Energy Leaches

on June 11, 2012 in Misc

This isn’t good: My throat is sore and I have no energy.

I blame a coworker who decided to work through his bad cold last week by remaining in the office instead of taking sick leave.  If I wake up congested and whimpering tomorrow morning, I’ll go into work just to breath on him and pay him back.

Then there’s my painful tennis elbow, or in my case fencing elbow.  It’s getting better, but because of it I’m carrying that arm kinda bent and up and dangly, the way a T. Rex would.  Yes, I look funny.

But what really kinda got me down this weekend was having a chat with a casual friend who managed, almost before I knew what she was doing, to make me feel like crap.

You know what kind of “friend” I mean.  The kind who most of the time can be decent and goodhearted, and you feel like you owe them to stay friends and hang out once in a while.  But at other times and in subtle, small ways, they can make you feel like a shit sandwich.  You don’t even realize how they’ve drained the energy from you until you’ve walked away and a few hours later you wonder why you feel so down.

We all know people like that, don’t we?

In all honesty I only see this friend anymore because she does my hair and at half the price of a salon.  And most of the time when I’m sitting there we can talk politics and about life in general and I enjoy myself.  But at other times…

Let’s just say this woman knows how to bring up personal issues in a way that make me feel like a loser.

One thing she never, ever talks about is my writing because she just doesn’t care.  I mean, I never bothered even to tell her that I published The Compass Master and that I’ve gotten some great feedback. She knows I write this blog but has never once checked it out.  And I don’t want to discuss this part of my life with her because I don’t want to be hurt when she feigns interest for all of thirty seconds and then just shrugs.

This is something all us writers have to put up with, isn’t it?  Not just rejection in publishing, but the fact that what is so important and personal to us doesn’t even register with some of the people in our lives.  Realistically, we can’t expect them all to care.  They don’t owe us their genuine interest or support.  Still, I find myself more and more quietly walking away from minor relationships that sap my spirit and inflict tiny scratches on my heart.  The older I get, the more I realize I can sometimes choose who to have in my life and who shouldn’t be there.

So how about you? I bet you all have similar stories to tell, and very likely much more painful ones.  My scratched-up heart goes out to you.

14 Responses to “Energy Leaches”

  1. Well put! Some people are just negative drains on our life and should be avoided.

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – Yes, like tiny black holes sucking up all the light.

  3. I’m sorry that you have to put up with a friend that is like that. I find myself in similar circumstances. I don’t have many friends so I have a couple of energy leaches who only come around when they want something. There are many days when I feel like giving up writing entirely, but something always pulls me back. I start plugging away at a computer and messing with stories and characters. Ultimately, no one really close to me reads anything that I write so I kind of do it for myself really (and no one else). I’m definitely going to read the Compass Master soon. *hugs

  4. Helena says:

    Michael – And Slipstream is on my Next to Read list, darlin’. I should also point out that I’m extremely luck to have a few friends and even one or two relatives who are emotionally very supportive and read my stuff, sometimes eagerly. But they’re not enough to shield me from the energy leaches. Your own stuff is way too good, Michael (you a freaking published writer!), to get discouraged. You ever want me to read rough drafts or finished drafts or whatever ya got, I’m here for you.

  5. Ciara Knight says:

    I’m sorry you are feeling under the weather. I broke my toe last night when I was cleaning house. It’s fine,and only a toe, I have nine others, but it is making me hobble some.
    I’m so sorry your kinda friend did that to you. We all have that kind of person in our life. I have a relative like that. You walk away and go, wait, did she really just say that? Keep your chin up. You are a fabulous person and writer!

  6. Helena says:

    Ciara — Oh you poor thing, that must have been so painful! I hope toe number 10 heals soon. And it’s tough to have a relative as an energy leach because one way or the other relatives stay in your life. And right back at ya with the fabulousness.

  7. I bought the Compass Master last night and took a look at it. I will say that I’m impressed you went the route of coordinating the lyrics and music from “Every Sperm is Sacred”. I was told that one should never do this because of legal hassles and whatnot but I saw you went through all the channels to secure the rights to that. Impressive. You should write a blog post about that unless you’ve already written one and I just missed it. Also…your book has 100 chapters in it? That’s more than a Vonnegut book!

  8. Helena says:

    Michael – THANK YOU so much for buying my book! It means a great deal to me. And yes, there are 100 chapters but most of them are short to very short because as a thriller the pacing is important and I needed to switch viewpoints frequently to show how the antagonists are closing in on Layla.

    And as you’ve noted, I coordinate some lyrics from the Monty Python song with the plot. I did write about this process way back when, but I’ll summarize it for you and whoever reads this because, as a writer, it was one hell of an education for me.

    Getting the rights “Every Sperm” cost me $100 and wasn’t too much of a hassle once I was finally able to track down the rights to the Hal Leonard company. They have a standard form to fill out and process to follow, so it wasn’t too tough. I was also pleasantly surprised by the people at a couple music companies who took the time to point me in the right direction.

    What was harder was getting copyright permission to use quotes from the book “Opium and the Romantic Imagination,” which Layla relies on for her theory about the Book of Revelation (her Master’s thesis is, as a result, so controversial she leaves academia and becomes an antiquities hunter). This is because the book was originally published in Britain, the author had lived there but since died, and this meant her estate might have to be contacted. But I never needed to do this because her London-based publisher was able to give me limited rights to quote her work — as I recall, about 250 words. But for whatever reason, my email and mail requests to this publisher fell through the cracks a couple times and months passed by before a helpful clerk took care of the matter.

    Finally, I had also quoted a couple T.S. Eliot poems and had thought I was safe because they had been published in the 1920’s, so logically they should have been in the public domain. Then I learned that his widow is still alive and has an iron grip on most of his work. That’s when I tossed out the longer quote.

    For obvious reasons I’m permanently keeping all the forms and paper documents from this process under lock and key because I’m paranoid when it comes to legal stuff. Also, If I’d known what a hassle it would be to obtain copyright permission I would have rewritten my manuscript, but of course all was too late by then. Live and learn.

    And so I’m very relieved to say that my next two manuscripts have no copyright permission requests attached to them, which will make my publishing them easier. They’re humorous historical romps set in nineteenth century America, and that helps — no modern copyright permissions to mess with even if I had quoted anyone.

  9. Wow. That sounds like a lot of work. Knowing how much you went through to get that makes me want to read it even more.

  10. Helena says:

    Michael — Sometimes I work too hard, and it sounds like you do too. Kinda wish I’d instead whipped out (pun intended) something like Fifty Shades of Gray.

  11. Hart says:

    Oh, man–sorry about your loser coworker giving you his germs! YES! STAY HOME! And sorry about the elbow, too! I totally hear you on your friend… I have a couple people who have been conspicuously absent in even saying ‘boo’ about anything. But I am heartened by people I didn’t know very well, say in high school, who have come through in spades, sharing, supporting, buying. I know part of it is just the equation of who is online (I have had a facebook presence for some six or so YEARS so I’ve found a lot of people)–but when you get all this support from people you really just feel thankful to because they have no reason to be so wonderful, it makes it all the more striking that some supposed good friends are just ABSENT.

  12. Helena says:

    Hart – Isn’t it great how the best people can come out of nowhere and be warm and supportive? And real friends celebrate our successes. And on that note CONGRATS AGAIN on THE AZALEA ASSAULT! You deserve bestsellerdom.

  13. Old Kitty says:

    Awwww Helena! I hope you are feeling better! Please keep resting!! I totally do not like it when co-workers struggle in to work carrying viruses – they do no-one any favours! :-(

    As for your so called friend – so long as she does your hair beautifully and affordably! LOL!! Actually my mum’s my worst non-supporter. She keeps wondering when I’ll get a proper job! LOL! Take care

  14. Helena says:

    Old Kitty — How tough that must be for you! My mom is great about pumping me up. So tell you mum you have a proper job and it’s called writing.