Today I received some sweet words of encouragement from my love, Amber, in response to my recent post about My Post-Launch Blues.
I don’t need everyone to understand what I go through, or why I crashed so hard on Saturday after My Amazing Book Release Party, but it’s wonderful when someone actually gets it. Equally passionate and fully invested artists usually get it.
My beloved Amber, who happens to be a world travelling kickass music producer and DJ, lives in Toronto and was in Montreal over the weekend, and we had made plans for this past Saturday many weeks ago.
When we connected by text on Friday I was high as a kite, still riding that P&B wave, but when Saturday came, I was done like dinner.
I couldn’t human. I couldn’t function. I kept rescheduling our meeting time that day because I really couldn’t move.
I had nothing left to give or share with anyone. I had given all I had. But my friend who I barely see was finally in town so there was no way I was going to cancel.
Amber, being the understanding soul that she is, accommodated my need for solitude and extra time, and she and her daughter occupied themselves in our beautiful city while I tried to pull myself together.
Eventually, and reluctantly, I left my home to go be social. A depleted introvert’s hell.
But Amber understood. And she didn’t expect me to perform or engage. We just enjoyed a nice meal and one another’s company in a gorgeous restaurant (LOV) while I was in zombie mode, and despite my obvious fatigue, she said I still had a glow about me.
After dinner she asked me if I wanted to return with them to the condo they were staying at, you know, to connect more and to meet the others, but the answer was a big fat NO aka no way in hell can I human one minute longer, and she laughed and understood.
I returned home, baked for my Sunday TGT orders, and then slept for 12 hours straight. The rest has been a blur while trying to make it through exams each day this week.
Over the last few days I researched a lot about the creative comedown though (yes, it’s a thing), just to make myself feel better while I felt so shitty.
It’s always affirming to know that you’re not alone in your struggles, and that what you’re going through is perfectly normal. It was especially meaningful to read about famous authors who feel just as I did after completing their work.
There truly is a grieving that takes place when the magical world you were living in ceases to exist. When you can no longer return to that very unique experience of creating that particular piece. When the hardest work is done and now you’re forced back into the “real” world that you abandoned so long ago when the beautiful muse hit.
She doesn’t always come knocking, so on the rare occasion that she does, it’s your job as an artist to answer the call.
I answered the call every hour of every day and even every night if that’s what she required of me. I never said no to her. I never have and I never will.
That’s how I create. At the exclusion of everything else.
Is it healthy? Probably not. Do I care? Not one bit.
There’s just no stopping me when I feel inspired to create and yes, self-care goes right out the window. But I know it’s not forever so I pour myself into it while it feels necessary and good to do so, and then I try to pick up the pieces I neglected after the fact.
Things like proper eating, proper sleep, more time with friends, restored order in the home, learning French etc.
I imagine that the only ones to truly understand something as obsessive and extreme as this are those who’ve gone through it before. Those who are internally built in the same way.
So I am grateful for Amber, a friend who has travelled the same creative roller coaster, and I’m especially grateful for for my best friend, Melanie, as she helped me cope with each day since the release.
It was a horrible comedown for me.
I doubt that most people feel things to the extremes that I do because of how damn sensitive and intensely feeling I am, but I do know that exhaustion and sadness are a natural consequence of kicking ass and getting something BIG done. This applies to many of us no matter what the BIG thing is.
It’s a blessing and a curse that the creation of The Poet & The Butterfly was/is the highest point for me. It was my life’s peak the first time and now this time as well. Nothing tops it, which sucks.
Regular life pales in comparison to what happens to me while I’m working on this particular piece. That was my heaven. And I'm so sad to have to move on to lesser things.
It's like you’ve found your greatest love, your one true love (which is the book for me), and then the romance ends and you spend the rest of your days knowing that nothing could possibly match it. The next thing can be great of course, but not as great as this.
I've lived 42 years now. And I'm sure life has many more surprises in store for me, but if nothing has yet to top my immersion into the world of The Poet & The Butterfly, I'm not really banking on an additional miracle here. I already got to live this joy three times now. When it happened, when I created the first book, and when I created the 10 Year Anniversary Edition of it.
And had I expected such a comedown after the fact, I would have planned accordingly. I would not have made any additional plans during my book release weekend, nor would I have made the decision to go through with my exams (even though I ended up passing them). I would have given myself the weekend and this whole week and maybe even next week to recover.
But I didn’t know then what I know now, so I’m still pushing when I probably shouldn’t be. It’s almost over though and then I can give myself what I need and deserve.
I’ll be wiser for the next book. I’m already planning to schedule a delicious post-release retreat for a book I haven’t even written yet. And it might include a trip to Italy.
I’m fine now, FYI. I'm just exhausted and that will be remedied soon enough, as will our messy place. And my heart and soul will soon be replenished with plenty of solitude. I can’t wait.
Almost done. Just one exam left.
Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster!
(Image by Ilias Walchshofer)
"The creative process is definitely a roller coaster ride. The highs are sooooo exhilarating and during the lows we feel like we're going to lose it - stomach contents and all. There will be another high - when the creative muse calls again - and you will be ready to answer her call, soaring once again to new highs. You will also be ready for the post-creation blues that follow and will provide yourself with the retreat your heart and soul will need. You will nourish yourself and be ready, refreshed and restored for the muse when she calls again. You've got this Mandy. Your fellow creative souls know you do and are here with healing thoughts and love whenever you need them. It's a creative learning roller coaster indeed and each time we ride we're stronger and can more thoroughly enjoy and endure the highs and the lows." 😘💕👍 Valerie Beyer
"Good to have friends like Amber who are pros! Here's to taking your time, Mandy." Kent Nickerson
"Sweetie...I haven't had this high of a high before but I have had the feeling after a great accomplishment of total exhaustion and sadness... It wasn't clear to me back then why I felt this way until I just read your post. Thinking of you as you tackle this and sending lots of love! XO" Mac Michelle McIntosh
P.P.S. If an erotic, poetic, insightful and vulnerable real-life fairytale is your kinda thing, I invite you to explore my soul's offering, The Poet & The Butterfly Collection.