Today is sort of my day off.
And yet the words seem to be stuck somewhere, jammed in my knuckles on the way to the keyboard. I could make a list of everything that needs to be done yesterday. (Cou-this blog-gh.) Somehow I have an inkling that it would be less than helpful.
My normally underwhelming life has taken a turn for the over, between finances and bills that line up with not-so-polite sniffs and a week without income during my job switch. Okay, so I made $24. That’s barely half a tank of gas. Hovering just behind my right ear is the rewrite of my novel. I’d like to think the last few maundering weeks have been ideas stewing in my head like a crock pot full of glory, ready to serve themselves up into bestseller history the second the timer goes off.
No, chances are a few more rewrites and a lot more tooth gnashing stands between me and any real changes in my finances, though this new job will help significantly. So what do I do? Buckle in and dig down? Mix up some metaphors? Nope.
I make muffins.
Sure, they’re really good muffins. Lemon curd and blueberry. They’re delicious. I already ate four. But unfortunately for them, they aren’t that inspirational. They sure don’t help my behemoth of a project. Now it’s already 1:20, and I have to go to work and take a test on beer and food that I feel 72% sure I will fail (the food part, not the beer part — four days isn’t much to memorize a menu).
So why am I spending my evenings watching Veronica Mars again instead of working on my rewrite? Maybe it’s because every time I sit down to write, every sentence ends up punctuated with, “Buffy! Easy!” as the puppy makes the cat squeak or “Willow, down!” as the kitten sticks her face in my breakfast. By the time they settle down, the puppy needs to go outside (or has gone inside), and I can’t remember for the life of all things fuzzy what I was doing.
Nah. I could blame them, but they’re just being babies.
It’s my own fault I’ve been so lazy lately. There’s a word for it, and that word is discouragement. If I were to scrunch my eyes shut and stick out a finger, that finger would land on an innocuous little sticky note with four lowercase letters written on it.
I think I haven’t felt like working on my rewrite because of fear. I’m afraid of the mountain of debt under the carpet of our apartment. I’m afraid that this gamble I’m taking of working as a server while I try to get my writing off the ground will just make me into a 30-year-old with no real “experience” in a traditional field. I’m afraid I won’t be able to provide for my family. Those are harsh fears, sharp and cold and sterile fears. They’re fears I don’t much know how to address or conquer.
It’s not just about the writing. It’s the other things that squeeze in on me. Each distraction, each new envelope that comes in the mail is a reminder that we’re just sprinting to catch up. Each batch of muffins seems to be made of lead. As much as I would like to believe that getting this rewrite done will change something, that belief is as fragile as looping blown glass in a minefield, and as I dance around it, I wonder which step will create the booming symphony of that glass crashing into shards.
I think I turn to baking and cooking because I have to believe that something I make with my hands can sustain us. There’s a power in that belief that can turn blown glass to diamond hardness, if I only knew how to harness it.
So for now, I’ll drink my Thai tea, eat my muffins, and fixate on the irony of the mug I chose quite by accident.
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