This past weekend I was dreading being all alone in weird Jersey, where I have a year-long teaching gig (my apologies to anyone from south jersey, but it is a strange and depressing place to me, a small time New Englander—the deep south of Savannah felt more “normal” than this state).
My teaching schedule gives me extra long weekends, which I can use to visit my honey in Savannah, or hole up and write. This was a hole-up weekend. It went like this:
Day One: moped about, walked the dog in the frigid cold, swam in the school pool and tried to work out some plot points while holding my breath under water and splashing about.
Day Two: pretty much the same, except after the swim I started picking at my book like an annoying scab, opening the wound and letting it bleed. It really hurt, and I went to bed in tears.
Day Three: Things got messy. I started wiping the blood up (seriously, that was the day I vacuumed, did the dishes, and waded through the reams of crumpled paper).
Day Four: I wasn’t planning to write on day four—it was reserved for class prep. But the wound was still oozing so I had to attend to it first. I spent most of the day covering the scab with a brand new dressing. By the time I went to bed I was exhausted and worn out, but felt good, like I had actually fixed something. This morning, it’s starting to heal. Now I can go in and teach.
Perhaps being stuck in the armpit of America is not so bad after all.
Who says being a writer isn't fun???!!
We missed you in January, Lisa.
Thanks, Lisa. I'm going to show your post to my daughter, who came home crying from her guitar lesson tonight because she wants to play guitar, but she's scared to practice. (She's a perfectionist.) With your post, I can tell her, see, being an artist is hard, but you just have to work through the pain and the doubt and all that. It's worth it.
Did I say it was worth it?
Save your daughter, tell her to be a nurse–then she'll actually get paid to heal wounds.
conflict is drama – right? who wants to live an inert, safe life? I admire your honesty and writing skills Lisa!
I do wish, daily, that my passion in life was for cosmetology or oral surgery or air conditioner repair. But, alas, it's too late for me, and I suspect it's too late for my daughter. She's fine with metaphorical blood, but real blood freaks her out.
I'm thinking to myself that guitar becomes the most important thing if it enables you to continue to be a nurse or mother or anything else life will require. The art we create is the staff of music that all those more important things like carreer hang on, in so many quarter notes, and when they fall away we find they weren't so important after all.