If you are wondering how to get started again
Lying on the couch, covered in a duvet, remembering that weeks ago, when I felt ok, I promised myself there would be no excuse for not writing and now I am refusing to move. I wonder if that makes me a terrible example of waste.
Stand up. Walk to the other side of the room. Turn around. See the room, as much of it as you possibly can. Take note of the black dresser, the white window sill, the translucent curtains, the cat/dog/human hair on the couch. Breathe once. Move to a different spot. Turn around, see the room, breathe once.
Repeat until you feel like the room is here to catch you.
Until you feel like no one in this room is going to make you feel Less Than.
Until you feel high, a little.
Move one more time, a short one.
Let your artist turn around. Start writing. Start writing about the room, about the couch, about the blanket.
The last week has been filled with doubt and shame. I haven’t written anything.
Most of the articles on this blog are stories about my life. While the world is currently a wreck, I wonder the value of my writing.
Two nights ago my boyfriend came to bed late, noticeably stunned in sadness. I ask him what’s wrong and he whispers “I’ve been watching the news.”
He tells me about police brutality in Minneapolis, he watched the entire video of one man’s death at the hands of an officer who had barely any grounds for approaching this man.
“I watched the whole thing.”
I hold him until he sleeps.
A few hours later, I wake up with incredible pain in my shoulders, neck, upper back. Stiffened, I can barely move.
I miss my entire morning including the walk with my mother and my dog.
I am icing my neck, staring at the wall and wondering, based on me missing one morning of my life, if everything is falling apart.
Well, of course everything is falling apart. Of course. It’s falling apart everywhere and aren’t I apart of Everywhere?
All day he shows me videos of Minneapolis. I turn on the news to see media coverage but I can’t find any which is even more depressing.
It’s just a sad day.
In the afternoon, my best friend sends me a link to a panel discussion on Writing for Film happening on YouTube, produced by one of our local theatre companies (Find this discussion and others here).
One of the speakers is a teacher of mine, a mentor from playwriting school.
I should be interested but I’m not. I am stuck in my head and I don’t think there is room for a panel discussion about something I only kind of care about.
I always forget the value of another person’s voice. It’s my most frequent mistake.
The more anxious I am, the less patience I have for people speaking.
The editorial in my head is loud, the world is moving quickly, sometimes it’s just too much work to listen to someone else speak.
I message my teacher and tell him I was going to listen to the panel but I wasn’t sure if I still would. He tells me that he’d be talking about “Writing with Illness” and that I might find it interesting.
I listen, nervous to hear his voice, nervous that I won’t like it.
He introduces his segment as “Writing for Hope”.
I listen and cry, relating to his discussion of how difficult it is to write with a raised awareness of global suffering.
I feel relief hearing him.
I feel the kind of relief I feel when I read an author I love or when I listen to music made by a friend or I watch a play created by people I love.
I feel calm.
I question, constantly, why I write this blog.
This morning, I remember why.
I don’t hear a lot of people say this but
When battling anxiety the most helpful tool is the sound of someone else’s voice.
If you can just find a way to interrupt your own voice with the voice of someone else…
but it has to be someone you are willing to listen to, someone you are willing to silence your mind to take in, an approved source of normalcy.
It has to be someone who you trust will breathe for you, or at least someone who is out there breathing the same kind of air.
I’m not the kind of writer who has a lot of information about the world or who feels comfortable calling on the people to rectify man’s social disharmony.
I’m not here to write solutions. I’m not here to write the news.
I’m just here for calm.
This morning, my mother tells me about a rabbi that her and my father have been following for some time. They know him personally as his wife is a good friend of our family.
She expresses some disappointment with the rabbi’s pandering to his audience, grandstanding and using religious occasions to gain followers.
She feels his discourse is inauthentic and a little too “high”-energy as he tries too hard to differentiate himself from other religious congregations by labelling his own philosophy something ridiculous like “Buddhist Chasidism” (Chasidism is already a well-followed sect of Judaism).
The rabbi’s seeming desperation for followers offends my mom. “Why does he need so much attention?” She asks.
“Maybe he’s only a rabbi because he wants followers,” I offer, as if religious doctrine is a social media platform, thinking hard about how desperately insecure I become when I revel hard on my lack of following.
I don’t like the rabbi she is speaking of but I feel an icky closeness desperation.
Sometimes I think I am writing all the wrong things because I don’t write content that is more immediately topical.
I worry that this writing is trash simply by virtue of it not being as important as current events.
It is embarrassing to admit that I would even care about the size of the blog’s audience.
It really doesn’t matter, does it?
This is just here for calm.
Like prayer, like wine, like a heavy blanket, like the voice of the friend you wish was beside you.
These articles are just here to be read, whenever you read them.
If you’re writing and you can’t find the reason for your content remember that however it helps you feel, it will likely help other people feel the same way. Always consider the audience, always give them exactly what you would hope to receive.
Will people read it? I think the appropriate answer is: Who cares.
Stand up, jump in, keep writing.