Dita Parker

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can I play with madness

It has been brought to my attention that I might not be all-powerful.  


That much of what I'm trying to do may not come to pass because it's too much, too much to do in one lifetime, or at least all at once.  


That I can't have it all, that I might have to choose, to concentrate efforts some.  


One lifetime. Yes, now you're getting it. Only one woman? Well, I guess... No. I'm not getting it. I'll never pass this way again and if I pass opportunities they may never sail my way again. And I hate loathe detest retreating. Admitting defeat. Surrendering. Saying no to things I really really want, things I'm good at, damn it. Things no stupid-ass pirate can touch. Things that bring home le bacon. Let up on that? Cut back?  

Moi? Inconceivable!!! (Anybody else out there love The Princess Bride?)

But but but. You see, some two years ago I started a joke. Or it wasn't intended as a joke. Not at all. I started writing again after realizing that when I write, I'm at peace with myself and at home in the world, that I'm always in the right place at the right time, wherever I am. And for a rootless person, that's salvation. That is home. Every time I sit down to do it. Every time I wake up at first light to strangers talking in my head. In every word, no matter what the language, be it literary or genre fiction. Some of the stories may be escapist from a reader's point of view, but from the writer's, they're an exercise in staying grounded and keeping your head on straight.

Did I stop doing other things? Now whyever would I have done that? (Whyever is still not a word, is it...) Things I'm good at and enjoy doing, damn it, things that bring home les tranches de bacon. Of course I didn't. That would have been selfish. Reckless. Irresponsible. A waste of schooling and talent and precious time. That one lifetime. And life is so short.

Ze plot thickens. The universe decides to conspire against yours truly madly deeply. I was offered a little more of those other things to do, those sensible, income producing things that make me feel competent and sure of my myself, my skills and my future. Things that made the writing, everything I've achieved in that sector, or sectors, look like a trifle, pastime.

I said I'd have to get back to them;  and thought about the joke I'd started. Or that's what it's starting to look like. And it doesn't feel right. I don't feel right about it. Not at all. All things considered, I've gotten pretty far pretty fast, methinks. That has to count for something. Mean something. I've tried to honor that to the best of my ability, but I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't want more of a good thing, that I didn't feel as if I should be doing more. Or it's nothing but a joke. A waste of schooling and talent and precious time, that one life to live, remember? Since life is short. So. Damn. Short.

The universe strikes back. They grant me time to think about it. And they offer me more money. Ego well stroked, conscience calling, restlessness rearing its hideous head, I stared at the stories I've been working on in the midst of life and death and work and play and sickness and health. And home improvement. (Spent the weekend stripping wallpaper. Four decades of it. The last layer, from the late 60's, was the toughest. I had a vision of our lot 500 years from now. The house is gone. The wallpaper is not. It stands proud and as fugly as it ever was. [Stonehenge? Prehistoric wallpaper. Oh yes.] A dirty, brownish yellow. Yellow wallpaper. Know that story? Writers see hidden life, meaning and connections everywhere. Imagine if you will what went through my head as I dueled with said décor. [Life is too damn short.])

Whatever possessed me to pick up a pen again, wherever the stories keep coming from, it satisfies something in me beyond the fiscal or the physical. It's home. It's that simple. You can't put a price on that. There is none. But (and forget what I may have said on the subject in the past) writing is by far, without contest, the most selfish act I've ever engaged in. And that, my friends, that dissonance, is no laughing matter.

I thought time was on my side. I thought wrong.

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