The idea of starting my own “writing rituals” never occurred to me until recently, but I’ve been able to think of little else since it did. I have always had a few reading rituals, especially on rainy or wintery days…or whenever in the year I decided to return once more to the chill but happy comforts of Jane Eyre or Little Women or Anne of Green Gables. Continue reading “Confessions of a non-writing writer”
Sometimes, I feel a little less than inspired. Granted, I haven’t let the lack of inspiration stop me in the past couple weeks, but before that, I went months without writing at all. I’d feel bad about my inaction when I remembered — which was usually about the time I looked in the direction of my bookshelf and caught a glimpse of the beautiful, empty notebooks stashed there — but usually, I really didn’t think about it. Obviously, my urge to write has not always been so easily forgotten or dismissed.
In high school, for example, I carried a mid-size, spiral Mead notebook wherever I went. I wrote in class and at home, at band rehearsal and play practice. I didn’t bother to hide what I was doing, and I took more than my share of flak for doing it. Truth be told, somewhere in the back of my head, I’ve always felt a bit like Harriet the Spy when I carry around my notebooks. I can write whatever I want and it’s true and no one can debate me on it. I can think what I want to think and how I want to think it.
Writing in this forum has been an adjustment.
Nowadays, of course, my fallback excuse when I don’t get the writing done is the children, the chores, the cats, Donald Trump, The West Wing, and/or the insurmountable and all important READING LIST. Naturally, I’m only making these excuses in my own head; I set these arbitrary deadlines and quotas for myself. No one else is asking for my word count. But for some reason, it feels important that I (figuratively) get off my ass and do something, in some area of my life. There’s no two ways about it: our current political situation (which is also very personal and immediate to me and so many of the people I love) has got me down. I end up saying “fuck the diet” every day, regardless of how honorably I begin. I also say “fuck the cleaning,” “fuck the reading,” and “fuck everything else,” because even seven months later, sometimes it’s still difficult to put one foot in front of the other.
Writing makes me move. It makes me get other things done first before I can allow myself time to do it.
Today, while I was staring at the blank screen and fishing for a sentence with which to start, my sweet husband managed to convince me that instead, I should really come lay down with him and take a short nap. I never take naps, but Step-son was gone to a friend’s house, and even the cat looked exhausted. I had nothing in my head to write, so I decided to take the hand of the man I had to wait half my life to marry. Sometimes, it seems like I don’t choose him often enough or well enough, even though I try to be grateful for and mindful of every moment I get to spend with him. I slept draped over his chest like I haven’t since we were dating.
When we got up, I cooked supper and ran a load of dishes. My husband went to the store for a Coke and ended up with a pack of cigarettes and a pair of lottery tickets. We hope the lottery tickets win us enough change to send us to the Netherlands for the rest of our lives. The cigarettes are because they won’t.
Don’t worry, Mom. We’ll quit again tomorrow.
I still don’t know what to write.
The truth is, I’ve been off the online journal circuit since before it ever got popular. In fact, I’m going to bet that the last time I wrote consistently was 2008-ish, which was about two years after my crazy ass Vegas girlfriend and I called it quits. (Though I had to keep slogging along at the journal for a while afterward because APPEARANCES.) I was pretty burnt out after that–I’d been writing several times a week for about seven years at that point–and I just let the last cute domain name (and there had been several over the years) fade back into the ether from whence it came. In the intervening nine years, I haven’t kept much of a journal in any form. I buy expensive and beautiful notebooks and keep them in decorative baskets on my bookshelves, preparing for the unavoidable eventuality (ha!) that one day I’ll be walking by and decide that today, instead of reading, I’ll write. That happens not nearly as often as I would like. I have many pretty notebooks with writing in them, but unfortunately, it stops after no more than 20 pages and never picks up again. I don’t know how it is for other people, but I’m just bizarre enough about my notebook journalling that I cannot allow too much of a passage of time between entries…skipping a year, for example, is totally not cool and absolutely necessitates beginning a new notebook. Were it not for the fact that I cannot stand to waste paper and that someday there’s probably going to be an apocalypse wherein I’ll need all the paper I can get, I would throw them away in a heartbeat. As it is, they just sit there and torment me.
The great thing about writing in this forum is that there is no paper to waste (and no money to waste on buying it). Also, until I decide I need all the bells, whistles, and customization options (which is at most a couple weeks down the road), it’s free. I admit, writing online again is also a lot like coming home, only it’s more than a little strange to have no history making the journey with me. Once upon a time, y’all, I didn’t go ANYWHERE without my archives, and quite honestly, I’m still having a hard time with the idea that they aren’t–and won’t ever be–here. Obviously, I’ll end up retelling some stories, but wow, it’s pretty weird to be out here all alone and unknown in this place where I once felt so seen and so at ease. (Isn’t it wild to hear anyone talking that way about the internet in this day and age?) I guess I’ll just have to move along by taking the advice of my high school public speaking teacher and fake it til I make it…someday, dammit, I’ll look (again) as prolific as I feel.