Once upon a time there was a girl who got bitten by the writing bug. She happened to get bitten at a most inopportune time. The bite occurred during her final semester of undergraduate courses.
For some, this isn’t a busy time at all. For others, like our heroine, it was. There were essays, exams, and plenty of books to read. But the writing bug had bitten. Its bite could not be ignored.
Perhaps it bit her arm or perhaps a finger on her right hand, because one day, quite suddenly, she found herself locked in her car, furiously scribbling out a story, by hand, on the back of a floppy stack of printed notes.
She wrote quickly, watching the time, because she had a class to get to. With negative two minutes to spare, meaning that she was late, she finished the story, and ran off to class. The girl was proud of herself, thinking that she had mastered the sting of the writing bug. Boy, was she wrong.
Perhaps the biggest story of her life came to her one night in a dream. No, that’s not right. Part of a good story came to her one night in a dream. Yes, there we go. But that small part of a dream mushroomed into a full storybook of ideas. The story opened up like three gossamer ribbons dancing in the wind. They neatly intwined themselves with one another. They fanned out into a much larger, more complex pattern that seemed to stretch out into infinity.
The girl was intimidated. The story fascinated her. She loved it. But it scared her. She didn’t have the time to write down such a massive story. As soon as she finished her undergraduate degree, she was headed off to grad school. What was she to do?
Lost in indecision, the girl took the easiest route. She did nothing. She ignored the bite on her hand. Unfortunately for the girl, this was likely the worst decision that she could have made at the time. The writing bug’s poison is strong. Once bitten, one is unlikely to recover, not completely anyway, and the poison of the writing bug works instantaneously.
While the girl tried steadfastly to focus on her schoolwork, the neat gossamer story wove itself through her mind, lacing itself through every nook and cranny. It came to be that everything reminded her of the story, and nothing else could captivate her mind more completely. The story grew. She thought of it constantly. She lost sleep over it. It grew, and grew, and grew until parts of it faded from her memory.
Finally, in a fit of giddy humor, she named the story her mental breakdown. Her Mental Breakdown. No, there was no actual mental breakdown. The girl was convinced that there might be one, though, if the story didn’t leave her well enough alone.
To alleviate the sting of the writing bug, the girl told the story aloud, wrote outlines, and even started a chapter or two. She wrote other, much shorter, stories. She dallied as long as she could. Five years went by. Finally, she sat down to write her Mental Breakdown.
The story came easily enough. She wrote the novel and completed a rough edit of it within a month and a half, satiating the demands of the writing bug. She let it rest and came back to it months later, after having completed four other novels.
Now, she is revising her Mental Breakdown, rewriting chapters, throwing away tons of words, moving things around, adding scenes. The title “Mental Breakdown” has never felt more apt, as she wades through the quagmire of words. Words, words, words.