Currently I am supposed to be cleaning the house. I got off to a valiant start by putting away the detrius from last night's mad dash of costuming. I also put away the last of the clean laundry (that was washed on Tuesday.) And I've even vacuumed most of the bedroom. It's a big bedroom. In an effort to put off the rest of the cleaning, yet still be doing something productive, here I am at the computer.
Maybe if I continue to set up projects for myself to accomplish I'll get more writing done. I'm an excellent procrastinator, after all. Maybe if I come home every night intending to clean the house I will find myself trying to write in order to avoid it.
God knows when I am supposed to be writing I find all sorts of stupid ways to avoid sitting down and writing. My favorite excuse is research. "Oh, I have to read up more on that subject before I can actually write about it."
I've been "researching" one, specific project since 1997. Eight years to the month exactly. I have books and artwork, piles and piles of them, all related to this project I have not yet written. I have stacks of starts and even more stops. Random pages of dialogue and bits from journals dating back to college all on this one topic. Yet it remains trapped in my brain, buried as if beneath an avalanche. There has not yet been a shovel big enough to dig it out.
I think sometimes if I got a new computer, or if I set up a new schedule for myself. This blog began as a way to get myself writing daily again. You all see how well that worked out. Once I thought that if I only had a few months when I didn't have to work that I would have the energy and the desire to spend more time writing. Then I got fired and had all the time in the world. I spent most of that time worrying about being unemployed.
I look at my friends - taking acting classes, improv classes, illustration classes, writing music, putting together bands and starting theater companies and I don't know what to do with myself.
Writing is such a solitary pursuit, I actually heard Michael J. Fox express it best on Inside The Actors' Studio. "With other arts, you wake up every day and you are stepping into a flowing river. With writing, you wake up and step into a stagnant pond. It's up to you to work to get across it."
It's the work I guess. When I was younger - full of piss and vinegar for the most part - I could stay up late writing. I could sit down in the morning with a cup of coffee and a smoke and pound out some poetry or part of a short story. I could spend hours sitting infront of my refridgerator playing with poetry magnets.
Now, after eight hours at work sitting infront of a computer listening to music, when I get home all I want to do is watch TV and eat and then go to bed. Days like today, a quiet Sunday, partially overcast. The weather has been dropping and I can hear the wind whipping around the eves of the building. There's nothing but sub-par horror on TV, (can I get an oh-yay for Halloween programming?) And, I am supposed to be cleaning. The perfect components for an afternoon writing session.
I have a few ideas in my head. They are all very old ideas but are constantly being tweaked and upgraded in my brain. I am always playing them out in different ways even if I am not writing them down.
One of them is about the Garden of Eden. It's about Adam and Eve and the first wife, Lilith. It is all symbolism and feminist theory and lush greenery. It is mostly still just images and not so many words. It is alternately in a forests garden clearing or somewhere in the dust of Texas. It is poetry and it is dance and there are masks and primitive music - drums and large wind instruments. Sometimes it is rock and roll and purple haired waitresses. It is always vast, clear blue skies and crisp. But sometimes even then it is dripping wet, with dew, or thunderous rain fall. A large number of the random objects I own are related to this project. Goddess necklaces, pieces of art work I have hidden in folders or up on the wall. My glow-in-the-dark Virgin Mary statuette. Most of this stuff winds back around steeply into this project that hangs around my desk.
The other idea floating through my head is contemporary, at best, and nothing substantial at all. Just a story. The type of story that people have been writing forever and ever amen. An outsider looking for a home. Not a house and not a family, but a home. You know, where the heart is? A story about outsiders looking in and insiders running out and in the end there's a happily ever after that brings all the pieces together nicely. Ages old and nothing I think would be exciting but far more personal and far less impressionistic. Grounded more in reality and less in poetic license. Although I do believe that every life lived is poetry, you don't always want to portray it that way.
Every time I look at pictures from ten years ago, or think about friends I've had and lost or found again, this story comes to mind. Every time I think about where I am going to be in ten years or ten weeks and who will be there with me and who will be lost, this story comes to mind. Reading books like February House and The Fervent Years brings to mind this story. I have no protagonist. At least, not one I am comfortable presenting publicly. I have no real plot points, nor do I know exactly when, where or in what "now" this story occurs. It's stuck in there really well right now and it's not going anyway for a while.
But I have to finish vacuuming. Really, I do. And then I have to clean the bathroom because it's gross. So, I spent some time writing about writing. That's one step closer to the actual writing. It must be a good sign.