Sittin’ here, with my eyes dry as old newspaper, trying to stay awake. My novel waits patiently and achingly, like a woman whose man has gone to sea. But I am not going to make my novel happy today, just going to try my best not to implode before my training shift at a new job.
A new job… I’ve had too many, because I like change and movement, or the illusion of movement and change. But I realize it’s exhausting to keep pursuing novelty and freedom, and I wonder, why so restless?
Likely because what I really want is to hole up with my words and never go to sea again. it’s just hard to bring myself to my writing when I am tired and cranky and ungrateful and undercaffeinated. But that is of course just an excuse. it is hard to bring myself to my writing no matter what, or when.
Only at first though. After a while i get in the rhythm of it, and then I don’t need what other people call inspiration. I just write. I love my characters and they say, screw inspiration, listen to ME, pay attention to ME. And so I listen and hope they tell me what to do, and that it won’t be too difficult or unpleasant or impossible.
Kind of like the work I may be doing this year. I hope to work with clients of a home care agency– seniors who need a companion, cook, cleaner. I hope I’ll get someone who wants me to read to them and have intelligent conversations. But in reality, they will be telling ME what to do. And if they want their toilet cleaned and toe nails clipped, it doesn’t matter how much I’d rather hear their views on Mozart or climate change. And that’s as it should be.
People telling me what to do. I never liked it much but it’s different when you know you are being paid to listen. Which is pretty much what I do as a writer except the pay is more in satisfaction than dollars and the listening is.. well, the listening is similar…characters only a few hours old may still have a lifespan that’s twice mine, and being ordered around by them is something of a privilege.