Old Van, New Worldview and Douglas Adams

Those who follow my other blog know I’ve recently purchased a used van that brought to my attention the clinical depression I’ve been sliding into for the past year. If you don’t follow my personal blog, now you know.

I won’t bore you with the details, but the van and the depression have brought out those age-old questions of “why me?” and “what did I do wrong?” and “God, don’t you care?” You know, the kinds of questions people normally ask after hurricanes, or cancer, or elections. My life contains so little drama, I get to ask the big questions after buying a lemon of a used vehicle.

I don’t have the answers to those questions. Turns out I never did, but until the depression, that never bothered me. I do anticipate a day when they won’t bother me again. Until then, I keep repeating “Don’t Panic” in large, friendly letters.

TT: It’s not that I don’t know the “right” answers. I have had 16+ years of formal Bible education.  There just comes a time when the “right” answers don’t cut it anymore and, like Job, I want God to show up and explain Himself. I assume that’s perfectly normal, and I’ll get over that, too.

What I didn’t expect was the impact on my writing.

In the past, I’ve written to distract myself from my problems. I knew what the “correct” answers were and I wrote accordingly. Good people can do bad things and bad people can do good things, but God is ultimately in control and everything will be OK. So it is and so I have written.

Having a little trouble with that at the moment. Perhaps it was naive from the start, but I like my fiction fictional, even down to the “God is in His heaven and all’s right with the world” mindset of Me the Author.

Lately, though, not all is right with my world and God in His heaven doesn’t appear to be paying any attention whatsoever to my problems. I know that He cares; He made this abundantly, obviously clear to me. I’m just not feeling it, and it’s very hard to see how anything is ever going to be OK again.

So I as an author am left in the awkward position of writing a story where I no longer believe a happy ending is possible, let alone probable, yet I very much want it to end well. If I am the god/creator/director of my story world, how can I make it all OK? Why am I putting my characters through this? What did they do wrong? Don’t I care?

I used to wonder what happened to Douglas Adams after The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. His books got darker and darker until he finally destroyed the Earth in every possible way, dimension and timeline. I thought he’d become the parent of a teenager. I’ve since heard he was going through depression.

I am taking all of it way too seriously, I know, but if writing a novel is the outpouring of my growth as a person, my writer’s block may be a case of spiritual blockage, and it won’t end until I find an answer from God I can accept. I hope this isn’t the case. I hate leaving Caissa in her current mess. For that matter, I hate being in my current mess and a way out is not yet clear to me.

But God is in His heaven, and all is right with the world, whether I feel it or not. I will not panic.

From my keyboard to God’s ears.

About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

2 comments on “Old Van, New Worldview and Douglas Adams

  1. The van does seem a tad menacing.
    Adams didn’t like how he ended the series either. Which is why his widow had Eoin Colfer write another one.

    I’ve been there. That’s why I don’t write the way I used to. My stories have gotten darker, more emotional, more ambiguous.
    Pat answers don’t cut it anymore, to quote/paraphrase Chila Woychik. I know the right answers too. but they’re not the ones I need, or want.

  2. I sympathize, Robynn. I’m pretty much in a constant battle with depression myself, although I’ve had some pretty productive periods while suffering the blues. In fact I started Hanzet while going through a period of depression bought on by work stress, which probably explains why the opening scene features an assassin dispatching a victim with a large disintegration gun :-).

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