Being compelled to create something constantly that no one may ever want, that no one may ever read, being obsessive-compulsive about needing a writing schedule when there are a million other things that need to be done instead, takes its toll. Being a writer really fucks with your head sometimes. I see why writers go swimming with rocks in their pockets, stick their heads in gas ovens, and any other crazy shit they've done.
I hit a low this morning and went walking four miles in the rain to cheer myself up. I imagine jumping off the bridge into the calm, green river. I imagine taking a whole bottle of pills and climbing into a bubble bath. I wonder if either would be enough to do you in or if it would just fuck your head up really good and make someone else have to change your diapers for the rest of your life. I'm not contemplating my own suicide, but figuring out how to kill off characters. I have killed off characters with the pills and the bathtub before. I'm undecided about the river. I think he would survive that so I'll blow him up in a truck instead.
I'm constantly trying to work things out. In traffic, on the way to work, I picture a million ways the car could crash, spin out of control, flip upside-down on the railroad tracks. If one tiny patch of road decides to be icy, if a semi comes over on a car the size of mine,
I see the whole explosion. And I like speed. Speeding is the closest thing to
flying, and once I'm flying, I'm in the zone. My head starts making up stories
to entertain myself, and the only thing that can pull an ADHD kid out of an
imaginary lala-land is something that
sparkles or flashes or makes sudden noise...like blue and red lights with
"Do you know why I pulled you over?"
"No, last thing I remember doing was closing one eye and using a pincher grasp to pretend I was moving that airplane across the sky. And now I've lost my airplane. So thanks for that..."
Voices, characters, ideas that demand attention swim in my head all the time, and when I tune in to them, I'm completely oblivious to the real people who are standing there, telling me things that I probably need to know. The playful folks and children do get through to me. My energy just latches on to theirs. Like my 9-year-old daughter telling me that she's worried that the solid-black cat is not sleeping well because he has dark circles under his eyes. She says she can tell he has dark circles because his eyes are puffy underneath. She also says that if she looks close enough into the solid-black fur, she can see his stripes. That cat is blacker than the ace of spades. There are no stripes. If you point this out to her, she will shrug her shoulders and say, "Well maybe he's a panther (pronounced pan-fur)." There is always an explanation that is not what is. The escape from reality. Thank Jesus.
And speaking of Jesus. Tonight at dinner my mind started fixating on Jesus lizards, and if we could had one, what all could we make him do. I thought about his for a while before I blurted out mid-dinner conversation about god-only-knows-what, "Hey! If I had a Jesus Lizard, I could be like: Hey! Jesus lizard! Go turn off my bath water. Or I could float on my raft in the pool and be like: Hey! Jesus lizard! Go bring me another daiquiri."
My daughter joined in: "Or I could say, 'Hey! Jesus Lizard! Find me the soap.'"
"I'd make my Jesus lizard help with the dishes. I'd say, 'Hey! Jesus lizard! Turn down the hot water! Bring me a dish towel!.'"
We were giggling and having a good time and drawing mean looks from this evening's church crowd, when her dad brought up reality again.
"Just because he can walk on water, doesn't mean he'd be able to turn off your bath water or carry heavy things," he said.
"Yeah," I said. Game over. The kid and I sat there for a while like little deflated balloons. "But how do you know what he can do? You've never had a Jesus lizard."
"Can we get a Jesus lizard for a pet, Mama?"
"You Google that, baby, and let me know."
The waitress came over and brought my salad. We had waited forever. "I'm sorry the food is so late!" she said. "Do y'all like brownies?"
"Then I'm gonna bring y'all some brownies."
Ok and I nodded and thanked her, but in my head was screaming: Yes! Bring me a special brownie with the "salad" already in it. Wink, wink. Or: It's a good thing you offered me a brownie cause I was about to flip this table over, smash some dishes against the wall, and stomp in your windpipe with my boot. But that brownie is gonna fix everything.
Nobody would choose this lifestyle: Your head running circles and working overtime for no pay, while you are struggling to find time to write down what is being said because you just can't not. If I got to choose, I would be content sitting on the couch all day, watching soap operas, and napping with the cat. I would work one job that pays the bills and be happy with that. Maybe I'd meditate without voices in my head making up perverted poetry or telling me who needs to be killed off next and how it's going to happen.
I read an article on writing recently that said as an affirmation, you should tell yourself daily that you are a writer no matter what. It doesn't matter if you are published. It doesn't matter if you have an agent. It doesn't matter if you are making money at it. If you must write, then you are a writer no matter what. It can't be helped. (Oh sure, with medication, maybe, but that would make you not really you, and then who would you be?) So I guess this is my long-winded way of saying that nothing is ever going to fucking change, even though it's a new year. Happy New Year!