Louise Gornall, the total rock and rollin’ author of ‘Under Rose-Tainted Skies’, talks about writing, getting rejected, and living with a mind that can erupt like “like the Vine of a billion baby spiders.”
Real talk? This story gets rough, before it gets better. But it does get better.
Let me set the scene, it’s a Monday morning, grey, and freezing cold outside. Christmas is approaching at breakneck speed, and I am sat at my computer, waiting for an update on a manuscript my agent and I were subbing to editors — had been subbing to editors for almost 12 months. Nine rejections in, and I was waiting on one more response. My best friend and I had just had this huge fight, I-never-want-to-speak-to-you-again type stuff, and I was scrolling through Facebook, looking at pictures of people from my past shopping at Christmas markets, visiting Santa’s grotto, going to Christmas parties. It was on my Twitter feed too; people living life.
I made the mistake of pinning all my hopes on this one manuscript being sold because that, I thought, that would give me purpose, make me feel like I’m contributing, give me something to Facebook about that wasn’t a regurgitated joke or a stab at irony. So when that last sub came back as a rejection, I shattered. Completely.
Control is something that I need to function. I need to know the plan or my brain bursts with ideas. Not good ideas, not necessarily bad ideas, but there are hundreds of them, and they spew out, you know like the Vine of a billion baby spiders? It’s like that. A torrent, and I start to drown. Literally. I can’t breathe. I can’t hear. I can’t see. It’s just one massive wave of whatdowedonowhowdowefixthiswhatdowedonowhowdowefixthiswhatdowedonow?!
That’s the decision I make as I succumb to an anxiety attack, because, as always, my exhausted mind wants to find the safest place possible, and at the time, the safest place was a million miles away from publishing. I’m not going to be a writer anymore because my ridiculous head, with its overwhelming strength, and simultaneous fragility, can’t handle it.
It can’t handle anything. It can’t handle relationships. It can’t handle friendships. It can’t handle fear. It can’t handle life!
(Something happens then, something that I’m embarrassed about, and I’m reluctant to share, but I will because I’m learning that in mental health, honesty saves lives, and no matter how obscure I think my shizz is, someone else has experienced it too.)
I take to my computer, and start writing down how miserable I am. How miserable my life is. How hard it is to watch life happen for other people. Then I put it away, and don’t think anything of it, until about a week later, when I’m cleaning up my desktop. I mean to delete it, but as I start reading, I start editing; that bit isn’t right. That bit should go here. That didn’t happen until after…
As I edit, this piece of writing grows. And as it grows, I start to see how hard I have to fight my head daily. Just the smallest thing; accomplishing, overcoming. And that is all relative to someone who lives like me. It’s important, because I’m not just rotting away. I’m being proactive, I’m working my butt off to feel better. I just lost sight of that for a second. I write more and more, because seeing all this, as a whole, makes me feel good and banishes the idea that I’m useless.
I decided to share the end result for a few reasons, the first is because the mental health naysayers were driving me bonkers, talking about curing folks with a healthy diet and a pair of running shoes. Purleassssssse! At what point during my panic attack would you like me to knock up a salad? There’s about a two minute window before I pass out. Secondly; you guys! Not necessarily you, reading this right now, but maybe. See, if Norah can help just one person feel better about their mental health, or at least feel less alone, then this whole thing, everything, was totally worth it.
Right on, it is! You can get your copy of ‘Under Rose-Tainted Skies’ right here, yo!
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