seasonal affective disorder


  1. Let me thread you a story… (1-17)
  2. Portalville has been on summer vacation. Yep, that’s right, the whole danged town. We needed a break from our day-to-day reality.
  3. So we hired us a whole mess of buses and drove them through the portal after which Portalville is named.
  4. We came out in another plain of existence, somewhere folks could all agree about things and where no one felt better than anyone else.
  5. Clearly, not any place on this earth.
  6. Now, Portalville is a pretty friendly place under normal circumstances and we mostly get along with each other right nice.
  7. But sometimes it all gets a bit much, especially when outside agitators come to town and demand we take sides in their outside arguments.
  8. It gets wearying, and if you add into that the tendency of most folks in town towards summer seasonal affective disorder…
  9. Well, like I said, time for a break. So, Mayor Begay ordered up those buses. We had the dire wolves manning the barricades on Route 40,
  10. let the Rock tribe seal up the passes through the Imogen Mountains, and told Dennis the Toll Troll to shut down the Wynotte Bridge—
  11. although the mayor told him he still wasn’t allowed to eat anyone who tried to cross. We sure hope he kept his word there.
  12. With the town sealed off from the world and our minds at ease about invasion, we took to the portal and had us a fine time.
  13. ‘Course, vacation always has to end sometime. The kids had to get back to school, the maintenance crews had to get back to work.
  14. And running away from problems never does any good in the long run. Not while you’re a living, breathing human being.
  15. Ain’t none of us dead yet, and while you’re drawing air into your lungs you need to be part of the world. Or you ain’t really living.
  16. So yep, we’re back. We’re still breathing. For now, anyway. All I can truly say for sure is that we’re back for today.
  17. But then, today is all you ever have, ain’t it?

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

I ran across this passage in Women Who Run With the Wolves the other day:

The most important thing is to hold on, hold out, for your creative life, for your solitude, for your time to be and do, for your very life; hold on, for the promise from the wild nature is this: after winter, spring always comes.

For me, it’s autumn.

I shake my feathers and the dust of the summer doldrums shifts away from them. Soon I’ll step into the cool, crisp waters of Fall and it will be washed away completely. I’ll slap my wings into the bath of autumn winds, dip my head, ruffle my feathers, and be off, on the wing again.

Summer has always been a trial for me. You know that Seasonal Affective Disorder thing? I always knew there was a summertime version of it, long before science tumbled to the fact. Every year, starting about late spring, I’d feel myself sinking. By full summer, I’d be slogging along through hot molasses. Then the seasons turned again and I’d be filled with incredible new energy that lasted through the winter and into early spring. I have always started new novels in the fall. That’s when they burgeoned inside me most naturally.

This year we had a mild summer, but the doldrums came anyway. It’s been a difficult year in other ways and I’ve been so exhausted I have hardly had time for that creative life. I thought many times of quitting altogether—but hey, anyone who’s known me long knows I’ve been down that path before. I spent most of the year doing revisions rather than creating new works. That weighed me down, too. But the spark always refuses to die, no matter how convinced I am that this time it will finally be extinguished. No matter how desperate I feel, how pushed into the earth I feel, that little light remains—and probably will until my bones are pushed into the earth.

I don’t yet know for sure that things will be okay, but I trust that little light. And I’m rising again. The wind may be crisp and cold, but once more it promises sure flight.