Saturday, November 10, 2012

Writing on the walls

I miss the days when I could fall into a novel as if into a deep well and lose myself there, completely leave my ridiculous (adolescent) life behind.

I also miss the days when I could put a sheet of paper into the typewriter and bang away until that same ridiculous (adolescent) life disappeared into the mists.  I wasn't very good at writing stories back then (and it's questionable that I've gotten very much better, though I have become more confident after having years of captive audiences in the classroom -- listening ears and eyes that can't escape me) but I very much enjoyed the process of writing, the magic of losing track of "reality."

But the last thing I miss is THOSE DAYS.  Sometimes I think my writing was and is spurred by the need to escape an oppressive domesticity.  In other words, like the unnamed narrator of Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wall Paper," I work best when I'm being driven mad by the need to (metaphorically) breast feed.  So I'm fueled by a need to ignore that demand, as well as the demand itself.  That's when the white page and the words I manage to put on keep me on the right side of the knife's edge of sanity. Suffering creates "art," or at the very least raw material.

The problem is that I'd have to be a real bitch to think that I'm living an oppressive domesticity now.  (Wait.  Maybe I am a real bitch. :0)

I observe my daughter, who also has the creation bug, writing stories, drawing cartoon versions of a haunted self, and wonder if we're doing her a serious disservice by being such attentive and "understanding" parents.  After all, would I have kept up the writing through college and beyond if Dad hadn't been such a complete controlling prick?  If Mom hadn't dithered in the void of that marriage for year after year of emotional abuse, leaving me as her self-designated witness -- someone determined to "have it out" with the world, to throw that emotional baggage out every window I could find, busting it open on the metaphorical lawn for all of the metaphorical neighbors to see?

But then I read what she's written and think, Damn. That's, like, MIND BLOWING.  And I didn't even strip her of any good feelings she might have the bad luck to express aloud, or accuse her of doing the very things that the world is not allowing her to do.

And here I am again, getting lost in the work, losing track of time, while the laundry churns away in the washer.  And I have a good life.  And the wallpaper is not only NOT moving, it's been removed (with a lot of swearing and elbow grease) -- a long time ago.

I'll have to come up with a new theory, I guess.


Nanowrimo word count, day 10:  21,569
Word count today: 2473

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