Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hal Postponed for Tactical Tuesday~On Boldness

You'll just have to wait one more day for my rant about Hal Brown, Marin County Supervisor. I feel much less hot-headed today, and here's the reason:

I got back to my writing.

Now, of course, I promised to myself, and to a whole bunch of other people who are counting on me, to postpone the writing until I could get more flood clean-up done. And to tell you the truth, I felt a little relieved to be off the hook. After all, I had produced a Really, Really Shitty First Draft. Did I want to face that? Hell no! Besides, I had A JOB TO DO. I was GREATLY NEEDED AT HOME.

But yesterday, it was raining.

And I can't do flood clean-up in the rain. Right now I'm spreading out art, photos, and memorabilia to dry. It doesn't really work if you're getting all the stuff WET in the process.

So the answer was obvious. It's raining, and I can't do flood clean-up, and I'm a writer who's been complaining like hell about her lack of writing time these days, so of course I...


And it rained.


After a few days of wallowing in the sea of self-pity (a particular vice of mine), I looked out the window this morning and saw the first sun in several days. Tomorrow, and much of the rest of the week--spell rain. This was my chance to spread out some photos! I had no good reason to drop everything and work on the book today. 'Cept this:

I desperately didn't WANT to work on the book today.

And I was determined not to. But this morning, I had coffee with a circle of friends who have the wonderful quality of calling bullshit, bullshit. No one's mean--we each only talk about our own bullshit, but since we all pull the same particular brand of bullshit, we split our sides laughing in recognition, and usually get something bigger and deeper than social companionship out of the conversation.

Any-HOO, one of these friends called herself on the same bullshit I had been pulling. Mainly, the Poor me, everything's going wrong all of a sudden, everything was going so great for so long, and now the house of cards has all fallen down, so I'm just going to sit in the middle of it and cry.

Well, duh. Is that the most self-defeating thing you ever heard? The biggest guarantee that the house of cards won't be built again any time soon? (And of course, life is, for all the control we THINK we have, just a house of cards that could fall at any moment. Ask anyone who's had a child diagnosed with diabetes, or had a flood pour through their home, or had a vacuum cleaner explode in their living room, or been plagued with a giant zit on prom night, or... you get the idea. Fortunately, I am not Andy Richter and I Do Not Control The Universe. Whew! What a relief!)

In the end, she said, I realized despite my problems, (& everyone has them), my life is pretty great. Period.

What my friend said hit a nerve even though our situations are totally different. After some get-the-hell-out-of-the-way and LISTEN thinking (which is hard for me, I tend to think I know everything, when I really don't), the answer came.

What I needed was the opposite of what I wanted. What I had been avoiding was the very thing that I needed to do.

(Isn't it funny how it works out that way so often?)

And therefore, I went to the library later on and just sat with my blob of scrawled-upon papers and notes and my Really, Really Shitty First Draft that was so rank it made me want to cry, put on a set of headphones and tuned to WOXY Vintage, and...

The magic happened.

The Really Shitty First Draft of Chapter One turned into a Kinda Okay and At Times Pretty Damned Good Second Draft of Chapter One. I was SORRY when my writing session ended. A far cry from what I'd pictured, the two hours of boredom so intense I'd have to resort to nose-picking to entertain myself, because I was so fucking out of practice with this writing thing. Nope. The fingernails are clean. :o)

It was so wonderful. One of the best writing sessions I've ever had.

I once had this pinned to my wall:
“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius and power and
magic in it.”
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
But I lost it. Funny, I'm sort of a dolt that way. I forget this good stuff unless I write it down and I have so much trouble with the physical world (couldn't find my way out of a paper bag) that I always lose all these inspirational quotes and shit that people give me. I could never work like Anne Lamott does, with her index cards. Good Lord, they'd go through the wash, or just evaporate (like stuff always does with me) and then where'd I be? Back at Oh, Ain't It Awful again. Because I tend to lose most every physical thing into which I come in contact, I take most of my novel notes with a Sharpie on my hand and forearm. Won't lose them! (Prolly)

I got passed this one recently, too. Nice for when you catch yourself giving a critique of the universe and not paying attention to your own shit:
"Life is too short to waste
In critic peep
or cynic bark,
Quarrel or reprimand:

"Twill soon be dark;
Up! Mind thine own aim,
and God speed the mark!"

~Ralph Waldo Emerson
This one, too, is nice and succinct:
"Statistically 100 percent of the shots you don't take
don't go in."

~Wayne Gretsky
Better make copies of all three, and pin them to my forehead. Or tattooes?

So... is this a Tactical Tuesday post? I'm calling it one.