Tuesday, August 04, 2015

the not-writing life

1. the trap

I took a couple of weeks off from writing because life demanded it. That’s okay; I once thought having a kid might mean taking years off, and I was prepared to do it if I had to. But it wasn’t long before I was sad and irritable and making martyr-y, under-my-breath comments to AK.

I try not to fetishize writing too much because it gets in the way of actually writing. I’m not one for fancy pens and pretty bookmarks, and I don’t go on about how much I love books in a general sense, because you wouldn’t talk about air that way, and writing is a little bit like air in my life. Or I want it to be. Or, when it goes away for a while, I feel like I can’t breathe.

That sounds so dumb. I know for a fact that the world would be just fine if I never wrote another word, and the part of me that wants to put good things into the world questions whether my time wouldn’t be better spent ladling soup for the homeless. (There is a generic soup kitchen in my mind, where I imagine volunteering if I get too depressed to think and do my job properly but still want to be of some use to the world. The truth is that volunteer gigs where you get to interact with clients are usually overbooked, and if I was really that down-and-out I’d probably be a client at said soup kitchen myself.)

Soup served with love.
But I am wary of the Mom Trap, which is also the Woman Trap, which is also the Person Who Is Aware Of Their Role In Relation To Others Trap—the fallacy that you are doing anyone any favors by squelching your own desire. If you’re a grouchy, unfulfilled asshole, people aren’t going to line up to thank you for your service.

I had four hours of Cheryl Time on Saturday, and I used three of them to clean the house.

I love a clean house, so it wasn’t a completely selfless act, but it also wasn’t a pedicure or a haircut, both of which I need.

2. jigsaw middle age

I spent the fourth hour preparing for the first reading I’ve done in quite a while, with Tiffany Scandal, Suzy Mae and Sabrina (who has a punk pen name I can’t recall at the moment) at Book Show, a tiny but well curated shop in my ‘hood. Sabrina read about a dysfunctional relationship with a fellow sex-and-love addict*. Suzy Mae read a short story about Metallica songs predicting the apocalypse. And Tiffany read from her novel Jigsaw Youth, a fresh-voiced story about female friendships.

A giant cat tries to eat us at Book Show.
They were all young and rad and made me want to sit down to write. I felt a little bit old, and even though the piece I read—a memoir excerpt about hypochondria—got a lot of laughs when I read it at Sirenland, I’m not sure the crowd at Book Show knew it was supposed to be at least kind of funny. Also I accidentally called Florence and the Machine “Frances and the Machine.”

Maybe the Sirenland crowd was just really friendly and drunk.

Still, I had fun at Book Show and felt honored to be included with the cool kids.

With the remainder of my weekend, I went to our friend Andrea’s birthday (yay for having a babysitter!) and visited Kidspace in Pasadena with some of our friends from up north. I spent some time being crabby and exhausted and not writing.

Today I spent some time being all triggered and jumpy and sad about cancer and other sad things. Sometimes being sad is sort of its own trigger; it’s like my body knows that when it feels like this, I’m usually thinking about cancer, and so I start thinking about cancer. But there was coffee and my hypochondria sponsor Kim and reading about how shitty medicine was back in the day.

I’m okay, I think. I’m writing. Sort of. I’m inspired and flattened, tired and grateful.

*I believe that love addiction is a thing, in that there are people who are addicted to being in a relationship and can’t define themselves outside of one, but I wish it were called something besides love addiction, because shouldn’t we all be love addicts?


Claire said...

Hey, you wrote this which is and of itself is also writing! :)

Hang in there, C!

Claire said...

Scratch the second is.

Cheryl said...

Oh, trust me, I counted this!