“Insanity: repeating the same action over and over again, and expecting different results.”  Einstein

“But the worst enemy you can encounter will always be you, yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caves and woods.”  Friedrich Nietzsche


Insert image here of Wiley Coyote flattened against a wall, or falling over a cliff, or blowing himself up one more time and appearing singed, hairless, and dejected.

This, my friends, is me.

Reality is a locale that I avoid.  It is an inhospitable world, one in which I feel alien and outcast.  But every now and then, my Muse gets together with whatever demon was charged with tormenting me into personal growth, and they drag me, kicking and screaming, through those oh so solid gates and lock me in.  My repeated head plants into the wall do nothing to extricate me from the situation, and eventually I figure out what it is I need to learn.

In case anyone has noticed, I have been increasingly frustrated with my writing of late.  I angst over lack of time, over slow progress, over my inability to write what I think I should, or could, be writing.  The sheer pleasure in the act of creation, in mastering this craft, got lost somewhere along the way.  Over the last two days, after dashing myself repeatedly against the very solid walls surrounding the land of reality, a certain amount of logic has finally pierced my slow and unwilling writer brain.

Things have changed.

Once upon a time, not that long ago, when I got up at 5 am to journal or yoga or write, I was alone and undisturbed, with at least an hour and a half before anybody else dared to enter my personal space.  On my days off, I was alone and free to write or do whatever else I wanted after the kids went off to school  All distractions, digressions, and procrastinations were at my own discretion and under my control.  Until one day, both of my darling children announced that they wanted to be in jazz band – a zero hour class that started at 7 am.  This shortened the morning solitude significantly.  Child #1 then decided that 5:30 was the optimal time for him to get up and have a shower.  My wonderful and beloved partner, who used to leave for work at 4 am, got laid off and began getting up with me at 5.  Days off involved the presence and distraction of somebody I love to spend time with; somebody who needs an extra pair of hands for a project here, and wants to go for lunch there, and is just generally bored and wanting to go do things. 

My response?  Going on as if nothing had changed.  Getting up at 5 and expecting alone time, despite repeated proofs that this just wasn’t in the cards for the day.  (Speaking of cards, the tarot tried to help me out, repeatedly giving me advice and sneaky little hints about change, and the end of something, and letting go and moving on to something new.)  On days off, I continued to expect long, unbroken stretches of writing.  Rather unrealistic, considering that the house we live in is completely open, and anybody else inhabiting it, unless locked in a crypt, is going to make appearances and engage in conversation and want to know what happened to those left overs that got shoved into the back of the fridge last night.

I ceased to enjoy anything.  When I was writing, I felt guilty that I wasn’t engaging with my partner or my children.  When I was hanging out with various family members, I felt guilty that I wasn’t writing.  I would set improbable goals and then beat myself up for failing to meet them.  More recently, I sank to beating up my very supportive and dearly loved man person.  Okay, I didn’t hit him or anything, but I did blame him for something that is in no way, shape, or form, his fault.

Insanity.  What my brief sojourn in the town of reality has taught me is that it is time to accept the changes and adapt.  Writing time may need to be more scheduled, with clear and explicit boundaries.  I can’t expect people in my world to know whether I’m twittering or blogging or deeply involved with a difficult scene if I don’t tell them.  And my usual writing station at the kitchen table, in the center of an open plan house is just begging everybody to interact at will.

Thus it is that I have moved my desk and my computer into the mud room.  Not the room of one’s own that every writer dreams of, I suspect.  There is a huge window and a french door between me and the rest of the house.  The sound of pianos and guitars and TV sitcoms is dimmed, but not shut out.  I’m surrounded by shoes and there is a definite traffic flow pattern of people entering and exiting the house.

But there is a boundary in place.  When I’m in here, I’m writing and everybody knows it – a signal of intent.  So it is that out of the tears and emotional flailing of yesterday, a peace is born.  I can work here.  And I will try to remember, as I flee the harsh reality world back into my softer and much more entertaining lands of fantasy and conjecture, that there is more to life than writing. Not much, maybe, but if the writing work gets done then the rest of life holds so much more pleasure.