Mind the Gap. Ira Glass says it best:
There’s a gap between what you want to achieve and what your first attempt produces. The difference between the two is taste. You know what you want to achieve and you know when you haven’t quite done it. Yet. The trick is to keep going.
It’s the sixth month of the year and the edits on my debut novel have taken longer than I thought. In fact, there’s plenty more I want to do. More notes, more facts to check, and a whole document of ‘take-outs’ that I want to sift (again) in case there’s a nugget of gold I can squeeze back in.
It’s the journey of writing a novel and it can be frustrating, agonising, exhausting, but it’s also amazing when I look back and see how far I’ve come. This time last year I had less than 30,000 words. Now I’m working on the second round of edits.
The premise of the story is brave (that’s what people are telling me), and it makes me proud to think I’ve tackled a difficult topic head-on in my naive enthusiasm to just ‘write the damn book’.
My protagonist, Amanda, is at the forefront of my thoughts. She has a mental health condition; her reality shifting and expanding as she navigates the landscape of her mind. I feel like I’m becoming her (maybe I’ve always been her – ‘write what you know’, etc?)
‘Mental Health’ defined: “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being”.
A gap between what is considered normal and what is not.
A gap between what you feel and how you think you should feel.
A gap between what you feel and what society thinks you should feel.
A gap between inner thoughts and outer thoughts (but no gatekeeper).
A gap between you and a faction of gatekeepers keeping you away from yourself: in limbo; reality and fantasy melding in a cold soup of confusion.
But what if that gap is just a case of taste and perception too? What if we redefined (realigned?) our societal guidelines for what is normal and acceptable; what it means to fully experience all that is life?
It’s a thought for now, for our time, a time when we need the most creative and lucid minds to tackle the greatest problems of our age (immigration, terrorism, climate change, guns, crime, melting ice caps, beautiful animals locked – and shot – in cages).
Maybe there’s a gap where the real, progressive conversations should be?
Just throwing it out there.
To quote the World Health Organisation on Mental Health:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
I’ll get back to my edits now.