Posted in advice, artist life, change, fear, goals, honesty, hope, inspiration, living life, self help, writing

it’s no use going back to before 2020, because I was a different person then

You know the the story: a hero goes to rescue someone from a dangerous land, and they are told one explicit rule to follow: don’t look back.
So, of course, they look back.

Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld Painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot 1861

Orpheus rescues Eurydice from the dead but looks back and she vanishes forever.
Lot’s wife (unnamed, so let’s call her Lottie why not?) looks back on the doomed town she is fleeing and turns to salt.
And so many other parallel myths from the Japanese, Mayan, Indian and Sumerian legends.

Well that is how a lot of us are probably relating to this calendar year called 2020.
Move on and don’t ever talk about it again, right?
Or at least we all agree this is the botched timeline borne from time travel hijinks right?

Let me ask something outrageous:  Continue reading “it’s no use going back to before 2020, because I was a different person then”

Posted in about archie, artist life, depression, fear, honesty, inspiration, living life, mental health, practice, self-care, writing, writing community, writing help

when archie writes – writing depressed af

I think I’ve only spent about ten percent of my energies on writing…
The other ninety percent went to keeping my head above water.

Katherine Anne Porter

I have already answered why, as well as where, so let me unpack when I write.

I write when not too worn out by my mental illness.
I write when my chronic depression isn’t so overwhelming that I struggle to function.
I write when I can, in irregular spurts, writing through and in spite of my sickness.

I’ve struggled since early youth with depression.
I remember as early as middle-school feeling at specific times especially anti-social and mournful, without any clear reason or cause. Highschool was a hostile environment for me where I felt plagued by insecurities, actively seeking out bathroom stalls and library cubbies to hide day after day. University saw me continue to try unsuccessfully to cope with self-harming as well as self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

It was easy in my adolescence to dismiss these spells of moody ’emo’ sadness as just stereotypical teenage angst. In my twenties, however, with my depression still undiagnosed, I felt ashamed for failing to have moved past an ‘infantile’ stage of dramatic mood swings.

Not until after completing a Master’s program, surviving a series of mental breaks and acute depressive episodes, was I hospitalized and finally diagnosed. It came as a surprise that I was actually so relieved to have a name, clinical depression, to explain these problems weren’t an inherent defect of my person but symptoms of an illness.
Suddenly a light switched on for me to see that help through medication and therapy were not character weaknesses but necessary choices for my survival, demonstrations of courage in the face of social stigma.

Soon after I became a writer.

Before committing to writing as a career,
make sure you’re not simply agoraphobic or depressed.

Nell Zink

Continue reading “when archie writes – writing depressed af”

Posted in advice, artist life, artists, habits, honesty, inspiration, living life, practice, procrastination, writing, writing help

what archie means when they talk about writing [and not writing]

Life is … complicated.
Or perhaps ‘life’ is simple, and it is the ‘living’ of life that complicates things.
Complicates, as in, making things a hellofa lot more stressful and tiresome than needed.
I am skilled at that kind of living, through years of practice.

Yet I am also learning new ways to live, to be me, a writer.

A writer is someone who puts words together, tells stories, creates people and places.
To do that, you need to make the effort of literally writing, whether on paper or screen. Ideally, writing should happen regularly, not only to build the creative muscles but to improve at the craft of words and to also write more than a page per year.

For some time, as I tried to become and live as a writer, I would go through spells of productivity – writing regularly, meeting my goals and making good progress – followed by spells of anti-productivity – actively avoiding my stories, procrastinating with every conceivable excuse and committing increasing energy to feel like a failure for it.

Metronome pendulum scares cat

Always, inevitably, back and forth.
A pendulum of extremes.
Alls-or-nothings.
Blacks-and-whites.
Writing like a true bonafide artist one day, then the next day not writing like a wannabe/has-been artist, scared of seeing my own shadow.

“I put off another day of writing, so clearly I am self-sabotaging and should stop calling myself a writer…”

For SO LONG this was my routine, feeling like a champ for writing today or else feeling like my own worst enemy thwarting my growth as a writer.

When suddenly it occurs to me:
all of it – the writing and the not writing – is the practice.

Tim Gunn gif shocked Continue reading “what archie means when they talk about writing [and not writing]”

Posted in advice, egos, fear, honesty, reality, self-care, zen

starting with the mask in the mirror

Hey hi hello – thanks for clicking!

I’m going to try to keep this post concise – weird, right? – and so I will get right to it…

As a writer, I tend to ponder over how some things in life are so common, so every day, that we can forget how interesting, how unusual, and how influential it is for us.

Matrix sticky mirror

Take the average mirror, once upon a time known as a “looking-glass”.

Continue reading “starting with the mask in the mirror”

Posted in about archie, artist life, artists, hermits, honesty, writing, writing community

where archie writes – hermit hiding in a hobbit hole

In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude.
One must overcome the fear of being alone…

Rollo May

Having answered why I write (and blog and read), allow me to unpack where I write. 

Short answer?
I write outside.
As in, I write on the outsides.
I write as someone who regularly feels out of place, out of touch, out on the fringes – sometimes literally and oftentimes figuratively.

I write there, on the outsides, because that is where I spent most of my life.
Long before becoming a writer, I carried a sense of nervousness and unease that was there inside me wherever I went…
Home, school, church, sleepovers – everywhere I went, there I was.
It was a kind of vague anxious energy that gave me an agitated temperament because I was perpetually in fear-of-missing-out or else afraid of being included – confusing I know, and which was why I could only assume there was some inherent defect within myself.
Only once I began to write did I slowly realize this frustration and discomfort was not something simply to be avoided but could actually be an important part of myself.

Before we get there, though, let’s explore my wonder years some more… Continue reading “where archie writes – hermit hiding in a hobbit hole”

Posted in about archie, addictions, artist life, cannabis, depression, drugs, fear, goals, honesty, inspiration, living life, mental health, self-care, sobriety, writing

sobriety, drugs & writing something real

I hesitated about writing something about this – about drugs and me and my past and my childhood and my mistakes and my addictions and my shame.
I had to consider whether I would be, in a way, exploiting my past to simply have something mildly topical to write about on my blog.
Or for the people who know me in “real life”, do I need to worry about spoiling my reputation to them? Or ruining my image generally by becoming someone who sells embarrassing memories in my head just to get some attention?

Maybe? But also, maybe not…
I have little clue where this blog post will end up, so let’s find the answer together.

The Office focus sentences

Continue reading “sobriety, drugs & writing something real”

Posted in about archie, advice, artist life, artists, change, education, failure, fear, goals, honesty, inspiration, living life, reading, reading list, writing

wasted potential, potentially wasted…

Hi bonjour – welcome back.

Despite sporadic blogging habits, the rest of my offline writing life is progressing well. 

  • I continue to be reading books, including ones that have sat waiting on my reading list for many years and I am also listening to audio-books too (for when I prefer to just hide away under the covers in bed). Currently listening to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and also listening to the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling.
  • I continue to work away at my various stories, though to be honest, less of this is writing and more of it is cleaning and sorting my notes – the mass of jumbled ideas, germs and inklings. Currently, working at my children’s novel series on Animals.
  • I continue to try at keeping myself grounded and present because I find this practice essential for a healthier state of mind necessary to keep making art. Currently, I’m realizing again how important it is to pay attention to the details of my life, to repeatedly will myself to shake off the clouds that would otherwise leave me living in a hazy fog of repetition and boredom and dissatisfaction.

Continue reading “wasted potential, potentially wasted…”

Posted in about archie, advice, artist life, change, failure, fear, honesty, inspiration, living life, procrastination, reality, self help, self-care, writing community

we are afraid of the same thing

I am pretty confident that I can describe your greatest fear.

Not only that, but I can prescribe a formula to squash it flat.
And at no charge either!
(though I’m not responsible either if you fail to squash it right, and then it just becomes agitated and even scarier and haunts you forever, or something like that… okay?)

Okay, but seriously, I probably can describe your greatest fear.

Remember when you were a kid, and you would play games that had this big surprise?
“What Time is it Mister Wolf?”, where “the Wolf” would keep answering your questions with the time 3 o’clock or 12 o’clock or 8 o’clock, until LUNCHTIME!
Scared me every time… I knew it was coming, but still…

Tricycle The Shining

Continue reading “we are afraid of the same thing”

Posted in about archie, advice, artist life, depression, failure, fear, goals, honesty, inspiration, practice, self-care, writing

on fuck-ups, neither the first nor last

Fuck.
I should be writing more. 
Not good – me writing so little.
Not enough words.
No, not enough good words.
I need a break.
Already?
Tired after writing this?
How embarrassing.
This is nowhere near good enough.
Never good enough.
Fuck.
Why do I make this so hard?
That’s what she said.
Fuck.
And I call myself a writer.
This is pathetic.
I am pathetic.
Give up.
Grow up.
Get up.
Go, do something else.
Exercise for once goddamit.
Walk, lift something, hit something.
Do anything but this.
Another bad day for writing.
That’s all.
Yeah.
Another bad day in a long line of them.
How many will it take for me to take a hint?
Fuck.
Maybe if I read more, that would help.
What to read?
Too many choices – so little time.
Will this inspire me, or discourage me?
No, my time needs to be spent writing, not reading.
So I need to find more time then.
Need to cut out more of my social life.
What social life?
Cut back on my leisure activities, maybe.
So I can become another worker drone?
More writing, less working.
Gotta quit my day job.
Working too much.
Need to work less, write more.
Simple as that.
But need money to live.
And I call this living?
Pathetic.
Fuck.

Continue reading “on fuck-ups, neither the first nor last”

Posted in about archie, depression, failure, fear, free writing, honesty, writing

a terribly fucking honest post

I want to write well – every sentence and every story.

Well written – not as some mythological fantasy of perfect grammar syntax – but more along the lines of producing something truly unique, words that are carefully chosen because they speak power to my experience, a series of prose un-apologetically raw and unfiltered, escaping the usual boxes that seek to repress communication, unencumbered by familiar shortcomings that so often define our participation in Life.

I want to write honestly – even if only a sentence today. 

Which is why I am throwing all caution to the wind and willy-nilly posting whatever I write below…

To me, honesty is rarest when it concerns difficult situations, to those realities that intimidate and scare us, so much that we are ashamed of our fear and then live whole lives trying to evade its truth.

We hide in carefully constructed beliefs that keep us distracted and busy-minded, too tired and too guarded to really stop and pay attention to the burdens we all carry.

I want to write simply – resisting the temptation to hide my truths in long-winded sentences as some last-ditch effort to avoid this uncomfortable vulnerability.

So with aforementioned simplicity and honesty, I will share some of my feelings with you, Reader, in hopes that I can become more comfortable in communicating my humanity to the world, and in the process continue to learn how to write well.

I am free-writing this, so as little censoring as possible, and will seriously try not to edit any of it afterwards either.

3…

2…

1…

Continue reading “a terribly fucking honest post”