My mother and I have this tradition. Whether I’ve made my way to my childhood home in Long Island or she’s made her way to my cramped Brooklyn apartment, we always sit down and read my newest work, together. Today she sat on the sofa in my living room and gestured to my laptop, “Let’s read some of your new stuff.”
I was suddenly aware that I had nothing to read to her. The guilt and shame washed over me, as I thumbed through the Rolodex in my mind, remembering the madness of the previous week.
· My job is suddenly a constant revolution. My responsibilities are evolving and I often find myself battling a severe anxiety that I will get so lost in the 9 to 5, that writing will become a mere hobby.
· I’m incredibly tired. Once a night owl and insomniac, I can now be found slumbering on my couch, after a full day of work.
· We moved into a bigger apartment. Between a small feud with our landlord and a lot of “misplaced mail”, we finally made it here. I’m sitting in the living room and listening to the train slide by, technically deeming our new space a railroad apartment, but the rattling doesn’t bother me at all.
It’s good to hear life again. In the apartment, we used to be in, we were cut off from the outside world, descending into a space where hermits go to die. The new inspiration is exciting; the switch of train route brings along interesting potential characters, for the ride. The hustle and bustle, you aren’t privy to, in a predominately residential neighborhood, are words dancing in the air, waiting to split their pirouettes on paper.
So why the hell am I not writing?
I’ll tell you why.
Life swallows the writer.
It will convince you that you don’t have enough time to sit and scribe. It will whisper to you that writing is a pleasure, a menial task that can be done later. For some folks, this is exactly what it is. But what about the people who live and die by the pen? What about those who began to scribe, because it released the constraints on their being? What do they do when life takes over?
1) Conquer the intervals. I’ve convinced myself that there’s no time to write. However, I’ve forgotten the moments I’m idle: waiting in the car on someone, the train rides to and from work, and the dull moments in the conference room. I’ve become so accustomed to my office, that I’ve forgotten the spontaneity of an idea on a napkin. Those inklings are so precious and the next could have been a bestseller. I can’t afford that.
2) Demand time. I’m too pliable. I mold and bend my writing schedule to fit the needs of the folks that I love. I will learn the word “no” and the phrase “maybe some other time.”
3) Hold my passion on its pedestal. Unwavering. WRITING IS MY LIVELIHOOD, WITHOUT IT, I CAN’T LIVE. Believe this and nothing else.
These are the promises I’ve made my mother and myself this week. Guilt and shame shall no longer coincide with writing. Hold me to it? I hope so. I hate breaking tradition.