Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Why is it so much harder this year, this writing?
  1. the obvious - which is no big deal, right?  which is what all who write must juggle, i.e. life, life in a family, life in a world that expects bills on time . . . 
  2. the extra - which includes daily care (meals, driving, shopping, appointments) for elderly parent and the construction zone that stretches from  swamp-yard (dug up yet again - this time to locate a broken water pipe) and centers now on the innermost heart of my kitchen (of which I am not complaining, just taking into account.)  And all this two days away from the arrival of my parents, six days away from arrival of my Eldest, eight days away from the arrival of slavering hordes who are expecting something that looks like Thanksgiving dinner.
  3. the technical abyss - primarily, no pep-talks this year from NaNoWriMo.  I'm not sure why I'm not getting these daily cheers, but had initially shrugged Fine, this is a more serious project anyway. I'm not sure I need all that rah-rah atmosphere anyway . . . 
  4. the deathly seriousness - and so all the harder to commit clumsy words to the screen, harder because of the fear of trespass, fear of failure, fear that I'm not doing justice to the subject . . .
  5. the fear - (see Burning Houses) my constant writing companion anyway, both why I write and why I stop, this scab I pick at until I can't stand it and then cover it back up
  6. the loneliness - of writing without a real audience, without a jury of my peers (which is what I miss most from the writing group days), without any outside expectation (though this is also a great freedom - but freedom is so lonely and frightening), without chocolate and/or other stimulant
  7. the lack of outside stimulant - this I could change, I could, but I don't want the consequences of a month of at-desk nibbling, noshing - not just how it works upon my body but how it works on the writing, the shapeless, pointless manuscript that reeks of cocoa and desperation and is so largely worthless afterwards that revising is itself imponderable.  The whole point (I decided at the outset) is that this piece needs to be written out of sparseness, out of want, not swathed against the prickles with that cockaigne blanket of lard.
Oh it is hard, so hard.  But what is this . . .

In the midst of this my complaint to you, I open up the drawer of my ancient old metal desk looking for a pen to write down numbers from a phone message and what do I find?  (Ah, so that's where my bike chick button got to!  And lipstick? And - - - )

It is, I conclude, a message from my Muse who says:

Darlin', get over yourself, will you? 

This singing you call writing, it's just what humans do.  It's your own distinctive call.  How the rest of us know where you're perching.

Me and the rest of the universe, we love you, but stop fooling yourself, will you?  Stop worrying about doing the thing justice.  That's my job.  Your job is just to jab holes in the curtain to let my light through.

Each word is a pinprick.

Eat the chocolate, love.

And then write the words.

Stop slowing down the process with all the anti-.

And then, for emphasis, the Internet goes down for the rest of the day.  All I can do is write.  Not done yet for the day, but the chocolate kiss only lasts so long and I already need another small celebration -

forward motion!  onward!

9,257 words down  | 40,743 words to go


Lisa B. said...

I was going to protest when you said *no chocolate* and I thought, what? what does that even mean? I have no talent for self-deprivation. I'm not sure I could even do it.

My poems reek of crackers, almonds, potato chips and tea. Just so you know.

I am so pleased that that Kiss showed up out of nowhere.

Go, Emma J, GO!

ArtSparker said...

Really, dude. The sitting on the column in the desert thing can be overdone.

Emma J said...

Just call me Stylites.

But the view from here - it's so . . . so flat. Okay, I'm coming down.

Mrs. Organic said...

I didn't know there was any such thing as "without chocolate"

I mean, really?

Melody said...

Oh, my hell! (I save swear words for special occasions. It's even the Sabbath today so I might be doubly damned for typing it, please forgive if it offends, but I had to because . ..) This post is brilliant.

The muse, the computer, the drawer. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. The writer's group. Yeah, better than chocolate.

Linnea said...

"Eat the chocolate, love. And then write the words." Sheer inspiration!

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