Open bags of chocolate mock my gurgling stomach. The heater, a cheap little job that the landlord anchored right next to an uninsulated glass patio door, does its best to keep it’s little corner warm while the warped plastic blinds usher the cold toward its thermostat. Another cheap addition to this little rent house, the blinds provide privacy for approximately one square foot in this room. Otherwise, they sprinkle the cold tile floor with light during the day, and reveal murky shadows and distant headlights at night.
I turn off the Margaret Atwood collection I’m listening to as I surf the net. I think I have an idea of her style now, but still not sure I like it. The one about the duchess poem is interesting but somehow, unfulfilling. What a letdown this day has been. In an hour I’ll need to start packing, but of course, I won’t. Instead, I’ll be up most the night doing laundry I should have done earlier, reading things I can’t put down, and drumming up story ideas in my mind that I’ll fail to write, and eventually forget. I suppose a story idea is like a fish of keeping-size to a writer, and should never be let off the hook. I’m not sure if I’m lazy or just resigned to the futility I feel about it all.
I’m not completely fatalistic. I have been taking steps, you know. I’m reading “in bulk” now. Restricted myself to only two nights a week with my old pal, Netflix. Took an online course on “Advanced Fiction Writing,” and actually learned a few things. Learned a few tricks, more like. And I have experienced the satisfaction of another “final exam” victory. Didn’t think I’d have that fun ever again. Today I actually signed up for another class – “The Craft of Magazine Writing.” It hasn’t even started and I learned that I can write an article about something without being an expert on it. Funny how I knew that already from reading articles, but didn’t spell it out in my head until I read it in the course introduction.
So what’s the big damn deal? It’s this nagging alter-ego – “alter-me” I call it, that keeps whimpering around my shoulders that I’m already getting old. “Note the frequent heartburn and faster pacing to the bathroom.” it taunts, “You can’t even remember ‘its’ versus ‘it’s’ without checking every other week.” I wish this menace were corporeal so I could just reach around and strangle it. But alas, it’s a fragment of me. Only not me. I’m going to make this writing lifestyle work. I have skills; I’m brilliant; and I have a partner who reminds me of this (in different words) all the time. I’m at a time and place, in my life and geographically, that appears to be primed to make this happen.
So why am I letting this bitch – “self-doubt” get to me? It’s just a matter of time. And it suddenly becomes clear. There’s the rub. It IS just a matter of time. I’ve never been good with time. Waiting for it frustrates me and missing it depresses me. “The moment” is not my forte. I write best in present tense, but I sure don’t live it well. My transformation from a workaholic in the youth work world to a freelance writer with a novel in my back pocket isn’t scheduled to happen until January 2015 at the earliest … March 2015 at the latest. All efforts to make progress toward being published, even just “token” published, are slow-going. I don’t like slow. Visions of cancer, or heart issues, or some other crazy thing popping up and preventing this dream, niggle at my subconscious. In turn, my alter-me is generated and promotes the negativity campaign on a regular basis.
I feed it chocolate and keep writing.