The fine, fine line

19 02 2014

I’ve believed (utterly without evidence of any kind) for a long time, maybe for as long as I’ve read books, that I can write books: that I have stories to tell, novels from as many genres and for as many age groups as I enjoy reading (which isn’t a comprehensive set, but it’s a good handful of niches, anyway), that if I had (took?) the time, I would finish the ones I’ve started, start a hundred more, and build a solid career out of the stuff.  I can sit still, all day, writing–not just staring at pages and changing past words around, but actually generating content.  I think in narrative voice all the time.  I know that, on paper, my life-situation right now is perfect for this: I work from home, wasting none of my time/energy/mental-space on commuting, work-wardrobes, office-drama, etc.  I have one child at home most days, and she goes to bed between 7 and 8 and stays there.  I know the “real” writers in the world with small kids are writing from 7 or 8 until 11 or 12 every night–or maybe getting up at 4 every morning.  Hell, they’re probably doing both.  I also know that I, at 7 or 8 (it’s about halfway between right now), after a long day of housework, student-emails, and intensive toddler-chasing, am struggling to keep my eyes open long enough to eat a bowl of cereal in front of this blog post; I’m hardly in a position to work through plot-intricacies or craft original, memorable images.  Also, right now my vocabulary feels significantly stunted, flooded as it is with monosyllabic repetitions (beebee, buh-buh, dada, muhmuh, me-meow, mimi, nana, nigh-nigh), so the very idea that I might “craft” anything in this state seems like a bit of a reach.

Sometimes there’s an impossibly fine line between making sensible choices and making excuses, and I don’t know what side of that line I’m on (frankly, I can’t even find the damn thing).  My kind friend (and father of four) says that the fact that I’m using vast quantities of energy right now building another human makes going to bed at 8 perfectly justified, and I really want to believe him.  (I think I’m also still trying to play catch-up for the first 15 months of Evanny’s life, when she did not go to bed with any staying power until 11 and got up to nurse 3-4 times a night.)  I really want to keep believing that I can blame the belly-baby, that I can write those novels, some day, when conditions are better, but there’s a growing-larger part of me (not the belly part) that suspects that conditions will never be better, and the fact that I’m about to fall into bed within an hour of when the toddler did (having wedged in a little more laundry, cleaned off her disgusting high-chair tray, and gracelessly maneuvered the above-mentioned cereal into my face) instead of staying up to write for three hours is evidence of the real truth: that I’m actually, quite simply, far too lame to ever write those novels.

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