I am back, at last. I don’t know why I always expect to be able to Write when I visit family. I have visions of late-night scribbling, like when I was a child; I go back with a laundry-list of things to work on and bits printed out and files copied over and fresh batteries in the keyboard . . . but at this point in my life I also like sleeping.
And I did neither. Instead, in the wee hours I found myself doing Work. I was nervous about even telling our clients that I was going away; I didn’t dare call it a vacation; I answered emails in the car and at the breakfast table and checked proofs late into the night. Which means I am about where I was three years ago in terms of feeling chained to the job—a state that triggered the three months’ leave that started all of the Writing again. To have come full circle? Lots of mixed feelings.
I am not who I was, though. I have the words to prove it.
I am late to many discussions in the greater writing world, and I know I read this sometime between its first appearance and now, but I found myself back at an old blog entry of Christopher Barzak’s, about class and privilege:
and perhaps because of where I was—flying back from my visit, Work on my screen, Writing in my head—perhaps because of all this, it rang true in a way that it had not when I first saw it. As old as I am, I am still learning how to step outside myself and really look at myself.
Especially the bit about self-effacing. Like seeing a tiny corner of yourself come into focus at last. And food for thought, regarding this whole enterprise of The Pen Name . . .
(I have no idea what’s making me cap things today. It’s just a Cap Day.)
Coincidentally (hah!), this Looking is also the thing I really want, really need, to learn at this stage of my Writing: how to step outside my story and really look at it—how well it functions, the questions it poses, where it drags . . .
Hard work for an introvert. (Which I think is what I am, but I never thought of myself as such until about a year ago. See the bit about learning above.)
Or maybe all that non-Writing was simply because I was missing this:
The Muse. For about, oh, I’d say 95% of everything I’ve written these past two years? He’s been either on my lap or sitting on a little ottoman next to me, purring away. Obviously if I want to write in other locations, I need to bring him with me. As necessary as a computer, pen and paper, tea.