Thursday, January 20, 2011


“Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” - Henry James

I went on the retreat.

I got excited about shredding my manuscript and puzzling it back together better.

I worked eight hours a day, solidly, for three days - during which, I doubted everything about it, then got back to work.

Then got felled big time by a stomach bug.

Then came home and laid in bed for another two days, on yak prevention duty.

Then I felt better. Then I got excited again, but didn't have the time and space to get back on the horse - er - manuscript.

I paid attention to my kids. This made me happy, if slightly distracted because I wanted to write. But when with them, I was with them.

I cleaned my desk.

I got excited again.

This morning I had two hours to myself. I spread out the manuscript critiques. I opened the document to where I left off.  I went back to the beginning and started reading what I did during the retreat. I didn't finish. I was distracted eventhough no one else is here. I have about forty-five minutes left and feel like I failed.

But then I remembered how my writing process works. Fits and starts. And I know I haven't failed, but it's frustrating to want to work well and not be in alignment yet with what I need to do. And this is what takes me so long to write. I work internally, while I might seem like I'm doing nothing, or I'm complaining about not having the time and space, I am working on it all the time. Just not on paper, until I do. Then I work solidly for three days, a week, whatever, and then I crash.

And then I pull the start string on the lawnmower that is my mind about seventeen times before the ignition engages on paper or screen and then I am off and running again.  And as long I recognize this is my pattern, I'm okay. Somewhat dissatified, but Okay.

Besides, I can feel it bubbling below the surface which just means, maybe this afternoon, maybe tomorrow...maybe I will shoo everyone away from me when they are all back in the house, and I will write, even amidst the mayhem.

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