Well, I had an epiphany this morning. After all my whining and complaining and raging against ol' H. because of his stupid "writing" quote (refresher for those who hate to scroll down to earlier blogposts--btw, I can't blame you!--“If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual writing, then the desire must be not to write.” H. Prathar."), I am obliged this morning to confess:
I didn't really want to write.
What?! What is that, you ask? Speak up, you say?
I don't want to speak up! I've been getting by with whining and complaining for years now, telling myself that if only I had more free time/fewer chores to do/less on my mind/more on my mind/etc. I would have written the great Canamerican novel by now and my name would be a household metaphor for literary brilliance.
Today, I realised with dawning incredulity that it is true--H is right! The reason why I haven't launched my long-lamented, non-existent writing career is because...wait for it...my desire has been NOT to write!
Oh, the humanity!
Before you laugh me all the way out of the blogosphere, let me elaborate.
Last week, during one of my spasms of "Why can't I write?" hand-wringing, I had vowed to myself to sit at the computer and not allow myself to check email, Facebook or any other distracting interest until I had finished a blog post or some other piece of writing. That seemed like an excellent way to develop the self-discipline necessary to make a serious effort at writing.
Of course, I only managed to stick to it for one day.
It took me nearly 6 hours to edit and edit and edit that Blue Mass post and I got nothing else accomplished that day. Nothing else at all! So, I then spent the rest of the week, doing my best to finish all laundry and other chores, including the ones which pop up all the time unexpectedly, trying to clear the decks so that I could start this writing discipline thing without having everything else in my life go off the rails.
FF to this morning: After I dropped my sons off at school this morning, I was driving home planning my day. I was wondering how quickly I could type out a post so that I could get to the photos that I have promised myself for 8 months I would scan and catalogue. Not only is that a time-consuming task, but it is also really important (and I had earmarked this winter to get it done for that reason), but is also something I really looked forward to doing. I was also planning to sort the photos and hopefully make up some books with them and have them printed by an online publisher for our library and for the kids. This is a creative project that I really would enjoy! I've already made a couple of these books with newer photos, and have been mentally planning books of photos recording the kids' childhoods for months.
Then, I thought about how long it took me to write the post last week. I thought about all the topics in my head right now, and how complicated and long any posts on these topics tend to be, and it dawned on me that in order to write - really write as I hope to do 'one day' - I would have to give up doing other things I enjoy or which have been important to me at various points in my life. And you know what? I do not want to do that- at least not yet. And the truth is, that has been the case all along!
Normal people who are able to give their attention to various things at various times and are able to switch focus with relative ease would not have to rob time and attention from everything and everyone else in order to write at all. I, on the other hand, have very sticky attention when I have focused on a task, and skittery attention unable to stick to anything when I am not focused. It holds like glue to the task I've focused upon and I am unable to make the switch easily between the primary focus and other things. Therefore, it was my desire to focus upon my children and our home and there my attention has been stuck, making it virtually impossible for me to give writing enough mental energy to sustain anything more than an occasional essay or letter.
And with that epiphany this morning, I felt all of the aggravation and frustration about my inability to write as I dreamed I would peel away and float off into the nether regions of my mind, along with all the other petty or misplaced grievances of my youth. The writing lament was the last and strongest holdover from my earlier days, and I am heartily glad to bid it bon voyage!
I am no longer sorry that I wasn't writing up a storm for the past 20 years. I have finally made the connection between my ADD nature in every other aspect of my life with how that has impacted my writing (or lack of it). If I had focused upon my writing, I would not have been able to tear my attention away from it enough to give my attention to my children, whose growing years have been so precious to me. Finally, I can see why I've been so happy to coast along not producing works of literary genius (or even passable works of fiction); it's because I've been busy soaking up the joys of life I have had right in front of me.
I haven't written the great Canamerican novel not because other things/other people have prevented me from doing so. I have not written it yet because I have desired to do other things more!
Until now, at least.
Now I am at a stage where I do desire to get my writing started, but I also desire to still complete the various other creative projects which I enjoy doing and which I also intend to leave behind as a legacy for my children and grandchildren. I'm going to try to find a way to split my focus enough to accomplish more than one thing at a time, and I think I may be able to do it with a little practice, because projects require less concentration and emotion than people- and the important people who have been the focus in my life for 20 + years are almost all launched. The time is here when I can start to tinker with the old brain wiring and see what I can do!
So, I guess I have to own up to the fact that H Prathar was right--I haven't written anything worthwhile so far because I haven't desired to do so more than I have desired to do other things. And that is just fine. Life will, hopefully, be long enough for me to give a few decades over to focusing on writing before I die, but if it doesn't work out that way, I think my epiphany today has been, finally, that maybe I can be OK with that. The other things that have gotten in the way of writing have been richly rewarding and beautiful and demanding and wonderful and I have enjoyed every minute.