Thursday, October 31, 2013

M is for Mad

M is for Mad.
Let's blow the dust off a dictionary and flip to the definitions...yes, that was plural. Definitions, with an S. If each one is a symptom of Mad then I've acquired an acute and lethal case.

Disordered in the mind
Insane, would be a more economical description - which is impossible. It's not like I mumble to myself daily (I keep it to a few days, tops). I may, or may not, pretend to be a girl in love one moment or a psychopath villain the next. That's not insanity. It's writing... I admit, it's utter madness.

Completely unrestrained by reason and judgment. 
This doesn't mean I need a strait-jacket, white walls and an eternal prozac prescription. It just means I'm part of the exclusive club of Rejected Writer's Club who continue querying and editing despite the harsh judgment of agents. Why? Because I'm also a part of the Supported Writers Club, where agents have critiqued and patted my head fondly before sending me back to my computer. 

Carried away by intense anger.  
This stupid word doesn't even come close to describing my red-faced, fists clenched, and murderous stare when a certain someone deletes a chapter. That certain someone was barely forgiven. Barely.

Incapable of being explained or accounted for. 
"Are you even listening?" Is the question most often asked when I've temporarily lost the ability to hear. It happens when a tempting window becomes a perfect beacon for daydreaming. "What are you thinking?" Is the second best question but pride ties my tongue. There's only so many times a day I can admit to thinking about my characters. Besides, obsessive starts with an 'O', that's not for two more letters.

Intensely excited, carried away by enthusiasm or desire. Or marked by wild gaiety and merriment. 
 I am ecstatic when I've written a few thousand words, but I'm excited when those words are actually good. But I'm mad with delirium when the polish of editing births beautiful sentences.
It's a distinctive feeling. Thankfully, a familiar one at that. It's  the moment I run a difficult marathon and glance back to the mountain I've just conquered. It's a mixture of fear and respect - for both the opponent and myself. It's a feeling, I hope one day will burn within me the moment the publisher's purchase agreement is wet with my signature.

Am I mad? Absolutely. 
Is it madness to continue to write and hone a craft that is already dripping with saturated talent? Of course. But I hope my children are infected with this madness, this disease of shoving caution out the door and packing the bags for reason and judgement. I want them to snatch the hand of mad and become intimate friends. To commit to living this life in its fulness. 

Mad, my dear, I adore you. 
Because of you I married a man weeks after knowing him. Don't forget about the forty minute play we wrote for my six grade class. Or breaking a colt in the forgotten back hills two states away from home - as a teenager to boot.

How about the time we jumped on a plane to New York City and pitched to thirty agents. That was almost as crazy as writing the blasted book.

To all my mad men and women, don't ever abandon your Mad.

2 comments:

Joan Raymond said...

Great post. I see we are in great company - let the madness continue.

Everything you mentioned is so true, and I love the line: "Besides, obsessive starts with an 'O', that's not for two more letters."

It's that mad drive that keeps us writing and thinking of what's next.

Davyd Morris said...

It's a Mad, mad world, isn't it? Thirty agents? Wow. I never thought there'd be so many.

My inquiring mind needs to know: who is the certain someone who accidentally deleted a chapter (and will they ever find his/her body?)
;)