back home and still processing

Many of you know why I was out of the country for the past week.  If not, you can read a rundown of it here.

I’ve been back since Friday and am still in the process of…well, processing.

Sure, there was culture shock. But beyond that there was just shock. Every kind of shock imaginable. At one point Wednesday afternoon, there was a span of about three hours where I was both physically and emotionally drained for the first time in my life.  I literally felt empty.

There were times when I felt like, while my intentions were good for being there, it was pointless in that it was for such a short time. Just another group of white people that visit for a while, show some love and then leave.  Now, back home, I’m struggling to find the reason and significance in things.  What’s the point in stocking the refrigerator after a $150 grocery trip? What’s the point in returning to a job that is creatively stifling and emotionally unrewarding?

At the risk of sounding cliched, the four days I spent in Nicaragua effectively changed my life.  As I continue to process things, I am finding that much of it was for the good.  I am also discovering that there are things I want to change about myself.

This might mean my writing will change. Maybe this blog will be shut down and be reborn under another style and title. Maybe the posts I’ve recently written on the monotony of much modern horror will be involved in it all. Maybe this sense of unbalance I’ve felt about the direction my writing and overall career path will finally shift one way or another.

I don’t know yet.

For now, as I said, I am still processing.  Some of it is being sorted out through writing, which is a good thing.  This makes me happy because as I was there in the moment and tried to write about my experiences on paper, the words would not come.  They did not come because there were no proper words at first. My mind and heart drew a blank.  There were simply no words.

But the words are slowly taking shape and sorting themselves out like kids rummaging through the box of a jigsaw puzzle.  And soon, maybe I’ll share a few.  I have several stories and pictures to share with whoever wants to listen but for now, it’s too close to me.

Until then…still processing.

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3 comments

  1. I’m glad you are back okay, and I’m sorry you feel so depressed. I can only offer a couple of things that I hope will help.
    Everything that you have seen is not your fault (I know you know this but it’s still important to remember).

    Now you are aware of this situation there may be things you want to do, but these will not always be in the scope of things you can do, therefore I recommend you take your time, do a lot of talking with your family and friends and a great deal of thinking before deciding anything.

    Most importantly, you should remember this. Many people are going through terrible suffering in this world as you read this, more than we can ever imagine but this does not mean that you have no right to happiness. You can only do what you can do. You can try to ensure your family never have to face such circumstances, maybe put some money aside for charity (if you can spare it) and try to inform people when you can.
    What will giving up your job achieve except to put your family one step closer to poverty? Its not as if you were a single man with no commitments. You can do more good from a position of security.

    As for your work, you have no need to change genre or move away from fiction or anything else drastic like that; but what you can do is use your experiences (as I am certain you always have done) to inform your work and give it a more powerful reality. Remember, there is not much of an audience for documentary writing about women and children forced into prostitution, but there is a massive audience for Horror stories. If those stories happen to have characters who’s backgrounds mirror the things you learned about these people, then you will bring their true stories to many more people, from within your fiction, especially if you add acknowledgement in the intro or where ever.

    If you want to talk, you know how to contact me.

    Keith

  2. Whatever the direction your writing takes, it will always be secondary to the experience. I’ve never been to Nicaragua–or outside the country for that matter–but there are certain events–life events–which grab you by the heart and hand and lead you in a different direction and for the better. They leave you, as you have rightfully noted, speechless and unable to properly give description to. As a writer, you find there is no word or combination of words that can define the experience. For me, that was the morning my father died. Hearing the machines beep, holding his hand, watching his chest rise and fall at such a rapid pace it was like he would, physically, burst wide open. I’ve never come to grips with that day, despite the time. Some things you never do. Some things you see, in life, just do that. It makes you question your place and where you are and where you are headed. How can you go back to the way things are when what you have witnessed has forever changed that perspective. The best you can do is try to give a voice to it, to make others aware. Maybe that will come tomorrow, maybe in a week, maybe three/four years down the road when you have finally processed the information and can rightfully give it its own lungs and throat to breathe and speak. Regardless, your trip, going there, is commendable. You may not think so–it only being a week–but to someone there, some child or young girl or mother, that week will translate to a lifetime.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys.

    I think maybe I came off a bit too dramatic. Don’t worry Keith…I’m not going to stop writing horror (well…it may be swerved a bit) and not going to quit my job on a whim. I was just using those as tangible examples.

    I’m sure I’ll write more about it as time goes by. As the words come, if you will…

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