Thursday, September 13, 2012
In Case of EgoMergency, Break (Hour)Glass
Things hit me in threes and fours, usually. It's got something to do with synchronicity, I think. These past few weeks, I have felt unmoored, adrift. There have been multiple deaths in my immediate circle lately (will write about that when I have something cohesive to say about it). Ever since the wedding (which I will write about soon, too), I have been feeling uncertain about the direction my life should take. It's the inevitable fallout, no doubt, of going from planning a very detailed wedding every waking moment of the day to planning... nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. Working counts for something, I suppose. But my work has never been the thing that's defined me, so I'm back to feeling like there's something else I'm supposed to be doing with my day. That, and the presence of so much death has really got me thinking about how to live more purposefully.
And what does the modern human do in a void of unknowing like this? She compulsively checks Facebook all day long to see if anyone has any great ideas. She checks it before she gets in the shower, and immediately after her shower, just in case anyone has posted anything brilliant or funny or helpful in the last eight minutes. Anything to make her laugh or think as she can't seem to generate anything amusing or clever herself. She'll check it after she's turned the kettle on, and again after she's let her tea steep the requisite four minutes. She'll check it in the company of her friends, on the bus, while waiting for the bus, as she fumbles to put away her keys and press the button in the elevator, while she waits at red lights, and while she waits for her computer to boot up.
Eventually she will remember there are other venues for the sort of inspiration she's looking for, ones that don't include guilt trips for not re-posting some blurb about cancer or privacy or patriotism. She will explore a few local writing workshops and even consider that gorgeous retreat house out on the islands outside her fair city. Eventually she will remember why she got on Facebook in the first place and she'll visit the blogs of her accidental mentors to see what they've been up to. She'll read and read and read and she'll try to find her life reflected back to her in the words of others. She'll come to find that she's not the only one who feels bombarded by the amount of information out there in the digital world. She'll find she's not the only one who is both overwhelmed and unfulfilled by it. After a spell, she'll find her mojo coming back to her in small bits. She'll pry that spider monkey of not-good-enough from her back and post what she's feeling and not care *too* much if it seems unpolished. She will let her feet drift out in front of her as she clings to doubt with all the might of her upper body. Her knees and ankles will bump up against the moorings in the murky water. She will let go of the catastrophe she's been hanging on to, and she will allow the promise of weathered wood and firmness somewhere in the grey-green guide the rest of her body to the pier.
And then she will stop referring to herself in the third person.
*clearing throat dramatically*
The Universe (and the Internet) is REALLY GOOD at reminding me that I am not alone in my search for something more meaningful in my life and the discipline to write for writing's sake. My friend Amber said it beautifully on her blog: we get greedy for the thumbs-up and the likes and it becomes a drug to be liked. And we get away from why we came to write in the first place.
In my clawing away at the cobwebs, I visited another favorite blogger. Mrs. Kennedy has the inimitable ability to drop a metric ton of knowledge on one's ass. And drop she did, along with Charlie Kaufmann. And, just like that, things shifted for me. I decided to turn off the Facebook notification ringer on my phone. I decided to look up from my screen and out the window a little more often.
And, because I am human, and because the need to be liked isn't QUITE out of my system just yet, I'm going to post all the comments I've gotten from spammers lately that vaguely resemble compliments but are actually just bait. If I want to believe that these words are the things that goad me on to writerlyness, then I want to read these from time to time and understand how seductive (and utterly silly when coupled with bad grammar) praise is. Feel free, when you're feeling unmotivated, to come back here and bask in the great warming glow of spammer love. Print these up and hang them up in your office and pretend they're your book (art/cooking/child rearing/martial arts/woodworking project) reviews from a bunch of enthusiastic critics. Just remember, no matter what you do, no matter how lost you feel, parts of Ukraine, and probably huge swaths of Africa, really think you're the bees' knees.
"We cherished your site. Significantly thanks once again. Much obliged."
"Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, very great post."
"Very amusing thoughts, well told, everything is in its place:0))"
"Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!"
"I must express my passion for your generosity supporting men who actually need guidance on in this subject matter."
"Very intriguing points you have noted, appreciate this for adding"
"Your site provided us with valuable information to work on."
"Whoa! This blog looks just like my old one!"
"Your site is really good and the posts are just wonderful. Thank you and keep doing your great work."