I’m sorry I haven’t posted sooner, dear readers, but truly, you wouldn’t have wanted to hear from me. I have been nothing but whiny and listless these days. Last night, I spent hours reading back issues of People I borrowed from the building recycling bin (Is Britney Spears gaining weight? Sweet Mother of God, can it be?). I have a headache and my legs aren’t working right and also my skin feels funny. I’ve been better.
It’s nothing serious, mind you. I know serious, and this—this is a day in the park. A day when you can’t find a shady spot for your blanket and when you finally do the yellowjackets swarm all over your lemon bars, but still, the park isn’t all bad! Those guys over there playing softball are enjoying themselves, aren’t they? Stop crying!
The Republicans were around recently, as you might have heard, and that didn’t do much for my spirits. Watching the Zell Miller-bot head jabber maniacally tore a small hole in my joie de vivre. Also, I read this book review about the near-inevitability of nuclear terrorism, and I might have freaked out a wee bit--I decided to move us all to Iowa, actually. I was all set to go but my husband pointed out that maybe I shouldn’t make major life decisions based on book reviews. And summer is over, which normally I’d be all hoop-dee-doo (why can’t I use real words as adjectives?) about, but when you have a toddler, it's more or less vital to go outside at least twice a day and let said toddler run in crazy circles until he releases the devil spirits inhabiting his tiny frame. In the winter, it’s a little like “The Shining” around here, only with crayons instead of an axe, a little less blood pouring through the hallways, and…hmm…actually, in every other way it’s identical to “The Shining.”
But the real problem is that creatively I have found myself at a standstill. The kind of standstill where you think maybe you're a talentless hack who can't construct a coherent or entertaining narrative and oops, you wasted half your life trying. I have the first draft of a children’s book finished, two essays sort of begun, countless drafts of short stories that need work, and a novel for adults (note: not an adult novel, which is a different, sexier thing and would probably pay more) that I keep abandoning and then running back to, begging forgiveness. Lately, every time I sit down to work, I flit from piece to piece, glancing at and then fleeing in horror from each one because it turns out that I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY. There’s nothing in my brain but a low, steady hum, interrupted periodically by a tiny voice squeaking, “Alice! Hey, Alice! You suck!”
I realize that right now I’m not the best judge of my work, so I continue to struggle valiantly against the urge to delete every document and/or set my computer on fire. But I’m not entirely sure how to get back on track and stop hating every word I’ve ever written. Do I stop trying to write for a few days? Or a few years? Or do I grimly return to my routine—which currently means sitting at my computer, hands poised above keyboard, hyperventilating quietly and waiting for the hour to be up so I can rock back and forth in a corner somewhere?
What would you do, reader? Alternately, what would Jesus do? Answers to either of these questions would be most appreciated.