Thursday, February 11, 2010

Failure, Exhaustion, Madness

I love this essay by novelist Rebecca Brown. It's about failure.

I have a few things to say about it. But until the book is done (in two weeks) I can't seem to write about anything else. The posts I want to write will have to wait. Yoga Bitch has got me by the throat.

It's almost done.

And you know what?

I'm tired. I am bone tired. I'm so tired my eyes ache and my throat hurts and I have this little throb that comes and goes at my temples, as well as a few cases of psychic cancers in various parts of my body. Today, and last night, I was fully convinced that I actually have three different kinds of cancer, all brought on by periodic bouts of smoking and low self-esteem. I even tried one of those stupid visualization exercises where you envision your body filled with golden light, but you know what? That's such bullshit. There's no golden light. Even if there were, that golden light would do nothing but illuminate all those tumors.

Also? I'm lying. I didn't try that visualization exercise. I thought about that visualization exercise, and then I ate a bowl of ice cream.

Tired. When the phone rang just now I considered throwing it out the window just in case there was somebody on the other line who might want something from me, and I cannot give anyone anything because I am too tired. I'm tempted to wear the same clothes every day just because the thought of having to launder them makes me feel crazy, like my brain has split into twelve parts, one for each item in the laundry basket.

(Actually, I do wear the same clothes every day. But that's another story for another time!)

Writing makes me nuts. It makes everybody nuts. We're all fucking nuts. What does it, what makes you completely balls-out insane, is that even when you're this tired, even when you think you can't bear to look at the four million sentences sitting on your desk, waiting for you to improve them, you must. Because there is still work to be done. There is always more work to be done, and no matter how much you put into it, no matter how many drafts you do, how painstakingly you go over your sentences and how solidly you build your structure, it still might not be good enough.

But wait! There's something even crazier! The craziest thing of all is that I want to do this for the rest of my life. There's nothing else I'd rather do.

Except, perhaps, sleep.


Linda said...

Ice cream is so much better than visualization!

Some of what you wrote reminds of teaching, but I can't imagine having to live with the pressure of coming up with something original, creative, and engaging. Hang in there!

S.P. Miskowski said...

God, I love you. You are so funny. When I feel like I must be completely insane--why else would someone devote a whole friggin' life to writing?--I read your posts and laugh and laugh. Thank you. You are my remedy. I wish you the golden light of joy, upon completion of your book. And I will be first in line to buy a copy, which I will then carry like a bible to get me through the madness.

SM said...

Thanks Linda, I'm doing my best! I'm going to go have some ice cream right now, matter of fact.

Miz Miskowski, you make my cancers go away. Bless you.

YogaLia said...

Okay, it's settled, I think I love you.

Keep writing, Yoga Bitch!! We don't ever want you to stop, either...