I can’t stop erasing this first sentence. My God, am I ever going to get out of this loop?
Few weeks ago I came back to my blog. I missed writing, or rather, I got tired of all the notebooks just sitting on my desk. When one filled, I’d reach for another and another, which was sort of fine, but eventually some part of me started wanting my writing to go further than my desk. Some ephemeral, but essential, and equally fun part of being a writer was missing. So I came back to the blog.
I started by doing some Blogging U exercises. God I’d forgotten home much fun it is to create a post, to be gently pulled. To lose track of hours. To be engaged in that way—I’ll just say it: it’s better than sex. And I’ve has some, you know, great. Um. Whatever.
All fine except I noticed I hadn’t left the house in three days, then four. I was forgetting to eat until late at night, and staying in my bathrobe later and later into the day until it was all day. I was forgetting to, you know, pee. I got scared. Go outside and play, for Christ’s sake. Binge-watch a little Netflix. So I did. And didn’t write for a few days.
And today I couldn’t.
* * *
This is one of the most creatively difficult afternoons I’ve had in a long time (and I’ve had some difficult creative periods over the years. That were years). An hour ago I didn’t think I’d get over this hump. I felt mildly panicked. Thank God I remembered this: “Start writing, not matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Thank you, Louis L’Amour.
What a delicate thing a creative habit can be. The balancing involved. Over-engaged or under-engaged. I don’t think I could handle another not engaged.
There are some hair-pin turns on this path.
- Finally pulling the containers of dead food out of the fridge.
- The way my Siamese frequently looks like a door-stop.
- Houses that keep their Christmas lights up year-round.
- Doing Warrior II.
- Talking to other shoppers at the grocery store.
- Not stressing in rush-hour traffic because no one expects me at home.
- Lighting a dozen candles in one room.
- The way every cell immediately remembers an ex-lover’s body.
- The hug my father gave me after I was a complete asshole.
- The way my mother would gladly let you steal the gold that falls out of that brilliant head.
I write because finally it’s become less painful than not writing (it also happens to be a helluva lot of fun). That’s the same reason I’ve been sending loving-kindness towards those I have resentments against: it hurts my body less to send them loving thoughts than it does to feel anger.
Except when I don’t write, and don’t send kindness.
I’m behind in blogging classes I signed up for. I was heading to my blog, but got sidetracked and saw a blurb for the movie about Aaron Schwartz, “The Internet’s Own Boy.” The blurb was so compelling that I watched the movie, cried at the ending, read a book, and went to bed. I was thrown before I even got near the empty page. (The movie was so good it was largely worth not writing, but even so, I registered the scratchy feeling of disappointment in myself).
And the other day I called someone a gossip. Well, I yelled it from an elevator the doors of which were closing. (Hey – I’m not a coward: I do posses the ability to engage in conflict face to face, but at the very last minute I couldn’t keep my mouth shut AND THE DOORS JUST HAPPENED TO BE CLOSING, OK?).
I probably didn’t make her day any better. Good chance I made it worse. And my own, too, as my self-righteousness wore off. I felt like I would have if someone had shouted the same thing to me.
So I ended up putting more pain into the world by not keeping my mouth shut. I don’t know. I should have gone to her in private? She’s a neighbor in my building, and we now have a conflict thing….it’s depressing.
Anyway, I try. I’m getting there, with both writing and being a better person. I’m here now, and I do let most slights real-or-imagined go; I see when I’m writing resistant, and I see when I fuck up dealing with an unpleasant person-whereas-I’m-delightful.
Isn’t noticing at least a tiny part of the point?