I’ve been out of commission for a while. Not as in a my-organs-were-removed/repaired-and-I’m-recuperating sort of way, but in an I’ve-lost-all-drive-to-write sort of way. Personally, the former would be easier for me to deal with. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and not all organs are necessary for survival. Just ask Slim Goodbody.
I attempted to pinpoint when the creative breakdown was conceived, but I failed to locate that nefarious moment. I’ve no recent traumatizing situations to speak of, save for my friend’s Christmas party where she kept dumping out my drink in order to wash my glass. I would set down my glass to talk to someone and then turn back around to take a sip of wine only to discover it sprouted legs and trotted away. (I must warn you that one has to watch their plate around her, too. It’s a compulsion she’s trying to tame.)
At any rate, my desire to create also sprouted legs and trotted away because I cannot summon a spark to save my wit. But here’s the real kicker: up until a few days ago, I didn’t even care. The last time I can recall honestly giving a hoot about my writing was at the very beginning of the year. My muse apparently jumped ship shortly thereafter, and who can blame her? Apathetic behavior doesn’t exactly encourage your muse to whisper sweet nothings into your ear.
So what happened status-post amputation of 2012 that caused my creative decay? Because my lack of desire hasn’t invaded other areas of my life.
I’ve been highly focused on my physical and mental well-being since the beginning of the year. Returning to my pre-Maya shape is one of my (seemingly unattainable) goals. I gained weight throughout the last quarter of last year and it affected everything in my life. My energy level plummeted, my mood sunk, my washer and dryer shrunk ALL of my clothes. It was crazy. Thus, dropping the weight isn’t all about my quest to build a sweet backside. I keep a food log of what I eat and drink (wine has deliciously evil calories) so that I can hold myself accountable. I exercise 5-6 days a week– jogging, walking a couple of miles during my lunch hour, working out to Bob Harper’s bitch of a strength dvd, working out to Jillian’s exercise dvds, even doing Brazil Butt Lift workouts– and I’ve only managed to drop almost one size in eight weeks. Almost, but not quite. Needless to say, I am frustrated with my lack of bodily shrinkage. My bubble butt and my thunder thighs are like adult children who won’t leave the nest.
My financial state still sucks. I’m not going to go into detail right now, but it sucks. Granted, I am far better off than most of the world (World Poverty Statistics), so I truly shouldn’t complain. In fact, I feel like a twat for even whining about my financial state.
My financial state is fine, so that’s not it.
I think my work is draining me of all my creative spunk. I love my boss and I am truly grateful to have a great job, but the endless corporate paperwork and red-tape and mounds of billing and unbelievably dense people wear me down. By the time I arrive home, I’m a mental zombie. I push myself through a workout and then cook dinner, wash dishes, play games and read to the girl, bath time, clean up, and then attempt to space out in a chair while the girl makes me sing the numbers 1 through 100 with her. And then we sing ABC’s. And then play “Alphabet.” (Alphabet flash cards with words and pictures– all of which she has memorized and 3/4 of which she can spell upon quizzing. She’s already smarter than I will ever be.) When she’s finally done trying to stimulate my mind, Maya crashes around 10:30 and I am wiped out. Understandably. (And now you see how exciting my life is.) I try to get up early to write, but it simply isn’t happening yet. My body refuses to budge before 6:15.
Something has to give. I need time to relax and create. I don’t want to give up time with my kid, because even though she sometimes drives me bats, she’s a prodigious sponge who eagerly drinks in everything I teach. We’re starting on beginner reading books and addition/subtraction and French lessons not because I want her to but because she LOVES it (her sitter is French, hence the French language thing). Numbers are fun to her and I want to encourage her to learn as much as she can (while she still thinks it’s a game). I can’t– I won’t– trade her developing, freakishly smart brain for my story. Forget it.
I could give up work, but that means not having a home and car and food and having to go on welfare, which would make my self-confidence plummet and I would somehow end up with a bunch of cats and become a homeless hoarder pushing around a shopping cart full of one pre-schooler and her Alphabet cards, towels and mis-matched socks, lampshades, and old VHS tapes. I know it.
So we’re down to my body. I will trade my body for creative gain. Well, not trade my actual body. I’m not sacrificing a kidney to gain a screenplay or anything like that. But maybe it’s time to drop a day of exercise and see what happens. Go down to 4 or 5 days and play around with my diet. Throw in a light smoothie in place of dinner here and there. (This does mean I’ll have to buy a blender.) Purchase some Spanx and call it good. Who knows. Maybe I’ll have more energy in the long run.
I have to give it a shot. My characters are moping about because I haven’t had them out to play. I feel like a bad parent. They want me to let them out, too. Dick is straining to hold back sarcastic remarks; Priti’s nose twitches with my every peek into their world; and Adam and Rebecca sit next to each other, hands close but not touching, and wait to see in which direction I will nudge their cracked relationship. But my desire to set my characters free and run around is not entirely present. Almost there, but not quite. Perhaps this rambling, go-nowhere blog entry will help me release whatever (bad writing maybe?) holding me back.
Anyone else have this happen? Does the heaviness of everyday life (or your body) strip you of your desire to create for a period of time? Any suggestions?