Breathing Space

Thursday 11 August 2011

Isn't it funny how cyclic we are in our habits.  It takes years to see the pattern and the shape of our rhythms, and the roots that trip us up.  I realised recently that it's been months since I've been in the habit of writing every day.  When I am writing every day it is almost impossible to imagine that I would ever stop doing this thing that I love, that I committed to years ago to keep working at.  But finding time to write is hard.  Finding headspace to write is harder (those two things I think are actually the same thing for me, in different clothing).

The whole writing gig is just hard.  Lack of confidence, big competition in the age of the internet ...  big opportunities in the age of the internet and staying focussed enough in your research to whittle down the markets that you think will be the best fit without getting sidetracked - these things are hard.  Researching your markets takes hours. You spend months waiting to hear back whether the short story that is the best you have yet written, one that you actually really can envisage being published, has found a home.  You then begin again three months later when you know for sure it didn't make it into the latest home you've been trying to find for it.  And so back you go again to the first square, sending it out somewhere else, trying to not let it be too draining on your confidence if your skin is too thin (mine is).

This writing game is a big fat bastard full of pus, and today I have felt discouraged enough that I cried piteous tears whilst waiting for my chicken and mushroom pasta to heat up for lunch.  Because I want to keep doing this.  And yet there is part of me that tries to keep me from doing this (and it is wily, and it changes its tack until I realise once again that oh, it's that again, wearing a different hat ;)   And the combination of those stumbling blocks within and without is sometimes just plain tiring enough to make you cry.

Especially when I'm at this part of the cycle.  Why is it that when you're out of the writing loop, not only is there the chill of the lack of ease and grace in that space, but the place you find yourself in is so totally full of discouragement on top of it?  It's like not only are you cold from the lack of grace, it's also stony and dark so you're stubbing your toe on jutty rocks, and bats poo on you from their belfries.  Only a stupid dick stays in this space when they know there is a loop to be back in.

However I, my dears, happen to be a stupid dick and so you see my predicament.

If I was a smarter kind of bear I would tune in more quickly to the fact that I've let my thoughts suck me down 26 samsaric levels below the flow of the river, and use the discomfort of being in this shithole to get out of it quicker than I sometimes do, to remember that there is a flow I can river down if only I can stop the fuck stressing long enough to go, be disciplined, sit down, start writing.  And so that's where this blog post comes in today, dear blogger :)

On Monday Lester, my dog, found a hole too irresistible to resist.  A deep hole that goes right underneath a tree and out the other side.  So deep, that if you put your ball in it, you can't retrieve it.  And so you put another ball in it, and you can't retrieve that one either.  The game is to put the ball somewhere difficult but not impossible to retrieve so that you get it back after a bout of shrieking and scrabbling.  And this hole looks like just the ticket, and so you put a third ball in the irresistible hole but then you can't get that out either.

I shook my head today at his stupidity as he trotted over to the tree, and dropped ball number four in.  Some dogs just never learn ;)


  1. pets have a wonderful way of helping us lighten up and learn some life lessons in a fun way

  2. They do, Kel. Absolutely :)

  3. Maybe it's heartspace, not headspace, that's required.

    And pets are angels:)

  4. Harry, that's a perceptive comment. My heart is absolutely in the whole writing thing. It's something that just feels like I'm meant to be doing it, which is why I keep coming back to it over and over.

    However, I've had some heartache lately, due to some personal traumas that have gone on in my family and which have retriggered some old stuff in me. I have actually physically felt the area in my chest aching over the past few months. And more recently I've been sick, which throws me back as well. So it's been a difficult winter in some respects for me.

    So you're right :) I look forward to having my heartspace back to myself :)

    Thanks for your comment :)

  5. I feel so much the same about writing, but I envy you that you work to make it such a priority. Somehow writing always gets lost in the shuffle of my life. I always feel as though I have lost touch with the calling because I'm so busy, so many demands of family and education and life. I haven't been blogging much because when I get like this, the words escape me and writing turns into a chore.

    I never have/will have the gumption to actually submit something written to a publication. More power to you on that!

  6. Erin - it's so much easier for me than for thee to fit the time in. I do hope, though, that if it *does* feel so important for you that something gives so that you find the time for it, if it's something nourishing for you. But yeah, it's a drag when it turns into a chore.

    Maybe one day you will have that gumption. There's a lot of life left to live yet :)

  7. Came to read this morning and see what Sue has been up to. Glad I did


  8. Aww, thanks, Kent! It's been a little quiet around here recently but it's always so good to remember why I love blogging. Good to *see* you.

  9. It's been REALLY quiet on my blog since everyone went to facebook. Now there's an even newer offering from the fast paced world of technology that's drawing people away from Fb. Google +

    People seem to always want the newest most titillating things being offered. I guess people are just bored in their own skin and are left scrambling in the famine fields of false belonging?

  10. When I bump into such scrambling this Berry quote always comes to mind

    "The world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles...only by a spiritual which we arrive at the ground at our feet and learn to be at home." Wendell Berry


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