Daniel’s Journal #16 – The Essence of Misery as a Muse

I once said something to a friend that rang true for me at the time: “My life may be falling apart around me, but my writing has never been better.

That was over a year ago. My life really was falling apart. Every comfort and joy I had was being torn asunder. Trust was broken. Truths were lies. Blame was placed. I was wounded, beaten, hurled through an abyss of suffering. But, goddammit, my writing was on point!

We take from our experiences. Life has gotten better since that experience. Is it still bumpy? Sure. But I moved on, learned how to forgive and how to accept forgiveness. I started the climb back from the bottom.

We take, but we never forget. Remember that. It’ll be on the test.

The friend who I told that initial quote to had a bit of advice for me. She told me not to think that way. Was I reveling in the prose that being miserable had wrought? Maybe. I thought I had found a speck of inspiration in a pile of shit. Maybe what I found was the person I had to be in order to evolve as a writer and a human.

It’s important we don’t forget the times we’re down. Those who know me well know I’m prone to fall into a “woe is me” rut every once in a while. I’ve ruined relationships, walked away from wonderful people, and put any wants and needs on an indefinite hiatus.

But what I felt, in that moment of rock bottoming in the pit of disillusionment, is something I refuse to let go. For the sake of what I do, the writing, the story crafting, the word smithing. Is it healthy to hang onto something so evil? Probably not, but tapping into it makes a good story into something greater than it was meant to be.

That’s my illness. I think I’ll keep it.

-Daniel Aegan


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