I used to could write. I used to actually be quite good at it. I thought I wasn’t, of course. Isn’t that always how it is? It’s like when I look at old photos of myself. At the time, I thought they were hideous, but I look back and wonder what I was thinking. Look at me now. Much worse. I don’t think I’ll look back on this writing and find it anything wonderful. First of all, I rarely do it anymore, if at all. The talent buried in the backyard or, if not buried, neglected. I have a tab open on my computer that has been there for weeks. It’s a story I started about a girl I knew in junior high. I felt an uncommon urge to write it when I started, but then got distracted by life and the urge waned, so there it sits. A bell binks, a voice calls, “Mama!” A dog barks in a way that says someone is here. Something anything nothing calling me away from doing this and so the talent wanes, if indeed it is a talent at all. Have discipline, all the books say. What the books don’t mention is that even when one is disciplined about making the time, if the urge to say something meaningful isn’t there, then the words that come are not very good. Maybe that’s part of the discipline, to suck at it most of the time? I don’t know. I don’t know. I just don’t know.
I am beginning to think about shutting down my blog. I started it at a very different time in my life. I have since climbed many mountains, and have fallen off many steep cliffs. And while I remember what life was like in the foothills, wind blowing my hair about, cheeks rosy from exertion, these eyes are not those naive eyes of yesteryear. I am another person. Back then, I discovered that when I wrote for an audience, I found a voice. The words poured forth from my fingers and brain. I couldn’t get enough. Then, as the mountains grew steeper and more treacherous, it became more and more difficult to find that voice. For a long time it was time that kept me from writing here.
Now it is something different. I no longer have any desire for an audience. Sometimes when a person climbs many mountains, and they fall off many cliffs, clinging to the edges with a lone finger, barely hanging on, each breath a tremor that could make them tumble to their death on the stones below, pieces of them don’t make it. Parts of them are not able to climb up onto that ledge when they manage to find their way back onto their path. In my case, I lost whatever part of my ego felt the need for an audience.
And so, here I am. When I write, I don’t want to share it with the world. I write for myself. When I write for an audience, I feel such an urge to censor that the writing becomes stilted and confined. I don’t like stilted and confined. It does not agree with me.
I have until October to make this decision. It is then that the annual renewal is due. I am mulling it over. I shall see.
Writing is a habit, and I’ve lost my habit. I’m a naked nun. I still have the thoughts I want to write, I just don’t write them. Many circumstances have contributed to this state of affairs: a baby who is now a small child (and heading into being a medium child), a teenager with activities and no driver’s license (but a bus pass, thank goodness) two jobs, two horses (and dogs, cats, and rabbits), a smartphone with Solitaire on it, my own house, a garden (a rather large garden), and books, always so many books (although that never stopped me before I lost the habit).
So here I am, habit-less and not really sure how to get it back because the external circumstances that make finding time to rebuild the habit still remain. Solitaire is easy to ditch, but not so much the rest and some of it I don’t want to ditch (priorities, you know).
Maybe it’s timing. I’ll just have to find the right time and hope I don’t die before that happens, because I do love writing. It is an outlet. It helps me to clarify my thoughts, even in fiction. It’s self satisfying. The urge can be overwhelming when the muse wants out. But it’s like exercise sometimes, and even though I know it’s good for me, and even though I know I’ll feel better after doing it, after slogging through the other tasks I must attend to, and performing the tasks I love attending to, it’s hard to muster the initiative to begin when bed beckons. Plus there is the matter of insomnia, my constant companion. She makes all tasks a slog, even those I love, except sleep. When I urge her to leave, she becomes morose and recalcitrant. How can you want to leave me? she inquires. “Oh, darling,” I reply, “Ours is a love-hate relationship; you love me, and I hate you.”
At this point I will keep it in my sights to build the habit again. I had a bit of trouble finding that verb, build. I typed get into, then erased it. Then I typed work at, and erased it. Build works. I’ll work to build the habit again sometime soon. For now, Oliver my poodle is lying on my shoulder snoring. Isabel has her warm legs pressed against mine, and George is curled near my feet. Insomnia visited for two hours in the wee hours this a.m., and the thought of hunkering down and going back to sleep wins.
My brain feels as if it has lost the capacity to write. In the lack of practice, I have lost an ease that allowed me to sit and compose and produce something of substance within a rather short amount of time. Having gone from being compressed most moments to actually having some freedom of time, I have not adapted. My brain doesn’t get it. It’s like something that has been squished into a package for so long it retains the shape long after the package has gone. I’ve gone hiking several times, went on a 3-day backpacking trip, have been riding really regularly and reading actually quite a lot, and still the brain is only gradually unscrunching itself. It’s not sure what to do. I suppose I’ll have to get into practice again. Perhaps if I write tidbits like this one I’ll get there. As it is, right now I just want to brush my teeth and crawl into bed with my three dogs.
The Quiet Life
by Alexander Pope
Happy the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire;
’Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter, fire.
Blest, who can unconcern’dly find’
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day;
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix’d, sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
Oh, boy! 10 readers today. I keep waiting for the day I reach 100,000 total reads. I’m close; less than a thousand to go, and all I want to do is shut this thing down. I don’t write anymore, not really, and especially not on this blog. My posts get shorter and shorter. I used to write pages and pages. Now it’s a paragraph here and there every few weeks. I don’t have any real urge to communicate my thoughts to other people. I don’t care what people think of me. I never thought of myself as egoist, but in having lost the desire to write for an audience, I have realized that I was somewhat of an egoist. Maybe not in a blatant self-promoting sort of way, but it was there. I came up with excuses for my need for an audience. Artists paint for an audience. Dancers dance for one. Why shouldn’t I want to write for one? Not sure, but whatever itch I had has been scratched. Maybe it’s the futility of it all, knowing full well that in the scheme of things I’m the spot on the ass of the flea on the back of the hair on the dog on the bump on the log in the hole in the bottom of the sea. But it’s more than that. Something shifted and I really do not desire an audience at all, so really, what is the point of this? There isn’t one. I’ll reach 100,000 views and I won’t even give a shit.
Blogging has changed significantly since I started this. It was more fun back then. People actually communicated with one another via blogs. I met some cool people who commented on my blog and I read and commented on theirs. Now it’s all facebookified, with “likes” and “following,” which is just another marketing tool. I really can’t stand it.
It has passed its prime. Maybe I’ll wait until I pass that mythical 100,000 views, then shut the whole thing down. We shall see.
My god, I’m such a cliché. I have been so busy with nonsense for weeks and weeks on end, I can’t even remember life with pauses. I don’t want a life running. I like the pauses, but circumstances haven’t worked in my favor.
There is a problem with sliding through life like it’s a giant luge. Time passes more quickly. I don’t want to get to the end yet; I want to experience now and not get whiplash watching it disappear in a blur as I pass it by (could one sentence be filled with more clichés, just like me?).
One consequence of this Speedy Gonzalez existence is the same byproduct I’ve lamented in many posts. No writing here. I have even considered just shutting it down, but even that takes time I don’t want to spend that way. So here I am again, saying nothing and the same thing. BORRRRRING.