My partner is currently writing on the couch, while I type at the dining room table.
The dog doesn’t like this. It’s okay for us to watch TV together while she disengages, but two people staring at computers in the same area calls for whining/moaning/crying. Usually at me. I am the head of household and decision-maker, and thus I am the problem.
My partner and I are both writers who don’t get paid to write, or only occasionally. We both have full-time jobs. He has depression, anxiety, and ADD, and thus a real need to create low-pressure environments for himself. In other words, he plays video games in his remaining free time. I have a half-dozen volunteer commitments, and my spiritual practice. (He’s working on the latter.)
I would love to post here or on my other blog once a week. I would love to commit to that. But I have this weird thing about keeping promises, one that doesn’t necessarily jibe with my spiritual beliefs. I know I have no control over the future. I know that the means is the end. I know that I would approach any commitment with the best of intentions, and even if I did fail, who would I be hurting? You, dear readers? Part of my evil self would really love to think that your lives would be noticeably worse if you were denied a piece for even a single week, but we know that’s not true. The only one hurt would be my ego, my high-achieving self, my judging little voice.
But I do want to write. I think about writing all the time – I have thoughts scrawled all over the place, including in the 70+ “drafts” sitting here on WordPress, with titles like The Weight of the World, Sour Grapes Make Fine Wine, and Sucker, and no further content. Did I think I could actually figure out what overwhelming force compelled me to make those notes, and did I think I would actually remember well enough to complete them? Or was I so spiritually advanced that I tossed these prompts out there knowing I could never get back to the place I was when I wrote them, and preemptively accepting the ultimate work as equally valid? Presuming these drafts are all worth pursuing, or reconstructing, I have more than enough content to get me through a writing year, but that’s a big presumption. And even with my anti-perfectionist commitment to not spend too much time editing anything, it’s nearly impossible for me to finish a post in less than 3 sittings. The Didion piece was a rare exception, but it was also written in the middle of a 5-day holiday weekend. Sitting in front of a computer makes me feel gross, and I have to do it all day for work. I’ve gotten much better at caring for myself since working from home – taking breaks to meditate, exercise, go outside – but the last thing I want to do at the end of a work day is sit at a computer and write. Which makes this all … hard.
I’ve relocated to the couch now, next to the guy. Dog then started moaning at us again, so we yelled at her until she joined us. We don’t want to yell at her: this is one of her rules. She will not join us on a piece of furniture unless we demand she does it in an aggressive tone. Then – maybe – she’ll cuddle up. She wants to come up, mind you, she just doesn’t want to show that she wants to come up, so she insists that we verbally abuse her. Fucking freak. And she doesn’t have the excuse of an abusive childhood.
She is now lying all the way across my guy so he can only type with one hand. Mission nearly accomplished.
What if I just commit to posting something every week? Does a Goodreads book review count? What about some fluffy day-in-the-life-of tidbit? What’s the purpose of posting, anyway? To spread ideas? Give of myself? Get attention? WHO AM I ASKING?
My ego, of course. But that’s not all of it. Those of us who write, overwhelmingly, feel compelled to write. As hard as it is to start, and infinitely harder to finish, I feel better when I write. I understand myself more, my emotions are softened, and I take the time to process in a way I don’t always do in the course of a regular day. It does me good.
All of that could happen without a blog, and even without a computer, but I’ve chosen to put writings out into the world on a semi-regular basis. It’s a mixed bag. The occasional feedback is great, but the pressure to publish frequently is sometimes counterproductive. I sometimes envy my partner, who has stopped blogging and is only working on pieces by himself or with an editor. But something drew me to this, and something tells me it might be helpful for others, so I keep going.
I guess that’s my 2022 commitment: to keep going. And lookee here – I’ve finished a post in one sitting (two locations; with canine assistance). Wishing you all joy & wisdom. Until next time.