Saturday, November 07, 2009

Meet the Writer: Unedited, Transparent, and Utterly Flawed

Alone I sit. A cup of hot tea, cigarette lit, resting in an ashtray, my desk cluttered with papers, bills, mind cluttered with unforgiving thoughts toward myself for accomplishing nothing, both now and in my past. I don't suppose I can exactly say that I accomplished "nothing," but rather nothing of any consequence in fulfilling the longing in my soul to create something that is wholly me...that reflects my soul, my passion.

I'm 46. I recognize that this is mid-life crisis mode for me. I'm quite sure that it's a common theme of thought for many my age. Yet knowing I'm not alone in my grief and yearning...sure isn't giving me much comfort.

Over the past few months I have traipsed through a myriad of "interests" trying to find something to DO that will either make money for me and my family (god knows Sharon would probably love to have more help supporting us), the very find something to do that will squelch this incessant gnawing need in my soul to express itself somehow. I have an HD camcorder, software for making videos, a new classical guitar, a tiny keyboard, my journal here, books stacked around the room...maybe I thought just SEEING all of this stuff would inspire me. Sharon is an angel to tolerate me. No...I mean REALLY.

I can't even call this "tortured artist syndrome" because I have not BEEN an "artist" for so long now, that I can't even conjure up a simple creation to share with my CATS, let alone another human being. So I'll just be honest and call it mid-life crisis that is teetering on depression. Yes...I suppose if I have to admit it...I've probably been manic, clamouring for things, running after every idea as though it were some fairytale salvation of sorts, never accomplishing anything real in the process, and driving everyone around me insane. I feel as if I don't fit in the world in any useful way any more. I've always had an undercurrent of that feeling throughout the entirety of my life, but's like a ravenous perches on my shoulder waiting for the next piece of dead flesh to drop.

It's ugly, it's mean, it's scary...and it's where I am right now.

You can't write about anything hopeful when you're feeling this way. Music soothes me, but I can't hide in it long enough to make everything else I feel go away for more than the length of time the music is playing. And if I take my focus off the songs...the wolf comes back to devour any hope that I've gained. I feel trapped. I'm caged within my own soul, my own body, and in this apartment. And the by choice. I don't WANT to go outside. I don't want to be out there and see, under a looking useless I really am compared to every other single person that is living out there and really LIVING.

I have no self-discipline. I am lazy. And lazy people just don't accomplish much. These are the "sins" that will crush my dreams. I'm not even sure I know what my dreams are anymore. Well okay...that's not entirely true. I want to WRITE. But I want to write something someone will READ and gain something FROM. I don't want to just sit here and endlessly type rubbish into a machine that has no response to me either negative or positive.

I want to write something that will come to LIFE and have a being of it's OWN. I want to GIVE BIRTH. Maybe...just maybe...what I am going through is a creative pregnancy. I certainly FEEL moody, pained, disturbed, sick....yup, I feel pregnant.

The greatest problem with all of this, for me, is that I don't feel I have a lot of TIME. I don't feel I have the luxury of seemingly endless years, the way I felt when I was oh...15. Now the clock is ticking and I don't work well under pressure. At least that's been my experience in the past. Pressure tends to paralyze me, and what I'm feeling, in part.

Maybe after this M.R.I. on Monday...maybe this won't be so intense. I've not told anyone...not a soul...but I have some fear about the M.R.I. and that fear is that I may have something very very wrong with me. Oh sure...that's probably grossly melodramatic. I don't know. But many things have run through my mind. Things like bone cancer, leukemia, a tumor now I stop to light another cigarette. Maybe I've always had a secret death wish...a sort of under-stated suicidal nature somewhere within. A lot of my life would tend to appear confirming of that diagnosis. But my conscious not ready to die. And every fiber of who I am inside...resists that idea.

It's funny to me, that every time I am in crisis mode of any sort in my life...I always gravitate back to the music and poetry of Stevie Nicks. It's like...somewhere in what she writes...I find ME...that part of me that longs, that yearns, that dreams, that WANTS to reach for me. And yet that girl...that young girl...she's buried so deep within me that I can't REACH her anymore. I feel myself stretching my arms to her and trying desperately to grab hold of her hands, but she won't reach BACK to me. She just sits there...a semi-blank stare on her face. The only emotion I see there is sorrow, and she's looking sadly at me as though I have betrayed her and she no longer trusts me. I promised her so many things throughout the course of our life, and I never made good on the promises. And now...she resents me, a little, and grieves...a lot. And she is far too fearful of more heartache to reach back to me. But she sits and listens to Stevie too. And I hear her humming...she's still hungry...she still wants more, but she doesn't trust ME to feed her.

Amazing that I can write so much about so little. I talk the same way. I can ramble on endlessly about things that don't matter in the least. Well...all of this matters, but not to anyone but me. And to try to explain these feelings to Sharon or someone that is just doing what they have to do to SURVIVE another day at work...just makes them hate me for having the time to even THINK about this kind of shit. I mean...Sharon doesn't have TIME to sit and debate about what she should "do with the rest of her life." She's busy supporting our family and doing those needful things that are really TRULY important. Oh sure...they might not leave a lasting impression on the "rest of the world," but they leave a lasting impression on me and Darren. Her gift is giving US life. And that...that's something vital and important. And even though it might not seem like much to's a whole whole lot to me. Perhaps I have a lot more to learn from her about being few...being just as vital as being important to many.

You know, a few years back, there was a class reunion for my graduating high school class. I didn't go. I didn't go because I didn't want to answer the question, "So what do you DO?" I didn't really want to hear the answers from my classmates either, when someone asked THEM that. But's not so much that I care what OTHER people think of what I "do," but that it's become a painful wound to me. I don't "do" anything. I don't even think that journaling can allow me to claim to be a writer. I haven't "given anything" to the world. I haven't contributed in some important way. Oh sure, I raised a son to the ripe old age of 13. I wasn't a great mother. I was passable, but it wasn't a talent, that's for sure. And I made many mistakes with him...of course, we all do, with our children. But outside of that...I have really done nothing.

So here I sit...typing away...longing to "be a writer," and indeed "writing," but unfulfilled, because I want my writing to MATTER. I want SOMETHING I do to matter. If I leave this world without having written whatever it is that I am here to write...then I have failed. And I feel ever so close to that becoming a reality. And I am scared.

You know, I would like to be able to write a very raw, poignant account of a life that has been scarred by drug abuse, moved by the beauty of the world, and motivated by the desire to touch others in a meaningful way, but that little girl...she won't reach back...she refuses, because I have let her down too many times before and without her...I cannot connect the dots. I cannot paint the landscapes. I cannot sing the songs, write the poems, I cannot claw my way up out of this well without her, and I cannot stay here, for we shall both drown.

I don't know where the story starts. I don't know where it ends. I don't even know what the ligaments are that connect the structure of the body. The ligaments, fibers, cells, that make up this life...are disconnected...scattered, broken...a kaleidoscope of tortured images. My memories are fractured. The fog of past drug abuse has made ordering the visions in my mind near to impossible. I can't remember when and where so MANY things happened. Details are fuzzy, emotions are numbed. And through all the recent past years that I have NOT been illegally drugged, I have been LEGALLY drugged because of this illness, and it has not rendered my memory any better, but rather it seems to have made it so so much worse. I'm actually not sure that the medications haven't done FAR more damage to me than all the years of other crap. No one to blame for any of that one but me.

I suppose that I could put all of my writing, no matter how trite and unimportant, on my blogs and just call it good. Maybe once every few months someone will accidentally happen by and read it. If I'm very very lucky, perhaps they'll leave a comment and I'll know that at least someone READ what I wrote. But the dreams of fame (no matter how small the "fame")...yes, I suppose that's what they are...or something akin to that, anyway...those dreams are probably just childish fantasies and I have to be honest with myself...they will probably never come to fruition.

I am ONE middle-aged homemaker in a world full of ridiculously talented people who are able to tell THEIR stories in much more polished and powerful ways, and I cannot compete in that realm. I am so not in their league. I am one voice in a sea of voices, and the entire world will go on when I pass, as if I never was, and there is not a damn thing that I can do about that. My family...or what is left of them then...they will notice my absence. But by and large, I will pass from this world without fanfare, without a blink, without anyone except them, ever knowing what I felt, what I experienced, what I thought, what I dreamed, what I believed, and how amazing and beautiful life really me. That is just the inescapable truth for all but the tiniest percentage of people on this planet. And it is a desperately sad truth...for us all. Because wonderful, and beautiful, and full of wisdom and truth that would heal many hearts...will die. And their story will never be heard, will never be known, and the beauty of all that they learned in their life will be lost. And we ALL will lose just a little something because of that, but...we won't even know we lost it.

And perhaps that is why, people like Stevie, are so loved and revered. Because somewhere inside all of us...we know the truth. We know that we will pass from this life without ever being able to tell our stories. So we look to Stevie, and others, to tell them FOR us. And when we hear them sing, see their paintings, or read their words, and RELATE to them...perhaps we feel that somehow, in some way...someone heard at least a part of US in that, and that we were, if even for a moment, understood.

In my mind...I am like Stevie...twirling across that stage, draped in chiffon and lace, the free spirit, abandoning my fears, pouring my heart out, touching thousands of people, letting them know that they are LOVED...that someone cares deeply for them...singing their stories...telling the world that THEY matter. Has anyone ever written anything for you? Yes...someone has. And I hear her singing. She touches my bruised and battered heart with the gentleness of butterfly's wing, and in that touch...I begin to heal. And that will probably have to be enough...unless...

I can I pick up the torch...not as a singer, but as a writer, and use the gift that God has given do the same. Can some of us pay it forward, can some of us jump into that flowing river of truth, and ride it with sincerity of purpose, taking others into that warm ocean tide of healing as we go? Can I....?


*This entry gets to the HEART of why I want to write. It may sound grandiose and delusional (and perhaps it is), but I want to be a voice for others that have no voice. The ordinary, the housewife, the guy that's working 9 to 5 and has so much to say, but isn't eloquent with words, the teenager reeling from the heartache of that lost first love, the drug addict gripped in addiction, running from pain, because her heart is so sensitive that it gets crushed under the weight of this life...the one that longs to be free, but doesn't know how to cry anymore. This...this is my passion. And it's an enormous weighty thing, and I don't know where to begin...but it's all in the world that I want outside of my family. I want to paint, with words, the beauty of our souls...all of our souls. We are all survivors, artists, creators...every one of us. It's just that many of our songs go unsung, our words go unspoken, our stories go untold.*


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