Copyright notice

All content copyright 2010 by Chelsea Biondolillo. Seriously.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

365 days of being a writer: day 107

Welcome to InsomniaLand: You can sleep when you're dead! A friend is turning 38 this week, and we talked briefly about how that felt. I will be turning 38 in six months, and need to prepare.

"I just thought that by now..." and then he put his finger to his mouth, like his own hand didn't want him to finish that sentence. I wasn't sure if I should coax the rest out, or let it stay in. It's a private place, this place of uncertainty. Though, I can't guess at what his next line would have been, here are some of mine (I'll probably revisit this theme more than once during "wait for word" season):
  1. ...I'd have an actual home, with maybe a garden, and a sewing room, and someone to share it with.
  2. ...I'd be doing a reasonable facsimile of what I want to do with my life, career-wise.
  3. ...I'd be making time for travel (instead of paying off soul-crushing debt).
  4. ...I'd be in a financial situation that didn't trigger a full-blown anxiety attack every time I thought about it for more than 3 minutes.
OK, I am supposed to be glad that I was laid off, so that I could realize that I'm a writer, not a computer programmer or paper-pusher. But fuck me. This is a dumb idea on so many levels, it is awfully hard to appreciate the loss of my livelihood.

I shouldn't be trying to go to school just to teach over-privileged kids how to write or trying to get stupid lit mags to print my ridiculous essays for nothing. I should be trying like crazy to get another job that pays actual money. I should be spending 365 days trying to get a gig programming or pushing paper so I can get out from under my debt.

And for those who feel the urge welling up within them to say something like, "You're still young! Try being 97 (or 43 or 62) and feeling that way!" Please don't. That just reinforces the hopelessness of the situation, if all I can look forward to is the next sixty years sucking as much as right now does.

Who honestly thinks that line helps anyone? You're broke? At least you HAVE a job. You think you have it rough? Try being A GAY HIGH SCHOOL KID. YOU'RE BUMMED OUT? TRY NOT HAVING ANY FINGERS OR TOES OR EYELIDS. Oddly enough, the fact that misery and sadness and unfocused rage is everywhere isn't as comforting as some would have you believe.

I am so afraid of drowning some days, it feels like I'm gulping at air all day. This isn't bravery, it's not clarity of vision. It's some kind of desperation play to hold on to a life of immaturity and gratification until I am dragged kicking and screaming from it to pauper's prison. It's the most selfish and childish choice I could have made two years ago.

But since there are ten more minutes of recess: today I stayed home because I felt shitty. I thought I would rest up and get some writing done, but I did not. I did get the last of my research documented and organized, I compiled three manuscripts (in three different lengths) for five of the seven schools. I decided to add a line about wanting to focus on longer essays -- so much of what I have written is brief, I'd really like the luxury of time and attention to spend on a subject. Especially birds and rocks. Those are the two things that I'd like to explore, lately. And the places they both congregate, like on hikes and in National Parks. Anyway. It all seems like elaborate daydream architecture right now. Daydreaming is definitely something that Tiggers do best, so I'm going to go lie down and get back to it.

1 comment:

Jeffrey said...

I was thinking about this... I think the line of thought should be "At 38 I never thought I would have accomplished (insert awesome thing here). 38 is a daunting number, but fuck it, I am going to think about all the other things that I need to accomplish. Thanks for enduring my pre-birthday mopefest.