Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bound and Gagged

There's a saying in writing that goes something like "When you feel like you've just exposed too much of yourself, that's when you know you might be on to something." I've been trying to force and opening for weeks now, picking scabs, sticking fingers in wounds. I'm so sick of talking about not being able to write that I can't imagine publishing another love letter to my inability to finish my life's work and I can't imagine anybody else wants to hear about it either. I've written, erased, rewritten and erased everything I've put to paper for the last two weeks.

Everything feels stale and mechanical. I understand why they say you should write drunk, edit sober. I understand why so many writers tend to go hand and hand with addiction, some form of mental lubricant. My ideas feel like they are made of rubber and when I try to rub two thoughts together, the resulting sound just aches in my teeth. For me, writing is about being able to connect to an emotion- when you're on top of it, everything serves the idea that emotion brought to life. Every letter is a sacrifice on the altar to that thought. I feel like I've been peeling off my skin only to find it vacant, unoccupied. Every single thing I've done during the last couple weeks, I've done with a guilty weight in my chest because it was not in the service of writing.

It is all I want to do.

But instead, I wake up early, stare at the screen, let distraction over take me and give up. Sometimes I decide I shouldn't be so hard on myself and I am convinced that a video game or a book would ease the pressure I'm putting on myself. Other mornings, I'm not being hard enough on myself- I'm convinced that the only way to produce something that will further my goal of finishing this fucking book is to remove all safety nets, hold myself more accountable.

I love my family, but there's a voice whispering in my ear that says my environment has become too sterile. I am responsible for too many things that are not my writing. My own passion has been buried beneath a dozen other priorities that I am pledged to. I could never abandon my son, my fiancee, and so I hold this secret tight and close, afraid to speak it out loud and give it shape or power over me. I am afraid of how much it would hurt any of them to hear that in my mind I am considering the idea that I am trapped by my obligations. It's not their fault. I'm not willing to let them go, even for my writing. Besides that, there's a good chance that I am creating an unattainable scenario that balances life and my life's passion in order to reverse justify my lack of ability.

As far as jobs go, I like mine. But in order to maintain a dominant position within the company that I work for, I spent a lot of years placing my job at the height of everything I do, for the stability it provided me and my family. Now the pathways in my mind have been so deeply carved that I'm like a rat in a maze who can't see his way over the walls- walls that are so high they may as well go on forever. Walls that are so insurmountable and dominating, I can't even see them as walls anymore. I just keep my eyes forward and tread the path. Which means that when I wake up, I'm tackling work problems from the word go. Who pays me for all the time I spend thinking about my job when I am not on the clock? But rest assured, if the powers that be knew that I was spending any time on the clock worrying about something else, it would be a real damn problem. I am secretly envious of the young people I hire, who have an underdeveloped sense of responsibility to the job. I feel like they may have it right after all. I should care about my job, but in context, none of them would lose a lot of sleep over missing some days at work. I just had food poisoning and doubled the wrenching in my gut the whole time worrying about what everyone else was thinking about my absence. 

I am bound by my responsibilities, which I have hand picked and chosen. I thought all of these things would make a foundation strong enough to support me better as I tried to make a go at writing. I couldn't live without any of the big rock items, yet they all feel too heavy to exist in the same space. I realize I am predisposed to anxiety, but what I don't know is whether or not my anxiety is caused by these feelings or these feelings are caused by my anxiety.

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