Scintillating Prose

I’ve been sick for what feels like ages even though I guess it’s only been a week, really. Went back to work full time today, swallowing my antibiotics and wiping my nose. I’ve had to skip circus and parties and Cut Copy and all sorts of things: too tired to do anything but stagger home, gulp down some pita and hummus and yogurt, and throw myself dramatically on the 80% couch within reach of some tissues. No idea if I’ll make bowling tomorrow. It gets dark so early now, it seems perfectly natural to go to bed at 8:00 pm anyway.

I’ve had all this free time, this past week, which gave me plenty of opportunities to notice that I don’t want to write here much lately. It’s not that I have nothing to say: I am still pretty addicted to Facebook even though I no longer update my status four times a day because it is no longer 2008, and I write long emails to friends just like in the late nineties, and I still write in my paper journal as I have for the past twenty-four years. It’s hard to accept that writing here feels like a bit of a chore, now, like it seems like something to check off a guilt-ridden to-do list, along with scrubbing out the bathtub, instead of something that I thought about all the time and couldn’t wait to get home to do. When did that happen? Why did it happen? Is it Twitter’s fault?

Sometimes it feels like the actual sitting down and putting some words on paper is the hard part; thinking up something to write and then writing it. This is weird to think about because it’s not like I create characters or a plot, or check facts or cite sources or anything like that—all I do here and all I’ve ever done, is just basically look out the window and write down what I see, the way I see it. Ta da! It’s not special. It’s not hard.

It’s not hard, exactly, but it is a little boring, for me and maybe for you too. I don’t do very much at this juncture—after moaning for most of last year about how hard and stressful everything was, I got what I wanted: peace and quiet, which does not make for very scintillating prose. I go to work and I go to the store and to circus and to yoga and to parties and to gigs—those things are also, hilariously, why I will make excuses about not having time to write, as well. They are too interesting to tear myself away from in order to sit in front of the laptop, apparently, but they’re not intriguing enough to write about on that very same laptop.

But what I really want to write about—and what I do write about, to myself in my paper journal and to my friends on email—is all the little things, which means who is doing what with whom and how and when and omg did you SEE what HAPPENED at the PARTY and girl, here is my theory, here is my analysis of this situation, here it is in bullet-point form. Here is my commentary on that analysis, of all the people I know and what they do and what I think about what they do, and what I think might happen if they do something else, all the possibilities and the ramifications thereof and ooooh, did you HEAR? You didn’t? Let me tell you!

This is precisely the sort of thing that I like writing about best. It’s also the sort of thing that takes up a huge percentage of my available brain power. (I think possibly that this makes me thirteen years old). It just isn’t the sort of thing I would write about publicly, even though I think it’s pretty much the most interesting thing in the world.

I don’t want writing prompts. I don’t want pseudonyms. I don’t want to stop writing altogether.

I really don’t want to be writing a blog post (in my head I still sometimes think of them as ‘journal entries’) about how it’s so hard to think of what to write and what will people think if I don’t update for a week and I’m just so over everything and it’s all very distressing because this is a big deal, it’s my blog, okay?

So how, while I’m thinking about it, do you balance your recognition that yours is just a tiny little blog and that it’s sort of not exactly fine literature, with your understanding that this is something important for you to do, even when you can’t do it. How do you find a way to accept that this is not actually a big deal in the grand scheme of life, but it’s a maybe-at-least-medium deal in your little life? And how do you account for the fact that you’ve thought all these thoughts soooooo maaaaaaannnyyyy tiiiiiiimmmmmmeeessss befooorrreeee? And still haven’t come to any good solution, no matter how often you make the same excuses?

How do you not just default to “Who cares? It doesn’t mean anything.”

The sun’s been down for four hours and I’m chilly and sleepy and coughy, still, a little. Wednesday night with the laptop. My nose is irritated from wiping it, my room is a mess. It matters, it doesn’t matter. All of it matters, none of it matters: the hot water bottles already between the flannel sheets, my crappy toenail paint job, the DVD I meant to watch tonight. The greys in my hair. This is it, right? Whether I choose to write about it where people can read it, or not.

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3 comments

  1. I’ve been there, too.

    Just wanted you to know that I know how it feels (y’know?).

    Remember: this, too, shall pass. All of it — the cold, the malaise. And sometime in the not-so-distant future, you’ll write a fabulous post about your visit to Melbourne!

  2. I am in agreement with Theresa, above–this feeling will pass. (We all get it.) I must also add that I really enjoy reading your journal entries about the quotidian details of your life, which aren’t really so quotidian for people who don’t travel, who don’t make huge and transformational changes in their lives, as you have. I find your travel stories pretty inspirational!

  3. I hope you are feeling better. There is nothing like a cold to make the days seem grey! Also as you edge toward winter it is easy to fall into a malaise. It happens to me every year during the winter.

    I too love reading about life in New Zealand. I thank you for your williness to share your life!

    Susan