loss of an old friendship. But if a friend cannot understand how fragile one is when writing, how temporarily neglectful of friends in the realm of this world, then there is nothing I can explain. Conversations with other writers, with artists, with composers, reminds me that this is the price one sometimes pays.
I understand Virginia Woolf. The idea of walking into a river seems an option.
But thankfully, with a huge mental effort, and the love of real friends, it dissipates.
So with love, and meditation, and massage, and sleep, you slowly recover.
Until next time.
Aa' the best.