Thursday, 23 June 2011

Casting out demons

Are you possessed by a demon? I am. I've pleaded with it, but the demon is real. This is a conversation that I can't even have with my family in Holy Catholic Ireland as any such topic is too close to exorcism, spinning heads and deep-seated religious beliefs (my wife read this far and ran off - she has to go and work in the lab tonight when it's dark and can't countenance any scary talk).

I've been fighting possession in recent weeks. Repossession. Well, as it's not exactly the same demon as on previous occasions, I could call it a new instance, but the symptoms are similar to previous manifestations:
  • The demon sows subconscious seeds of self-doubt (and alliteration) during daylight and then germinates them in the dark when my body and soul can't flee the menace.
  • Enemies are named in nocturnal whispers, diabolical revenge is demanded and I wake convinced of the justice of combat. My fists ache from the clench around imagined throats.
  • There are no daytime voices, what I hear is my own inner voice. It tells me to crush, kill, destroy, and move on.
  • I drive for hours across the land, stalking my victims. They gather unwittingly in a place of sanctuary and are easily cornered.
  • There's one way in and out of the ivory tower. I lock the door and savour their innocent screams. For they are the meek and my mission is to convert or eradicate.

It doesn't stop there. My blood is up. I race across the Irish countryside back to my haunt, scattering juggernauts, bushwacking granddads and trouncing tractors.

The family suffers on my return. Their very breathing is an irritation. Some night soon the demon will add them to the enemy list. I recline on the sofa, consume alcohol, order and eat takeaway, and recount my evil on Twitter, facebook and blog.

So, where is the time and energy in all this demon-driven day to write, to complete my chilling psycho-thriller? (Wherein a psycho-killer is possessed by demons etc, not like true life at all.)
Answer - there is no time. There is no writing. It stops while the demon consumes my soul.

There has to be a way to loosen the demon's grip. A possessive, obsessive, destructive force in my author's life. It takes time and there's no one-size solution, but this demon is going to go the way of the others. I won't be able to eliminate or eradicate until it wants to go, but I can work on limiting the dementia. The night visitations are beyond my control but I know they will fade.

I have to do some possession myself - to take possession of the time from waking to work, the time from the last meeting of the day until sleep takes me. I will cast aside all waking thought of the day job outside work hours, give myself free thinking time at lunch, listen to and interact lovingly with my family. Oh, and plan quality writing time. Early in the mornings, perhaps a spot during the lunchbreak. This possessive evil will turn to dust, like all the other times. Ruby Barnes will prevail over this peril, for I am an author and, to remain one, I must dominate the day job demon.

Note: a new day job demon occurs every three years or so, but this one took four to arrive. Suppression by the author is typically achieved within three months, depending on the season.


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  1. Cute! Really cute little story about a story...that never was a story nor will be if you don't prevail ;-)

    I'm not doing Nanowrimo this year (got 3 books in process, one due out Dec 31st and hoping just to do that much!) but it sounds like you're planning or hoping to, yes? Good luck if you are!

    The best thing you can do is to THINK about writing while you're doing the day job labors. Then when you next find time to write, you'll already know what you want to put down. It helps save your soul anyway (*wink*)

  2. @Webbiegrrl Writer - that's absolutely the point. I did prevail, this time I was lucky that the demon was weak.

    No, I don't intend to do Nanowrimo as The Baptist is due out this week and I have to get the word out.

    I agree with thinking about writing during the brain-free labours of the day. Driving is a good time for me to do that, in the car a lot around Ireland.