So I let a few days of non-blogging go by and what happened?
I didn’t check the numbers that tell me how many people glance at my page. To take a line from the legal profession, you never ask a question whose answer you don’t want to know.
I had many ideas of blogs I could write, ranging from daily observations (how ideas pop up when I’m running, but not when I’m in front of the word processor), what I did on my Labor Day vacation (stayed in the general area, tried to appreciate how beautiful the weather was, helped make other people happy, especially when I was incapable of being happy myself), advice about writing (which I found is too plentiful on the Internet) and simultaneous embarrassment at how awful this blog looks while being loath to read or watch the tutorials, or blunder about in an attempt to improve things.
I did notice that blogging can dip into “the well,” my metaphor for the varying amount of creative energy any of us has in a day. When I didn’t blog, more ideas came, and more writing on my novels (I have two in progress right now) occurred.
Then there some other, more troublesome thoughts about a very difficult thing that others have done but I can’t seem to do for any length of time: forgive myself for all the mistakes made, faux pas foisted, marks missed, rare but regretted moments of outright nastiness and belligerence and–this is the most difficult-stuff that hurt a great deal but wasn’t my fault.
The list of this last category is quite long. I can, but won’t mention specifically so many instances when I worked really hard, played by the rules, was respectful of my superiors, was selflessly kind, strove to make a positive difference in peoples lives, EXERCISED DAILY AND ATE THE RIGHT FOOD, and what happened?
The hard work didn’t “pay off,” I lost out to people who didn’t car about the rules, my superiors exploited me or treated me badly, my kindness was dismissed as a character flaw or a weakness, my efforts failed to make any difference, I had one of those work outs when everything felt awful and I STILL have a layer of flab hanging on me like a piece of clothing that won’t come off.
The typical response to such whining ranges from exhortations that important things take time and I shouldn’t give up, or that I shouldn’t dwell on “negativity” and just put the stuff out of my mind as if it never happened, as well as the finger wagging that maybe I could have done more of this or less of that and my results would have been different. Oh–and then there are the tough folks who say that life is filled with disappointment, mine are trivial and the time whining doesn’t make anything any better so I should just shut up and move on.
This last retort isn’t precisely true. Comedians have turned whining into an art form. Laughing at our misfortunes doesn’t make them go away, but it resonates with a quote from Henry James that has haunted me for most of my life.
“To an artist, nothing is wasted.”
If I had my druthers, I would rather not have had so much…raw material. But it is mine, to the extent that it happened (or failed to happen) to me, and I have turned some of it into stories that–I hope–have their own beauty.
And that can inspire a return to the writing, to taking sustenance from a well that never seems to run dry, no matter how bitter, or sweet, the contents may be.