Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Are writers more susceptible to depression?

I don't know, especially when you hear about the depression of people like Stephen King or Hemingway. As if everybody else doesn't have depression problems.

I have bouts of depression from time to time. Like today, I was incredibly depressed. The difference for me is that I know it whenever I'm depressed. I just can't help it. Fortunately, my depression is mild by any standards and it goes away after a couple of days. I can always see a pattern:

  • on the outset, I become increasing antisocial, moody and distracted
  • I don't have any creativity; my writing is blocked
  • I start to become anxious about a lot of things, and somewhat restless, walking on eggshells, like everything I say might be offensive to someone. I worry about what people think
  • I sleep a lot
  • during the height of the depression, I don't want to get out of bed

The good news is, when I get to the last stage, usually it means I am close to a breakthrough, a rebound. Like now. I'm able to snap myself out of the depression, get out of bed, take a shower, and feel much better about myself. I also find that, from experience, the deepest of my depression usually comes at about 4 a.m. or 4 p.m. Don't ask me why.

I'm one of the lucky ones, I suppose. A lot of people are stuck in their depression. They either don't know they're depressed, or they can't "snap" themselves out of their depression. A lot of people use drugs to help them, from prescription drugs such as Prozac or Paxil, to recreational drugs such as alcohol, nicotine or coke. Fortunately, I know so much about my own patterns that I don't need drugs, and I'm also capable of snapping myself out of it. I just need to go through the motions, and let it stew for a while.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Atlanta Nights

Here's a good book for you if you need some "interesting" reading material for your Spring Break or summer vacation:

Atlanta Nights

A group of published and unpublished SF authors got together earlier this year to target the myth that PublishAmerica was a "tradtional" publisher as they claimed. Lead by author James MacDonald, the group of writers concocted a full-length novel by each writing a chapter or two without collaborating with the other writers. All they got was a vague idea and guideline of what was to come. The now-famous chapter 34 was actually created by a text generator. The book was written under a pseudonym "Travis Tea.' That alone should have been a dead giveaway.

The reason for writing this novel is to perpetuate the myth that PublishAmerica was a real, discriminating publisher, that they adopted a true publishing process and would only publish the best of the bests. A book like Atlanta Nights would normally see the bottom of a slushpile or a shredder at a traditional publisher.

Lo and behold, the manuscript was quickly accepted by PA and Mr. Travis Tea was offered a contract. The writers' mission was accomplished. PA will accept and "publish" anything without even reading the manuscripts.

Writers beware. Stay away from Publish America. And if you want to see what kind of books Publish America is willing to publish, check out Altanta Nights.