The Ashy-Blood Night Mist

Some days, such as today, everything’s good and then something happens.

I have a fantastic egg & bacon sandwich, and then pizza, and then a little gin (but not too much). My wife and I watch a terrific movie I’ve been meaning to see for ages (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang). We compile a 150+ song playlist for a 30+ person party we’re having next weekend. And the last five days were very productive, so my relaxation feels deserved.

And then it’s 10:30 P.M. and who the hell knows. Maybe a neuron misfires. Maybe my ghost starts haunting itself. But a peculiar ashy-blood night mist descends, and it’s as if some inexplicable sadness is waking me up instead of depressing me. It’s like being sentimentally buzzed without being alcoholically buzzed.

I’m creatively minded in this state. It’s a state I’ve known since, oh, I was a moody teenager or maybe even earlier, and it’s possibly the #1 reason I write fiction. It’s not a bad state to be in, but it’s not summery glad beachtime, either.

When the ashy-blood night mist descends upon me, I often respond…

  1. Defensively
  2. Wholeheartedly

…by making stuff up and writing it down. When I do this well, the stuff is emotionally true, even if it’s unrealistic on the surface. I go into a semi-dream state, in other words, where the night mist not only makes strange emotional sense, but allows me to see and feel things I can’t experience in happier, more quotidian hours.

The ashy-blood night mist doesn’t come only at night. Some days I actually need to summon it in order to write, which means my average day is oddly tinted and there’s probably something a little off about me.

The upside is that I’d be way worse off without writing, because the mist would probably have dissolved me like emotional acid long ago, and God only knows if I’d even exist as a functional human being right now.

In My Own Little World

I’m an outgoing person, often comically so. But sometimes my personality inverts, and my thoughts and emotions flow in instead of out.

I talk less. I get secretive. Instead of contacting friends, I quietly retreat and hope I won’t hurt anyone’s feelings with silence or guarded answers.

It isn’t the same as shutting down or numbing off, and it isn’t necessarily depressive. I can’t always anticipate or make sense of the inversion, but I’ve noticed it coincides with my creative cycles.

No big mystery, I suppose, that I withdraw into myself during strong bursts of writing (and not blogging, mind you, but deeper writing I won’t share with anyone for seasons or years). What I wonder is if the creative introspection triggers my withdrawal from people, or if the withdrawal leads — in some desperate, lonely, sadly glowing way — to creativity as a cure.