Saturday, October 31, 2009

When not everything is rosy

Dear dears,

It's All Hallows' Eve and National Novel Writing Month eve to boot (more about that later), and it's now or never (my fingers first typed Now or November) if I want to blog once more in October.

I was thinking a lot about some things I wanted to blog a couple of weeks ago - I went down into a kind of difficult and not so productive, not so happy, place. And it occurred to me that I am usually relentlessly up, upbeat, trying to be productive and better myself, and that everything I do is in the service of that - or at least that is the narrative being produced around here.

And so I really wanted to try to blog from the depths of the (let me not dramatize too much - it can't have been too terrible because I don't even exactly remember it right now, I just remember it because I remember thinking about the blogging) formless, somewhat frustrating place I was in.

Aha, I remember now what it was: I didn't have any editorial work from outside for a couple of weeks. I had been working on some websites with the help of my friend/mentor/consultant Ellen, and I had told her I was going to continue on my own for a while, but that was proving difficult. And so, after I got Felix off to school and went for my (WONDERFUL) morning walk with my ladies, there was no particular shape to my days, no deadlines, nothing exactly and specifically and particularly I had to do just then.

So I puddled and dawdled and overate and futzed around online and was dissatisfied with myself and thought about blogging from that state. But blogging was one more productive and positive thing I wasn't doing!

Here's the Alice in Wonderland part - of course, as soon as I was meeting Ellen again and getting the websites in shape and the editorial work was also coming in and I was feeling happily bustly again and had the energy, the good positive energy, that would have let me happily blog - well then there was NO TIME! (Alice in Wonderland reference in brief: when she's small enough to fit through the door to the garden, she's way too short to reach the key; when she's tall enough to reach the key on the high table, she's way too big to fit through the door.)

So there it is. Tonight I am suspended between one time pressure and the next, and tomorrow a grand new adventure begins, so I wanted to send out word before I went sweeping down into it. Tomorrow is November, and with it begins NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, so wish me luck please as I am about to go try to write 50,000 words in 30 days again like I did last year (except hopefully better!).

And tomorrow is also the beginning of the month in which I am going to visit my parents in California for 10 days, and belatedly celebrate my father's 80th birthday (happy belated birthday again, Daddy!), and stop in on friends in Berkeley.

And tomorrow also starts the month when I'm on jury duty for a week.

So the good news is - there's lots to do and not so much time to go wallowing in any doldrums. Bad news is - not quite enough time maybe for all there is to do. The ankle I twisted six days ago now is healing well, the many pounds I gained in the first four days of not walking on it I am trying to embrace for now and get ready to send back out into the world again, this morning I worked for a couple of hours on plans for the November novel and I'm ready, I'm ready!

I still don't know how, necessarily, to write from the doldrums. Maybe next time they come around I can grab the downbeat moment and wrest some words from it. There has to be a way, I was going to say a trick but I don't even really mean a trick, just a way to do that without it being about asking for pity. But I don't know that way just yet.

Still juicily awaiting the future, such topics as:

- balancing sociability and aloneness (thank you Beth for many wonderful conversations and modeling on this topic)
- writing as a mood-altering process and therefore how can you write about a mood? (see above)

For now, it's Halloween. Slowly outside the light is getting darker and the clumps of trick-or-treaters are getting more frequent - little groups of two to five tinies with two to five grownups, and candles and flashlights and treat bags. This year we're hiding out and hoping against hope they don't come here, since we're going out a couple of different directions but haven't left yet. The porch light isn't on, the Jack o'Lantern isn't out, and the walkway is absolutely covered and smothered in thick loads of brown crackly leaves, and so far everyone has crossed the street and gone over to sociable hospitable Jenny and Michael across the street instead - we haven't had to turn off all the inside lights and hide in the basement the way we thought we might, but that may still come.

Happy Halloween all, and happy November!


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