So for about the last 5 years, the most writing I’ve been able to muster are intermittent blog posts (you can see how much so in all the old blogs here, I imported them from Blogspot), emails, and 2 poems. Both poems I wrote for specific purposes. I also started at least 10 stories, but didn’t finish any, and by started I mean I had an idea, or I wrote a sentence, or I jotted an image and some plot or character notes in a journal somewhere. I wrote paragraphs for a few, and several times looked through old, old stories for material to mine.
In my (fairly) new freelance life wherein I have a great deal of time to spend developing my ideas and writing like a crazy person, I have had to face some demons. I am happy to do this, but I’m out of practice.
In college when I couldn’t sleep I wrote, or when I was sad or happy or nervous or stressed. I wrote whether I had time or not, and then in about 2007 I decided it was time to commit myself to more serious/lucrative pursuits. So I took an uncharacteristic fatalistic approach and pretty much quit cold turkey. I think I had more affecting withdraw than when I quit smoking.
For the past 2 months or so, not only have I had to hang out with some feelings I’d swept under the rug of single motherhood, full time (+) employment, relationship development, and figuring out how to keep it all going, but I’ve remembered some things that I need to deal with that I haven’t been ready to deal with.
I went to a picnic at my mom’s house today. I just got home after driving through the Little League World Series traffic that made me want to kill every little league team in the world. I think it is irresponsible of their parents to let them play little league baseball with so many pedophiles around. It’s just immodest.
Anyway, I talked to a cousin who I haven’t had much congress with in the past decade, and we were recalling our youths, and 2 sort of painful things from high school came up. One of them, the more sore of the two, is manifesting itself in a novel I’m working on about this really wacky church music mafia (I know, captivating, right?) matriarch whose, um, absurd behavior toward myself, and any other sort of arty person in her church, really impregnated my sense of self at age 16 and my metric for appropriate adult responses to 16-year-old children (who are ambitious) with a pile of unhealthy and wrong notions.
The second thing was how I was bullied by a band of Heathers in high school about my then-in-question sexual orientation. Which is, of course, another thing that can really fuck with a teenage girl’s ability to think clearly about herself.
I had a stack of journals from that period that probably reached my knee. But I have since gotten rid of them, burned them, thrown them away, or decided not to move them (again). I wrote through all that crap at the time, and today, when I was sitting in a group of people who love me, I felt really naked and I recalled the incidences with greater clarity than I have in a long time.
Anyway, confronting all that stuff today made me really mad at my parents. I have some ideas about being a parent now that I do that, too, and when other grown ups shit all over your kid, you show up. You don’t write letters and skits and 15 years later pull your head out of your ass and take action, you handle that. Then. In the moment.
Of course, none of my parents’ errors are unforgivable. I was, after all, the first pancake. And neither of my parents are spectacular with confrontation. And even though I can now see clearly their limitations as adult human mammals, I feel like they should have made greater effort to stick up for me. Or talked to me about it, told me I wasn’t bad and wrong and an ineffective human. Or explained to me their reasoning for not switching churches. I think they assumed I knew that I wasn’t bad at life, and that I understood their reasons for staying in the church that had the music mafia. I think they assumed that I was tough enough to cope. Clearly not, since I’m now arguing with myself about how to think about all of this, and whether to be angry. And it’s 15 years later. And I’m a grown up who’s reasonably successful, well-educated, and introspective.
Writing, like the kind I’ll do more of tomorrow, and the kind I do now, again, happily and comfortably and soothingly, is like manna for the soul. It is compulsive and therapeutic and prevents me from plunging into the mire of dark moods and grumpiness. It keeps me even and hopeful and ready for the next crisis. That is why I do it, and why I will never again take five years off. I am home.