to be noveling. i am feeling obligated to begin and finish nanowrimo this year. the obligation stems from many things - one, to prove that i have a real novel in me thus making me a "real" writer (yet again), despite the recent publications of my "work" (one, two, and yet to come), and two, because i nearly sliced off the whole of my hand last year and didn't finish. my ideas for what i'm writing keep changing. i think to write about my proneness for the dramatic and the accidental and create a whole silly world of that centering around some girl. it could be some great, epic tale the likes of nightwatch and daywatch and whatever the 3rd is to follow - noonwatch? ah, no, thank you imdb, it is twilight watch. it is indeed, an excellent idea, but not the one i've been rolling around with the last ten months. what to do? i have but nine-and-a-half hours to finalize my decision. i was working forever on the planning, however vaguely it is my inclination to plan, for the novel i've been thinking of, but there is no spark there and i've no idea what i'll actually write.
additionally, i need to be working on so many other things, particularly the non-fiction book i plan to write one day that i have not yet written, as well as the ten pieces of art for the itty bitty shitty art show my friend patricia is organizing. i am at 9, currently, which leaves me a whole month to finish the last. there is also the matter of the business endeavor i am beginning and need to get off the ground. there is also fast-approaching christmas, which requires a holiday card to be designed and assorted washcloths and hotpads to be knit.
i want to write a novel if only to say i've written a novel. it was my dream, indeed, for so long to be a writer and now i shirk from it. i am terrified. i am afraid that nothing i ever do is good enough or interesting. i am entirely lame. i do things, but not well enough. i do not commit to things properly and with the energy required to be passionate and love well enough the things i do. i half-ass everything and there are many many things i do that are to be half-assed. i cannot seem to finish anything i start and it is the thing that propels me most after the idiotic and constant striving for perfection, which will never be grasped, never summited, never reached, never claimed. i look to the things that others do with such adoration and such melancholic longing, such self-depreciation. my husband is writing a dissertation and i cannot write but a word, it would seem. i tumble over and over myself, fighting myself for the energy to move forward and the syntax with which to do it. i go nowhere. do nothing. i cannot properly keep the house, raise the children, start the business, or finish the novel. i blame and scapegoat trauma and drug addiction and the inevitable stress of a spouse in a phd program and the constant itching of half-naked children run round making messes. is it merely that i am incapable, or do i invoke this self-paralysis out of fear, out of hunger? what is it to clear the hurdle? what must be done in order to do? and should i even try?
i am busy. overwhelmed. stressed out. all my life is all the things to be done, all the things that i am doing, and there is hardly time for thought, hardly time for the close call, or for sickness or for drama. my body better, i press on, harder than i should, for surely the weather has changed, is changing, and i will find myself under the spell of some cough i've encountered unknowingly. so i wash my hands just in case. i am the germiphobe. i am the obsessive compulsive. i am compelled by my ideas to invent things not necessarily uninvented (for this in the internet age we can encounter most ideas already idealed readily and apparently by means of a google search), yet things necessarily new to me and perhaps to my immediate surroundings. i seek to create the art, write the novel, and invent the harry potter halloween party like i was completely insane. but harry potter does something for me that little else does. it is a melancholic escape into fantasy wherein magic and elves exist and where, were i a witch, i might be able to make dinner with the flash of a stick of wood in my fingers. it is excessively silly, perhaps, but it distracts me from my usual brooding on ecological destruction - at least temporarily. and as for art - i am compelled by my usual boredom with my own domesticity to be something greater and more important (though i think, in my head, that nothing is more important) than mothering my exceedingly wild and usually naked children. i am the perpetrator of lists at this juncture: writing down and crossing off. i seek for the moment to be able to cross something off the list to feel capable and forward-moving. it makes me feel powerful, accomplished. and perhaps it is a sad statement about being a mother that makes crossing things off lists feel full of power and accomplishment. i never finished college, so i can only assume that i am intelligent based on my own knowing and whatever resources in front of me. i cannot feel the power of societal position, for i have none of that. i am only me, toiling daily, as i am apt to do. it is my position in life and the role of my choosing, to be sure. i struggle with the choices facing me in regards to my children - their upbringing and whether or not they should be permitted to play video games all day or not and the varying philosophical perspectives that each choice comes with, of which there are many, which may surprise those not embedded in this type of life and all the minutiae that it encompasses. i so want only to be me, though. to be myself, free of the expectations of the world and especially of my children and their incessant whining and needing of things to be got and done for them. it is harder than it seems and more intellectually challenging than i could ever have anticipated. in fact, there is nothing else to call it, but utterly and completely insane. my life is the running rapidly out of control and back again to some semblance of half-reality only to be destroyed and rebuilt perpetually. it is the couch and the toys and the feeding and the cleaning and so much more. and all the while, there is me, in the midst, trying desperately to feel around for myself and to determine what that is and what that requires in the moment and in the long term. is it merely the environmental ethic that we live by? that thing most weird to so many that in my head is simply the effect of doing better by knowing better? or is there something else here? is there more to me and can i ever hope to honor it while taking care of so many others, by doing so very, very much? i do not know. i do not know. it may be, in fact, the very question i have been asking all this time.