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Archive for the ‘bird by bird’ Category

It seems like forever since I’ve been on here, and I suppose the point of a blog is to actually write often. Well, I have been writing a lot, like all the time, but not posting, which is neglectful of me. But if you lived in my mind, you’d understand the absence.

The new year has already found me giddy with anticipation, distraught over false starts, curled up like a cat for hours reading, lost in my mind for days on end, obsessively checking my email for notifications, and writing page after page of words that will likely never see the light of another day.

I’m in a state of absorption and exploration. A state of getting cozy with my craziness, inviting it to tea and dinner with a tablecloth and 3 courses and dessert and a bubble bath. Observing it as it fans out across the steam. Watch it rise and fall over years in a matter of minutes. I’m learning to be still as the chaos swirls around me. And it is very sad. There are times when I wonder if…. Those are the thoughts I interrupt. Because I have to believe that I can and that I will, even if the time hasn’t come.

Here’s the short of it. I’m finally reading Anne Lamott’s bird by bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, and it illuminated quite a few things, connected some dots.

Perfectionism. It stands the way of my everything. Writing. Mothering. Connecting. Now, let’s combine that with Jealousy, the belief that everyone is ultimately better than I am, and that their lives are ultimately better than mine because they are so great and wonderful and their parents loved them right so of course their spouses and children and pets love them too and they engage in meaningful careers or shitty jobs that allow them to live meaningful lives and they have great hair and…. REALLY? Yup. It’s all in there.

So the winter rains illuminate my darkest corners by leaving raindrops on the spider webs that catch the tiny glimpses of light. I see I see I see. But I still don’t know how to change it, how to turn things around, make those connections, find work, get a date that isn’t already dating someone else and eating bagels with her when I show up for lunch with my son, how to be the first in line.

People always ask what I’m writing about, or what I want to write about, and I always come up with some thoughtless rambling answer and they inevitably ask if I blog and I say “yes, but that’s just to get me started and not very serious” (yes you can laugh your ass off at that, please). I leave these conversations feeling even worse than when I started because I should know. I should have some grand answer that is well thought through, has direction and holds the map to my future (remember that future that is right around the corner with so many doors just waiting to open since so many slammed in my face or hit me in the ass as I tried to exit with grace…). But I feel like a child. With questions I don’t know how to ask, hoping that someone will hear the gem in my ramblings, point to it, and I can say “Yes! That’s it! Thank you so much.”

But here’s what occurred to me. I have no idea what I want to write. None. And, that feels good. That’s my insight, that’s what I hear in my ramblings. And that’s the exact answer that was drowned out by my perfectionism and my jealousy. My little Virgo moon is in ecstasy over this, because it can fucking relax for a change. Breath in fresh air. Maybe it can focus on helping me find work now. Here is what I do know. I want to write, and I need to write. Since the 3rd grade this has been of the utmost importance, although along the way I’ve had many occasions to doubt it, to bail on it, to start and stop, to hide it and share it. And the fact that I want to write and need to write is what really matters. And I do it everyday. The subjects, Lamott’s book has assured me, will emerge from the act of writing. The characters and genres and subjects will reveal themselves. All I can do in the meantime is sit down everyday and write and type.

And my meditation practice is a big part of seeing this. Of finding this place. Of listening and observing and exploring. Which brings me to the second reason I’m hibernating with books.

(a day when it was fun work)

On February 6th, I’m taking my refuge vow. I don’t have words for this right now, at least not tonight. Because I decided to apply for grad school with less than 2 weeks until the application is due, and I’ve moved from this cozy one woman party to full on mental illness over this pursuit. So I’m writing shitty first draft after shitty first draft for my statement of interest essay (13 handwritten pages to 2 typed to 4 typed to a restart with 6 handwritten pages to 4 typed), day in and day out.

I am exhausted. And depressed. And a little worried that I may actually be crazy and destined to occupy these empty rooms for lifetimes. Because even though I managed to leave the house for a spell tonight and have a great dinner with a beautiful friend and her sweet son, I came home and went back to work and still feel like there is nothing to show for the 6-1/2 hours of writing I did today.

So it is off to cold sheets and an early alarm so I can begin again bright and early, before the light of the sun.

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