Uncertain's picture

None of what you are about to read is real; all is imagined.


I went to the Annual General Meeting for an organisation lobbying for the legalisation of gay marriage on Tuesday. I almost ran for their treasurer, but I really just don't have the time. I am kind of regretting it now, I think I'm becoming a compulsive workaholic; I keep wanting to take things on, it creates an illusion of importance, a facade of me actually meaning something to someone. An amorphous construction of self approval.

Received my essay back, the grade was the second highest in the class, but I wasn't ecstatic, or happy, or even content. I just felt blank. I felt like nothing in this world really matters, just a somebody in nowhere.

My ex-business-partners are launching quite successfully. This has launched me into some sort of mild anxiety-depression. I am happy for them because they are still my friends, and they are always someone I can fall back on, no reason to create antagonism. It's also my fault for taking so much on - that's fine. Their success is not to my detriment. I just have a chronic fear that I won't be successful in life, that I will never be able to make enough money, that I will be a pathetic person in a pathetic place.

I am so in denial. I feel like I am moving on, the wound is not healing, but I've managed to hide it quite well that I forget it sometimes - so well hidden that I don't even feel it when I go searching for it in some sort of sadistic reaffirmation of my ability to feel, to feel like something meant something to me once. I have been performing my work, fulfilling my obligations, studying enough, socialising-laughing, like some sort of obsessive-schedule that ensures I have no time to think-think-think about him. Sometimes I do, but when I feel, really it's a heavy pain that I transform into a subtle frown, and no one notices, and then it passes, and life goes on.

Beyond this, I have been avoiding my friends beyond the necessary and compulsive amount of required, scheduled, socialising. I feel awkward around them. I'm in this weird-depressed-awkward-sensitive-pained state which I cannot snap out of. If I socialise too much, or so much as be too careless and socialise in the capacity of myself instead of all those other positions and personalities I have - then I'm not me to them, I'm not even me to myself, I'm just a thing which is hollow, all pretend. I've slipped a few times in the past few days, not enough to really matter, but it makes me want to withdrawal away indefinitely, yet when I'm alone I want all the attention in the world, if not his, but to sought the latter out would be the most self-mutiliating thing I could do to myself that would ultimately destroy what functional remains I managed to piece together of myself. Ideation is never the same as what really happens; one is instant and can be recalled and lived, the other is a process, with all its details and deficiencies.

I will stop taking things. No more xanax to calm down the hysterical crying, standing-sobbing in the shower head-against-the-wall hopelessness. No more ritalin-induced late night studies, no more alcohol-binging until I wake up in my bed from a blissful coma, with memories shattered on the floor. No more speed-induced dancing, anorexic-dancing, despite all the colour and love I feel; beauty, good bye. No more joy from the ecstasy, dancing, all the deep connection making its roots, all the realisation of god in the small things that whispers to me my miniscule existence in this world can still be beautiful, good bye. No more amitriptyline to knock me out so I can run away from the heart-wrenching-soul-sucking-chest-stabbing-fucked-up pain, and no more prednisone to bring me back to life again. Good bye.


All is fiction and fantasy, none of that is true - this is just a story about a boy becoming a man, who is lost and volatile, who has good intentions but broken because he is too weak. Wanting to grasp onto something permanent in a world that doesn't seem to have any meaning, reaching for something that he lost forever; he dreams and he despairs.


jeff's picture


As this is fiction, in a normal fictional narrative, this is a great starting point.

Your protagonist is broken down, questioning his existence, and on the brink of despair. An excellent place to start a story.

We feel the pain, but through it, we also see his narrative arc:
- He is someone juggling huge things, and making choices
- He has chosen his own path, leaving an easy business opportunity for his own truer purpose
- He is out to achieve great things. Doing well comes naturally to him, or is a lot of work, but standard
- Despite being at the top, he has the same fear of success and his future that everyone shares. (This is good to make him empathetic and pull the readers in, so that even if we're nowhere near as successful as he'll be, we can still relate)
- He sees in extremes, he will be successful and happy or pathetic and miserable.
- He has friends, but rather than turn to them, break down, be messy and potentially nurtured, he instead carries his pain quietly and numbly.
- There was a love... is a love. But the wound is still fresh, painful.
- He has been using drugs to dull things for a while, but is deciding it is time to live with reality, feel the ache, and heal.

This is a classic setup for a great work of fiction. I already feel a great affinity and empathy with your protagonist. A lot of times, the setup is that someone needs to tear down their "real life" to live their "authentic life," where the authentic life is something to be discovered, nurtured, etc., and you have a taste of that. But there is also the notion that you are tearing down the scaffolding and breaking away a facade and the real life is already there inside.

I mean, the elements are already there, so you can see how the story might develop:

- He is important, and able to affect major things in society.
- He is surrounded by smart friends in the business world
- He is poised to achieve a lot
- He can begin to rebuild from his past relationship
- He can open up more to people and let them see his authentic reality
- He can find, in the depths of his questioning, despair, and schadenfreude the spark of a new love

And, by the end of the book, not to make it too cliche, but he should be able to look in the mirror, and realize how special, beautiful, unique, vulnerable, and deserving of love he really is, and get to a place where he wonders how he ever doubted he was worthy of a life filled with love and beauty.

So, yeah, keep developing this story. i think you have something there.

Oh fuck, I broke my rule about critiquing fiction on here!

"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (