Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Elusive Muse and Bipolar Disorder

There is no question that when I write, I do so with great passion and brutal honesty. Although I tend to write mostly about my life, I have written books that have nothing to do with me at all, but what I have experienced firsthand, such as my trip to Colombia with my ex-wife several years ago, when I visited her father’s finca in the mountains above the town of El Aguila, hence the title of my second novel, a heart-wrenching story about the cafeteros who get forced into growing coca when the bottom drops out of the coffee market. It is told from the eyes of a seventeen-year-old girl who watches her parents get murdered by the guerillas and the military when all hell breaks loose over control for the town. It is a story told with immense passion and my firsthand experience with Colombia and the coffee fincas in the Andes.

But mostly my writing comes from somewhere deep inside me, and when I do my most serious writing I am usually in mania. Being bipolar is both a gift and a curse. When I go into mania I reach creative heights most people will never experience, but on the downside, I need to avoid going into mania if I want to maintain any normalcy in my life. I take enough medication to bring down a horse, and a normal person could possibly be killed by the enormous amounts of medication I need to control my manic episodes, but without them, I would be completely over the top, and I certainly would never be able to hold the kind of job I have with the State of New York.

Regardless, every so often I do have a major manic episode, and that’s when I tap into my innermost psyche and write what’s at the bottom of my heart. And I do it with shameless honesty, baring my deepest secrets, demons, degenerate impulses and desires and could care less about what others think. This is what I call true artistic integrity, and I push the envelope of what is acceptable.

Esmeralda, my third novel, was written in just over three weeks while in the midst of one of the most violent manic episodes of my life. My agent has been shopping it around for awhile, and some of the responses I get from editors who care only about Chick Lit have made me laugh uproariously. Some are simply horrified at the brutal honesty and rawness of the story; others have actually taken the manuscript seriously, and it has gone up for Editorial Review twice.

My publisher told me he would take the manuscript if I wrote out the incredibly raw, graphic sex. However, he was unwilling to offer me a contract, which I took as a show of incredible bad faith, and besides, I am adamant the sex should stay exactly as it is, and I told him he is the wrong publisher for this book. Not one editor besides my publisher complained about the graphic sex; they had other objections about the story and the main character, but other than that it is too literary to be considered erotica, and too raunchy to be considered mainstream.

I will keep shopping it around until I find a home for it. Believe me, the damn book wrote itself. How else could anybody write 100,000 words in just over three weeks? I was aware of my characters as they played out in my head, but I was so jacked up I didn’t sleep for three, full weeks, and the book came gushing out of me as if I were not fully conscious of what I was writing at all. I can pretty much guarantee it will turn a few heads once it is published. Until then, I will bide my time, and laugh at the rejections of the horrified editors who just don’t understand the implications of what I accomplished. But, sooner or later, someone will pick it up and take it to press, and I am confident people will appreciate the raw truth in the story.

You can read samples of my work on

All my love,

James M. Weil.

1 comment:

  1. always follow your story. Write what you want to write. Either people will like it or they don't. So stick with what you write. If you decide to change it then change it. That is up to you because it's your story. :)