This last week I have not returned from work on time even once. Late nights, many errands, unplanned doctor visits, the world in a tumult and all schedules moved to hell’s hearth. And all this week, I have calmly looked over the time and energy left me, and chosen, consciously, what I would do that evening — usually eat and sleep. I have been calm and balanced; the things I did weren’t what I would have wanted, but they were the choices I made, and I knew I was making them. Nothing was foist on me.
It’s much easier to be calm when I remember that.
This morning Bridgette asked me what I wanted to do this weekend.
“I think I should write…while I can…I’m….
“I’m becoming sort of despairing. Like I should find another hobby, housework or something like that. Like, if I’m going to put so little time into the book, I should just admit that it won’t happen and try to move on.” She looked as if she had some things to say to that, but I wasn’t done. “So I think I should get up, check my email, have some tea, unplug the internet from the computer, and write. I should write a lot. So I can see that I will, even after a week without, sit down and write, and that I can do it, and kind of burn out the despair.”
I got smiles and pats on the head and breakfast made for me. And it was good. After a time, I was noticing that the despair was accompanied by frustration over that damnable chapter 2, irritation at taking so long and doing so little…a bunch of stuff. And I decided to do the writing equivalent of “running it all out” in roadwork, the equivalent of running past the cramps, past the shortness of breath, past the little thoughts of stopping, until the runner is just — running. I was going to do that, but with writing.
But there were things needing done.
Othello stepped up; he wished to go out with friends tonight, but the date was to be late-night, and he needed rides both ways. And money.
“I don’t want to stay up that late. But. I can be bought.” I told him about ‘running through it’, and the things I felt needed to be done today. “Here’s the deal. I’ll write. You be me. Not work in the way you would work, but the way I would, as if you courted self-destruction, and each task was balancing the sin in your soul. Be me so I can be someone who writes, and I’ll stay up late and play taxi.”
And so it was. Bridgette worked without me, ran errands without me, Othello worked like a man obsessed. The chores he did are done as I would have done them. And I wrote 1800 words (the first thousand very, very slowly, but steadily) and finished chapter 2. Chapter 2 will always suck, but it is a written chapter that may suck without my attention, now, until it’s time to rewrite.
The way it’s supposed to work … it works that way. Amazing.
Crossposted from Epinepherine & Sophistry