The Dastardly Doldrums

The chair swivels despondently from side to side while the sky crackles with repressed fury. The imaginary crowd begs for succor, but I, in my eternal and unceasing selfishness glare out my hatred from the depths of this high-backed chair. I refuse them their boon for I have words to spout and they must needs listen.

I wish today to discuss moods and how they bleed into my writing. This morn I awoke dazed and disoriented and en route to my morning ablutions I stubbed many a toe. Loud was the cursing and wailing of pain. Dreams of uncertain provenance haunted my rest. In short I have entered into a foul mood, or as I call them, the dastardly doldrums.

“Fear not my loyal subjects,” I say while putting on a brave face and flailing my arms about in what I think is a reassuring manner.

The crowd is far from reassured as the skies release their precious cargo. The whip-crack of peeling thunder deafens momentarily and the flash of lightning that follows doth blind many an imaginary person. I stare balefully at the clouds for a moment and make a shooing gesture. They retreat like whipped curs.

My heckler steps forth once more to make me see the light of reason. She says, “Oh snap out of it you big, whiny baby.”

“Nay, I will not,” I cry in a petulant voice.

For I have a reason and use for foul moods. I’ve discovered over the course of my writing career that these dastardly doldrums have some beneficial side effects. You will not find them on the label of any pill bottle nor during the thirty seconds at the end of a commercial where announcer tries to simultaneously whisper yet rush through a list of horrible side effects.

I find that when I’m in a bad mood it tends to slip into my writing (in a good way though). My writing style changes a little and becomes more epic (if that were possible). Characters start possessing hidden motives and tend to be broody, angry bastards. Descriptive words flourish with reckless abandon as the clouds of the mind transform into storm clouds in setting.

It is during these times that I rush to set pen to paper or finger to keyboard. I love my writing style in these dark times. Ultimately that love for my writing (I swear my ego is actually small) begins dragging me from the depths of despondency and once more into the cheery self that usually faces the world. If I do get mired in these doldrums I just picture a bear in a top hat (it works like a charm).

So I fear not the foul mood but rather accept it as the catalyst for writing it is for me. Not that I’m some grotesque human that revels in his anger and rage, but I’ve realized to see the silver lining in these things. As one of my favorite characters frequently says “You have to be realistic.”

 


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