Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When you look at this picture, what do you see?

What was eagerness last week, looking forward to this coming month of all-out writing, is turning into a species of anxiety.  Okay, panic.  So much so that I could write nothing of the prewriting that was supposed to start yesterday.  So much so that I can write nothing even here.  If this were paper - this white space my cursor blinks on - it would be rubbed rough and raw with  erasing - for the second day now.  Mostly sentence starts that are varieties of Should I even be trying to do this right now?

The short answer is yes. 

Every real obstacle I've raised as a But I can't really take the time in November . . . has been lifted almost as soon as I put it in words.

But Thanksgiving? . . . I came home two months ago (when the idea of NaNoWRiMing first hit) from Fritz's & my sudden weekend away, to Eldest peeling potatoes, Middlest making rolls, YoungSon mixing up pie crust.  The turkey I was thinking I was going to have to do something with the minute I got home (freezer glitch) was in the oven already smelling golden.  

But I'm on duty for youth activities that month? . . . Carpets being cleaned and activities cancelled one week, combining with the women's group another week, the boys will take charge of the only remaining week . . .

What's to hold me back?

Aren't I just tossing up shadow barriers?  Can't I put myself into that cockpit - so close but still on the other side of deep water? 

And am I the deep water? or the wings? or the shadow?

Fritz's mother, who had a stroke last month and a long hospitalization, is being released soon now from the care facililty.  Fritz's dad has 21 days of chemo scheduled.  Neither is any condition to take care of each other any more.  For the long term it looks like the best plan is for them to move west so we can help care for them.  For now Fritz's brother is staying with them for the month of chemo.  In the meantime, Fritz and I have been driving around our town, looking at rentals, talking to realtors, sending emails to builders. There would be enough in just this calling and arranging and checking out possibilities to overwhelm all the writing hours of the coming month.   But not necessarily.

And now, the food bank calls and asks if I will cover the desk the first Tuesday in November.  Which means 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.  Which is pretty much the entire writing day.

 Because I said yes, does that mean I'm trying to clip my own wings - give myself an excuse for failing before I begin?  I hesitated when they asked.  I said, "Oh, wait - is that November?"  I almost said no.  But -

Isn't this what I do and do and do?  One day won't matter, you can write in the evening that day - You can get up a little earlier and -

No.  Which is what I should have said. 


And the vehicle of flight looks further out of reach than it did yesterday.

Or . . . I'll keep my notebook open on the desk while at the food bank and collect, collect, record everything that's said and everything I see, and make it all fuel my flight.  And NO MORE incursions for the month of November.  NO MORE . . . unless - and that's the problem. 

I'm not standing here alone, comtemplating flight.  There is that smaller shadow which is the shadow of my son, standing in for all these loved others who will need things from me this month and every month, for now and forever.
When she was three and I was feverishly trying to finish a poem, explaining through not-quite gritted teeth that writing was like fishing, waiting for the right words to rise to the surface and when she spoke it chased all the other words away, my Middlest said, matter-of-factly and very sure -

Mid: "You are just suffering the kwonsekences of having children."

me: !!
And there's this younger self - still inside me - the one who wrote in her journal how she hoped above all things never to be one of those ridiculous mommy-writer-wannabes.  The ones who are always scribbling away at the never-accomplished family-joke manuscript.  She speaks much faster than I do now and for her everything is still very much black & white:  "What's it going to be?  Huh? huh?  Hand on the throttle?  Or shadows on the water?  C'mon, make up your mind."

But I don't believe any more in those false dichotomies, do I? 

So I write everyday.  So I live in my family everyday.  So I do what needs to be done.  And whatever I write will be more than what I would have written if I didn't make the committment. 

This is just a hill.  And I know how to pedal up hills.  You just keep moving one leg up and over and then the next.  And breathe . . .


. . .  and who's to say I won't zoom right past the 50,000 word goal long before the 21st of the month without even noticing . . .


Anonymous said...

EmmaJ on Dec 1:


Go Girl!


Emma J said...

Ah, Fritz, that's why I love you . . .

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Yes, yes, just one leg up and over and then the next. And yes, by all means breathe.

Good luck!

(What? I didn't know Fritz' mom had a stroke. What? What? I didn't know Fritz' dad was scheduled for chemo. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.)

Mrs. Organic said...

Who's to say? I think you'll do marvelously!(If you ever need material (filler) I can give you an earful).

Yes you do know how to pedal up hills. I'm sorry there is so much going on right now. I wish you the best this coming month - shall I break out the pompoms?

Emma J said...

Mrs. O - yes please I always love pompoms

Neighbor Jane - even though we put a moratorium on acknowledging mortality, it still keeps doing it's thing. We'll email with more details.

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