By Molly Field (www.mollyfield.com)
I’m supposed to be writing for NaNoWriMo this month and I have to admit: it’s not going well a’tall.
In fact, this post was supposed to be written a week ago.
The first day, November 1, I was raring to go. Woke up early, felt great, made a vat of coffee, prepared the children for school, came home, put on my woobies, turned on my writerly music, sat down with my mug of half-caf java (sorry Carrie, I’ll take hostages if I drink too much coffee) and long straw which used to be an aquarium tube and immediately got a headache.
I don’t get headaches.
Almost a week went by and I woke with the headaches after going to sleep with them. Last Friday, I went to the doctor’s and diagnosed with a sinus infection. It didn’t present typically with copious output and according to my physician, my “nose [was] clear, but [my] entire head [was] covered in fluid.”
Well, there it is: a fluid-covered,vise-clamped head.
|This about sums it up.|
The diagnosis was like permission to allow my realization that I didn’t want to do NaNo this time. It wasn’t about incentive, camaraderie, or initiative. I have plenty of all of those, I just don’t have the interest or the compulsion or ah, hell, who am I kidding… I didn’t have a story this time either.
I sat down and wrote a few things, but they felt forced. They didn’t sound like me and I didn’t like it at all. It wasn’t writer’s block, it was writer’s blech.
I wrote a couple blog pieces, I enjoyed doing that. What’s funny about that is that at the end of October, I had announced on my vastly and wildly popular blog (really, you should check it out, it’s all the rage) that I was going to dial back on blogging so that I could write more. So what did I do? I didn’t write so I could go back to blogging. Even though I felt like crap but didn’t know it.
Once I’d learned the sinus infection was real and that it had been validated by my doctor, all of a sudden, an intense sharp pain slammed me from the back of my head to between my eyes at the brow bone. My doctor was in mid-sentence when this happened, telling me about the meds and what I had to do and I had raise my “just a minute” finger in her face and sit back, and take it all in. I was overcome.
“Sharp pain? Right now?” She asked and I nodded.
“First time ever in all this time?” she asked, already knowing the answer, to my furtive, micro-nodding upper body. Viselike, my chin was resting on my chest; I had become a clam, a nodding clam.
“I see that a lot, with some people. I see it a lot with moms. You needed validation didn’t you, to be unwell?” I nodded, sniffling now. Not from the pressure, but from the blessed relief of letting the pressure go.
A couple moments of quiet passed between us. I blew my nose, crumpled the tissue until I spoke, “I was one of those kids, who when I’d get in a fight with a schoolmate on the playground or with my brothers or a neighbor, I wouldn’t let them see me cry. I took it and held it all in. But when I got home, and I saw my mom or dad, I cried and howled. I let it out then. When I felt…”
“Safe.” She said. “When you felt safe.”
And I said sniffled ‘yes,’ which sounded like, “Shnesh.”
So this brings me to my point: forcing is wrong, holding in is wrong and pushing ourselves to do something that isn’t ‘fitting’ is wrong. It’s not that it’s wrong in an ethical or moral sense; it’s simply wrong in a sense that it doesn’t improve things. We explode. But I know this! I wrote about forcing on my blog.
|I need one of these.|
I’m all for writing a book, participating in NaNo when I’m ready to go; when I’ve got something with legs: go forth, write, edit, beg and publish. But if you love to write and you don’t have a clue as to what to write about and your heart’s not in it, then uhh… don’t force it. It’ll be obvious. We writers? Historically we are tortured, brilliant, sad, alcoholic, codependent and tragic people; there are enough of those in the world already... why add 'stupidly masochistic' to the list? Oh, that's right, because it sells.
I might be totally against the writerly establishment when I say all that, but I feel I must clarify: I’m not saying give up, I’m not saying don’t write and I’m not saying don’t push through, even though I sort of am. I’m saying this: write something else. Step away from the laptop. Use a pen and paper. Play Pictionary. Try a poem or a couple of dirty limericks. Take some photos or write in your journal. Don’t let your right brain dry up, just don’t beat it up. When the brain is fertile, the book will grow.
I have books in my head, for sure. But not NaNo books; I say this at risk of sounding snobby, and it’s not what I mean at all. Rather it’s quite the opposite: my thinking is tragically pedantic: it’s the No in the word that gets me every time. I am not good with fiction (if you read my PPM interview, you’ll see this if this post hasn't convinced you). My every attempt at writing a novel becomes a poorly veiled memoir, sad and dressed in outdated and ill-fitting clothes, clicking on a broken stiletto, and with terribly bad hair despite blatant attempts to prove otherwise.
|I'm not sure what this picture of Tara Reid has to do with this post other than the fact that it seemed to be the most appropriate for my vision of searching for "drunk but trying to fake sobriety" images.|
Who knows what I’ll do next. I’ve got some ideas in the hopper that if I disguise them well enough no one will ever be the wiser. No one. I’m talking alternate universes, amorphous plasma, vegetative, non-humanoid forms, laser appendages and stuff. But non-humanoid plasma that came from dysfunctional cosmic petri dishes who are dealing with serious behavior issues. That sounds easy enough.
So what about you? Do you force and then when you’re validated by someone else that the forcing is for naught, do you suddenly release?Tweet