Thursday, May 10, 2012
What I Do
Late last week I'd sat down to work, ready to input edits I'd made to my Very Pretentious Work of Fiction, when I plum started crying. I know it seems like I cry a lot, usually into food, and this is why I identify so strongly with Tina Fey and all the other crazy, hairy-legged artists. Thinking about their glamorous mood disorders and anxiety medication, however, makes me sad, because I suspect deep down I'm not crazy enough to be brilliant. I'd love to be as hilarious as The Bloggess, but it turns out she struggles mightily with mood disorders and here I sit, not on a single anti-depressant whatsoever. That's only because I don't have the health insurance to procure them, but never mind that, never mind. For a creative person I am disturbingly sane. But that's not why I was crying, I cried because Tina Fey has been lurking around my yard again, hiding in the irises and putting her hand through the mail slot. I'm sorry, I just--it's very hard, and I get emotional. I wrote to my friend Nathan Fillion about it, asking if he'd show up in his Captain Tightpants outfit to scare her off, as he does every week for our house mother Rachel Maddow, but he wrote back saying please cease and desist, he didn't want to have to contact the police but he would. Which is how Nathan jokes, but I'm thinking of telling him it's sometimes hurtful.
He should know.
Anyway, there I was, crying this time over white sheets of writing and not over my tuna melt, which wasn't ready yet, and watching Tina Fey pull crab grass from my yard. I am getting the hang of talking myself off ledges. I am learning that I can't save lives other than my own. I have heard the answer to a question which troubled me for years, concerning purposes and plans and does the Divine choose to play my life like a chess board? I heard that it does not, that my essence loathes the idea of purpose and so the Divine is pleased not to bridle me with one. Armed with this knowledge, I have naturally begun to consider writing smutty novels. I have read this Shades of Grey nonsense and while I am glad that the world has offered something to please the female libido, for once, I couldn't believe how poorly it was written, how alienated our erotic heroine was from her own eroticism, and I think our Lady Gardens deserve better. Someone must tend them, and it must not be Brian McKnight. It can't be worse, after all, than writing pretentious fiction, and I rather like this idea of myself: a bottle-dyed redhead sitting in her garden with bees in her hair and amorous stories flowing veins to page (and back again, as you know if you've ever written Lady Porn).
I'm starting to hope you have.
I took two days' leave of absence from all writerly aspirations, and what I learned then was that 1) Malcolm Reynolds is one thing, but Fillion is unreliable at best, and 2) my dreams have begun to feel less like hope and more like a thing that weighs me down, and I'm tired of that. For so long I have focused all my energies into earning money, aplomb, a thing that could accurately be called a career to lack of eye-rolls at parties, and for what purpose? My identity has become wrapped up in 'should' to a degree that drags my heart. It unmoors me deeply down, because so much trying to be removes me farther and farther from the truest bud of my real self, and my grittiest, most truthful self is the only power I'll ever really have.
I am so weary of having something to prove.
Writing is what I do, and I will always do it. So while I tell you artists to keep making your art, I do mean it so, but here is other half of that story, here is how the flower comes to full bloom: I will love you if you never make art again at all, if you earn not a dime, publish not a page. Go and make your art the way you have sex, because it pleases you, and for nothing more.
And so we must learn to love ourselves. I don't know it yet, but I hear this insistent voice whispering that to turn away from all measures of success and back to the joy of creating for it's own sake is the best thing I can do for myself, and thus the best I can offer the world.
So that's what I'm going to do. Now if you'll excuse me, it's just occurred to me that Tina Fey might be after my honey and I'm going to go take her back to look at the bees and see if that doesn't calm her down. Wish me luck because I think she is escalating.