Saturday, April 05, 2008

"The Anxiety of Nothingness"

What could possibly ever be scary about writing, painting, the blank page, etc? Rollo May, author of The Courage to Create, says it's fear of going into the chaotic unknown.

“This is what the existentialists call the anxiety of nothingness." (quote from La Bloga, a litblog about Chicana/Chicano writers.

My feeling is that it's not necessarily because of the fear of confronting nothing; it's also because of the snakes and spiders one might find.

The novel I'm working on--particularly intensely yesterday--will likely be considered by some to be a rather nasty book. It has some scenes that might be called hard-core.

Why have I written this? I don't altogether know. But I can say that it's a combo of calling and desire and some weird feeling of inevitability, karma or dharma. (I also think it's a damn good book, hope it will appeal to fans of the superb literary and erotic writer Susanna Moore, among others.)

Some years ago, I made a promise to myself to write what emerged from my depths, however strange. I'm doing it, and watching the process with curiousity, defiance, uneasiness, pride, puzzlement, and gusto.

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mamie said...

After that post, I'm waiting for the new novel with "curiousity, puzzlement, and gusto." Pride, defiance, and uneasiness I will leave to you. Keep working--your readers await!

Peggy Payne said...

Thanks, Mamie. It's wonderful when the process takes me to a gusto phase.

I wish I could call that up on demand. Now that I think about it, probably any of us could do that at least some of the time with use of hypnotic cues. I'm going to give this some more thought.

Stuff I write about here so often comes back to me with an interesting new spin that takes me somewhere new.

I appreciate your comment.

Debra w said...


Good for you! Be true to what comes up from your greatest of depths. That is where the best stuff resides, snakes, spiders and all.

Don't stop yourself from writing what comes from scary places. You may have some mixed feelings about this, but I cannot wait to read what evolves.


Peggy Payne said...

I'm doing something new this go-round, Debbie. I'm letting it sit for maybe a couple of months before sending it back to my agent. To see if I have any new perspective. I'm going to have to come up with some kind of self-reward for doing this. Because it's so hard to override the impatience to get it into the mail.

Debra w said...


I am all for self-rewarding! You will earn a very special one if you can let this sit for a couple of months before sending it off to your agent. I fully understand your overwhelming need to get this into the mail, but I admire you for allowing it to simmer, for a bit. Is there something that you can accumulate by the day, which will encourage you to wait for a longer period of time?


Peggy said...

Great! idea: the reward compounding daily. I love that, and will come up with something.