|Posted on May 7, 2017 at 1:00 AM|
... dear friends. Or so the former unto the breach quote goes. Welcome! Welcome back friends, relatives, colleagues, and future mental health advocates. Welcome. This update is brought to you by the hard working advocate, myself, and there is light at the end of this tunnel for I have an encouraging update to offer.
I am almost done with the story project, "Just Before the Dawn"©. At the end of April, I had finished the fifth slated short story in the six-story series. After the NAMI "Find Your Voice" Recovery Conference on April 20th, I hit a nasty bit of writer's block that kept me from even finishing the final story's first chapter. In fact, I have even since changed the story's name too. Well, the week after the Conference I set out to do a new type of writing that I cannot yet give information on. But if it holds out, when I do have the official information to update it should prove to be exciting indeed.
Which brings us up to this past week. I do want to get this project finished as soon as possible but without rushing the time and effort I need for the more formal fictional story writing. I also had looked back to the second story I had written, and last story I posted publicly, only to find that I mistakenly wrote in semi-non-fictional elements that I strongly felt needed removed. So, figuring this change of direction would help my sixth story I diverted my efforts to the revisions instead.
"To Have Loved & Lost"©, originally written and posted between December 9th and 14th, 2016, included state names, city names, racial identifiers, and nationality details I have excluded from my other four written stories. I realized I must have written it partially non-fictional (based on truth) and partially the intended fictional (inspired by truth) styles because I was writing it while blog writing at the same time. I clarified fiction versus non-fiction because I frequently get them mixed up. So, mentioning them both together I wanted to help all of you out. I discovered by January of this year that it was too difficult for me to write informal blog posts and formal, higher quality story writing which is why I stopped until late February when I stopped blog posting every day.
In order for this second story to be on the same level of anonymity and quality, I decided it would be easier to pursue revising it now while I try to resolve the writer's block since the end of April. The gamble worked and in two ways. I hammered through the revisions of "To Have Loved & Lost"© in less than a week, and just because it went so easily doesn't mean I revised less. I rewrote a decent amount of Part 6 as well as adding much smoother effort into the rest of the story.
While I accomplished that, finishing the revisions early yesterday morning, I also was fortunate to figure out what direction to take the final sixth story. These changes began with a new name, entitled "In Love & Fear"©, and still stars Rob Ilbay and Danielle "Dani" McGlynn as the main characters. What also changed was to add Rob being a volunteer fire fighter. Particularly in our region of central Pennsylvania, and perhaps others throughout the nation, there has been a worrisome shortage of volunteer fire fighters. I will include this issue as one of the underlying themes of the new story. But not just that.
I also read an article online right after the April 20th Conference in which a twentysomething guy had committed suicide because the anxiety and stressors from firefighting took their toll on him. His parents included much of the perspective, speaking on behalf of their son of course, and how he seemed completely fine but was really bottling up his turmoil while growing weaker on the inside to look strong to his peers and family. Ultimately, the poor guy took his life. A few of the details about him, which I will not mention his name, will be woven into the character Rob Ilbay. He will face similar challenges when being unable to save someone from a tremendous fire, and how that brings out a strong outburst of anxiety he didn't know he suffered from: intrusive thought.
How this will all come together is yet to be seen, but as of today I will finally begin slaving away at this final story. I know I have been guestimating an approximate time frame to be done with the writing, but actually doing it takes longer. For sure this time I expect to return to regular blogging by early or mid-June, barring occupational opportunities that come up. Have no fear, I will still be here.
On an even better note, in case you have not already heard this month is Mental Health Awareness Month. And on May 24th here locally, I will be one of I believe only four people chosen to speak about our personal experiences with mental illness issues. The planning continues to move forward and I cannot wait to give that speech. It will be the first time I have ever spoken publicly to a captive audience about my mental health. Yes, first time ever. I'll be killing a second bird with that stone by not being too keen to speak publicly in front of more than a handful of people. Not to worry. I have the utmost confidence and passion that I will do very well.
Between us, the eight and a half minute two-page speech I have written is sure to give much of those in attendance the goosebumps. Although, because I intend it for a live audience I will not be posting the speech here or anywhere else to be made public. So, if you are in the region of Blair County Pennsylvania, be sure to come to the "May Is Mental Health Month" Conference on May 24th. It is free and no registration is required. While I would really really wish that the entire county could attend, I should be modest and pace myself. I will reach many more people to inspire. Just not all at once.
When I manage to get "Just Before the Dawn"© published for sale, I already anticipate giving speeches related to that and the stories therein as well. I am also inquiring to return to suicide awareness and prevention initiatives in this area in a very strong way. So when September comes around, I hope to be a point of contention and loud voice of support at the local Out Of The Darkness Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. All great stuff, so stay tuned.