This post is going to be a mad dash. I am going to write and finish this post it in one sitting, edits be damned. Forgive me, reader, for all mistakes: If I don't write this now, it feels as though I may never write again.
I am very nearly finished with my book. In a sense, it is finished. It is like a porch that has been built but not yet stained. It is a porch and you can use it as a porch. It is a book--beginning, middle, end--and you can read it like a book.
It seems amazing that I wrote as much as I did--since stopping, back in October, I can't seem to get going again. A gear shifted in my brain from creative to editorial, and it is a long a reedy bridge between the two; it traverses an appalling maw of a canyon, of course, and I must crawl and claw my way across it to the other side, where I will return to the joy and mania of creativity.
Not being creative, it's like being on a stabilizing drug. That's the truth. There is, from my subjective point of view, something intensely energizing about dwelling in the creative portion of my brain. I have written earlier about how hard it is to transition between the inner and outer worlds; the writing and imagining, versus the writing up of lists and the getting things done. It is like I am always painting a room--which necessitates that all other rooms suffer a level of neglect while I focus on making improvements elsewhere.
It is awfully hard for me, a woman, let's make this about women, misery loves company, to brush all of you aside. [No, not YOU. You, my reader, are the only one that I do not brush aside. This is all for you (and me, mostly me).] Everyone else is getting totally screwed out of something.
What worked so well last time was that letter of apology. Remember, the one in which I explained that I was about to write this book (paint a room), and as a result, broad swaths of neglect were to be expected. Am I really to live like that always? It seems so nearly impossible for a woman, except in as much as we have the hubris (as women, but I have never had the hubris) to say or think for a minute that I can do it all.
Let me repeat, I have never been one of those women. I know one or two of them. We used to be friends. They gave up on me years ago. They saw all this potential--creative potential--but paired with abjectly normal levels of energy. When I was younger, the whole fantasy of realizing my potential (HEROIN, don't touch it) was my true undoing as a writer. Moving to Wisconsin seems to have cured me of that, but still....
I am afraid. That's it, isn't it? If I put the final touches on this manuscript, my God, then I'll have to send it out into the world. Words fail to describe the apprehension that gives me.
Or does it? Is it just so incredibly impossible to make the writing the central focus of my day. That is what I am currently failing to do. But I am also, for what it's worth, also not writing any posts. I am not writing anything. I am not thinking or acting creatively at all. I am letting every moment of inspiration pass. And to be sure, make no bones about it, it is not good for my head.
Writing--being creative--makes me crazy in one way. Not writing or being creative makes me crazy in a whole other way, which is tantamount to a loss of self, voice, time, and opportunity. It is the loss of everything I might have done good or bad and whatever I might have learned while doing it. It is a kind of zombified existence, which, for all of that, has a certain undeniable appeal.
Here's what it boils down to. Life detracts from writing and writing detracts from life. One must yield significant ground to the other--there's no way around it. The inner life is nourished while the dishes pile up in the sink and important appointments and social engagements (the list goes on) are forgotten (completely, utterly, and with enormous remorse and self-recrimination). Or, one tends to one's garden (I, I tend to my garden: cats, dogs, horses, family, friends) of earthly delights and something inside of (me) is silenced and all but utterly forgotten, with enormous remorse and self-recrimination.
Therein lies my challenge: To strike a balance. Is it possible? Is it?
Or, if it is not possible; if being creative defies, as I suspect it does, all grasping attempts at balance between it and the other, then it becomes very clear that it is a choice. And a hard one.
And so this, this post, this dashed-off piece of writing, is my declaration. Because there is no choice, really. We are what we are, and I no from experience that I am doomed to fail at everything else and that it is never going to be enough to simply be a good mother, wife, and friend with a tidy house.
I am not there yet, but I'm making my way back to that heady place where I belong and the hours bend to me.