Thursday, March 6, 2014
I’ve had a little vacation from my computer when I sent my old one off to Ed in Florida. Lucky me, he transferred all her data to a new one - as long as Ed is around (thank God he is doing pretty well and about to be another “first” in getting a new-fangled treatment for stage IV metastasized prostate cancer) he still keeps our machines rotated and up-to-date. It felt good to have it gone, gone, gone. Like I was free from one of those enslaving robot pets that quack for mama duck all night. I looked at that empty spot on the desk and was happy not to hear the little ploops announcing the arrival of messages. It reminds me that there were days back when, when I still knew how to use paper and pen.
Now she's back. I call her Jane. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s Calamity Jane I’m thinking of - blazing fast and easy on the eye. I quite like her, but I’ve still been avoiding her, distracted as I am about selling, moving and buying the next place in life. It’s the best excuse I’ve had for not writing in about a hundred years. Don’t bother me, I’m sorting moldy tub toys that haven’t been used since my 36-year-old daughter was a baby. Go away, Denis and I are in intense and delicate conferences about finances and futures.
When pressure mounts to brain stroke intensity, I feel like beating myself up all the way from here to Glen Allen, Alaska. Then I realized something important about forgiveness. You need to forgive yourself, Einstein. Stop your ridiculous self-abuse.
I came across this by Ann Patchett and I’m pretty sure it applies to a lot more than writing:
Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. Every time I have set out to translate the book (or story, or hopelessly long essay) that exists in such brilliant detail on the big screen of my limbic system onto a piece of paper, ... I grieve for my own lack of talent and intelligence. Every. Single. Time. Were I smarter, more gifted, I could pin down a closer facsimile of the wonders I see. I believe, more than anything, that this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people form being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself. - Ann Patchett, “This-Is-Story-Happy-Marriage"
For me this translates to: I grieve most about lack of diligence. I can’t or don't write as much as I would like, but I can and will write what I can when I can. Does this make sense?