Thursday, August 04, 2011

no more running away from the circus

Since returning from the cruise, I’ve been meaning to start working on my circus novel again. I no longer have the “but first I need to do some research” excuse, or the “but I have debilitating anxiety*” excuse, or the “but I’m working on this art project” excuse, or the “but I’m working on this short story” excuse. I don’t even have the “but at least I went to the gym” excuse.

Last night I planned to go to the gym, but AK—who’d also been planning to work out—had a really long day, so I convinced myself that she needed me to crash out in solidarity with her. And to pick up pan dulce on the way home. And to watch TV while eating roughly half a bag of the sweet potato tortilla chips that Trader Joe’s was pushing earlier this week. AK is grossed out by Weird Cheryl Food like sweet potato tortilla chips and chile mango popsicles and mochi everything, so I’m not sure how this particular gesture showed solidarity, but it’s all about creating a mood of relaxation, right?

Today I’m back on various wagons. The not-eating-chips-like-tomorrow-is-the-apocalypse wagon and the writing wagon, muse willing. This morning I went to Starbucks and it felt like a homecoming. I got a latte and a multigrain bagel and opened Michael Cunningham’s new novel. So far it doesn’t seem as daring and wonderfully weird as Specimen Days—it’s about a middle-aged art couple with ennui, a plot that would send me running if it were handled by almost anyone other than Michael Cunningham. He could write the phonebook and make it inspiring and clairvoyant.

(Actually, this isn’t totally true. Despite his linguistic genius, he has a tendency to give his characters boring names.)

But reading Michael Cunningham is like drinking a double espresso. A great fast track to creativity. Who knows how long it will last—like the angsty characters in By Nightfall, I know how fragile any sense of wellbeing is—but I’ll take it while I can.

*Still there, just not so noisy. Thank you, Zoloft.


Claire said...

I'm glad to hear the anxiety has lessened. I know my creative output drops when I'm distracted/anxious/stressed/depressed too. Hang in there! Thinking of you both, sending some mellow focus your way.

Raardvarks said...

That just means you need to make more excuses! Get out there and do something (else)!

Cheryl said...

C: Thanks! Mellow focus gladly accepted.

R: Well, the house is pretty dirty, and apparently Miranda July's new movie is screening nearby....

Una said...

Sweet potato tortilla chips sounds divine. Mochi ice cream is second runner up. I'm glad the anxiety has subsided. oxox

Peter Varvel said...

I have finally gotten back into a consistent exercise routine (Pilates! Free weights! Jogging!) but I have neither time nor energy to do any writing after.
It's really a matter of pride and vanity to think about staying home to write instead of going to the gym.
If it just weren't for that pesky full time job during the day . . . so inconvenient! (so is being broke).
Give up (more) sleep? Not an option

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Cheryl said...

U: Does Chicago have TJ's? If so, get thee to some sweet potato tortilla chips.

PV: I know, why can't we all be heiresses? I would be so buff and literary.

ODI: Um, thanks? What are you trying to tell me about my driving?