07 February 2008

Where to Begin

I've been trying to work on this novel of mine, a story that has been haunting me for years now, but with over a hundred pages and months of neglect the very idea of sitting down to work on it seems to require a kind of physical and mental solitude that has been hard to come by lately.

I know I keep going on about this not-knowing that is driving me nuts, but really, I think I'm starting to come apart at the seams here. Why can't I just write a letter to the schools asking them all very politely to decide now or I might not be the same person when they finally get around to accepting me.

My focus is split, I can't think too much about the future, but I can't stop thinking about it long enough to think about anything else. Stupid future.

But it’s not just that. In a way the not-knowing is just the latest in a long line of excuses.

I need to restructure my life in such a way that I can do all of the things that need to get done and then have time leftover for the other stuff, the stuff that helps me feel like a better person. The tricky part is that the kind of time I need is not just a stolen moment here or a break between loads of laundry. I need the kind of time I can really relax in. The kind of time that is both preceded and followed by a gradual transition period, one that allows me to sink out of my life and then back in, but not too fast.

I just can't seem to envision having this kind of time. I can't picture any practical way for it to work and I’m starting to feel the story slipping away. It haunts me, yes, but at the same time, it’s leaving me, and the danger inherent in that is troubling.

Change is as scary now as it ever was and for me the kind of change that is the scariest is the kind I have to create myself. People have said that I’m brave, to apply to schools, to really go for it, but that’s not bravery. For me that’s just a series of things I have to do, with clear deadlines and a pre-determined list of requirements. The payoff is that then some administrator in some school will decide what will happen. The big scale stuff like that isn’t as frightening to me as the little day-to-day changes, the need for which I feel pressing on me lately.

I’m not sure it makes sense to wait anymore, but I’m not sure how to begin.


Cathy said...

I hate waiting, so I understand exactly what you're describing. It's hard to function, let alone be creative, when you remain in limbo.

I hope you hear something soon!

Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

I'm sorry you are in such an in-between state. I wish I had a suggestion as to how to make the kind of time you're looking for--are the kids in school for any length of time? Maybe that is when you write, and forget about the daily life stuff that has to get done. Good luck!