In between the bad poetry and the funding applications, there is other writing happening - one meta, one fanfic, one (continued) original.(Well, three continued originals, and vague thoughts of a Halloween ghost story fluttering about temptingly in the back of my head, but we shall see...too many words, too little focus, obviously.) I've decided that this? Is the year that I become a writer. As a lifestyle if not in any other respect. Wish me luck as you flee from the avalanche of my unfinished scrawlings.
(Also, does anyone else's year start in September, or is it just me? I blame a lifetime of educational timetables.) Whatever. Here are some words.
( Untitled SPN fic; pre-series, gen )
( Louise is lost at the canyon, or, the interminable NaNo part ? )
( Why Every Girl Should Own a Carolyn Mark Album )
Poll time: Am I:
a) exceedingly limited in my imagination?
b) a genius auteur?
c) a slightly less than genius auteur?
d) oh, look! fanfic!
Also, today's terrible joke, courtesy of my father:
HIM: Have you seen Stevie Wonder's new piano?
HIM: That's okay, neither has he.
I find this inexplicably cheering.
"Should reach New Abilene by nightfall." said Theo, stirring rice.
"Mm-hmm." Jane leaned back against the knobbly tree trunk and let her eyes unfocus until the horizon became a swirl of blue and green and gold. She dug the telegram out of her pocket (her fingers had begun to smudge it), and unfolded it.
Marshall, she read, Van Fleet and Crusoes on warpath Stop.Could use backup Stop
She looked up from it to find Theo smirking at her. His long nose was suited to it. "It say anything different this time around?"
She smirked back. "Yeah. Starbuck says to tell Jones he can go way back and sit down."
Theo spat out a small stone from a mouthful of rice.. "Starbuck wouldn’t pay to say all that."
"Doubt he’d pay anyways."
"Damn One O’Clockers and their expenses. Somethin’ ain’t right there. Why can we never file expenses, Jane?"
They ate in amicable silence. When Jane could feel herself drifting into an afternoon food and sun stupor, she reached over and tugged gently on Theo’s tail. "C’mon Jonesy, let’s shake some dust."
"Pull my tail again, and Marshall or no, I will plug you."
"Big talk from a guy with short ears."
"My ears are not short!" Theo patted at them protectively.
"Short ears," she said, and reached over and flicked his ears inside out, and bounced to her feet before he could whomp her.
"Rodeo ass." he said indignantly.
She burst out laughing. "Rodeo ass? What does that even mean?"
"I don’t know. It sounded better in my head."
They packed and mounted and rode out into the afternoon.
There are days when I look at my life and I think, with terrible clarity : This is it. This is my life. I?work at a job which is tolerable and which is tolerably paid (though not enough for rent to never not be a scramble), without a partner, though with good friends, without siblings, though with good parents (and what happens when they’re gone, when I have no children?) What if it never changes? What if this is all there is, until I’m just dead and forgotten dirt in the ground. The sheer fright of that is breathtaking. And then I cling to Rhys’ quote, and to Katharine Mansfield’s struggling with words and her sense of self, and to Elizabeth von Armin mocking the Man of Wrath and Virginia Woolf’s parable of Shakespeare’s sister and eloquent arguments for financial and mental liberation, Ann Patchett realising that she had become a waitress with a graduate degree and the need to write herself out of one life and into another one. All of these women, all of them, with their fierce conviction that writing will save them, is the only thing that can save them, and I mumble their words over and over in my head on the grounds that waving is better than drowning. Where does this conviction come from, this knowledge that words are the hurricane lamp for when the lights go out? Maybe because writing is at heart an expression of the self, and you’re the only person who can save you although everybody will help you, some people are very kind - but love from others will only get you so far, and then you’re on your own, little bunny. And for women in particular, the issue of self expression is still as knotted and complex as it was when Woolf was writing.
Maybe my life will be what I want it to be, but I can’t sit back and wait for it to happen, I have to make it happen. As my father says, the bell only rings once for the start of the race, kiddo, and you don’t want to be limping coming out of the gate. Will writing without publication, with an exhausting day job that leaves me scrabbling to pay the rent, with a minimal pension fund at the end of my days, probably without a partner or children, be enough to get me round the track?
Question: Can you change, can you adapt enough to keep swinging each time life throws you a curveball even if you know you’re striking out? More importantly, can you remain kind throughout?