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Dark at Five

Mud Island, Memphis. From the roof.

I will not write a post about how I can't think of anything to write.

I will not write a post about how I can't think of anything to write.

I will not write a post about how I can't think of anything to write.

Too late.

Maybe you know what it feels like to create, too.  To offer up.  To show. To produce.  To teach.

Sometimes, you get busy thinking that you're making stuff (writing) that you forget to look around and check to make sure that you're actually making stuff (writing) and when you do, you're all, "HOLY... what the... I must've taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque (I'm not writing and I miss Looney Toons) ."

You have money in your pocket, but no words on your paper.

And then you get more confused because you look at people who are chasing their dreams down with such intensity that they seem dispassionate to every other thing and you think... what?

Is that how you get what you really want?

Just tune everything else... every one else out?

I don't want that, but I have something I want to achieve and it's kind of big.  It's not like a little thing.  I mean, not that anyone's thing that they want to achieve is little.  But mine is especially not little.

Everyone you love deserves to feel like they're a priority. Sometimes like they're the priority. You can tell when they don't feel like they're a priority, too, can't you?  Because they pretend to cry because they can't eat lollipops for breakfast or because they climb a makeshift ladder of pilows and footstools and start throwing brown rice all over the floor or because they make a snide comment that they insist has nothing to do with this issue, but you're just sure it does.

That's when I feel I have to pick between them and the thing, but I don't want to pick. But I feel like I have to because last year I promised myself I'd write 4000 words a week, and I'm only writing about 450.

Is this the place that you see in movies and hear about when you're a teenager?

The place where you decide?  Where you either become Jimi Hendrix or a middle school music teacher?  Which is a TOTALLY GREAT JOB because even though he died a legend, Jimi Hendrix did, in fact, choke on his own puke which is just, let's face it, highly undesirable.

And this kind of underlines my point.  You have to choke on your own vomit to be great?  Who writes these rules?  I have issues with these rules.  They are stupid rules.  Plus they are gross.

Truth is, I don't "sort of" do anything, and I feel very out of my element in this deciding place.  I feel like I'm "sort of" here and "sort of" there. I "sort of" have things to write, but the real thing is... is "sort of"even worth a big ball of tears, brown rice crunching under your feet for weeks and an argument you just don't feel like having one more time?

I don't know if it's worth it or not, but I don't know how to stop wanting to write and I don't know how to stop feeling frustrated when I don't but I hate the sound of (expensive) brown basmati rice crunching under my feet.

It's so crap, as the British say, that I have to "sort of" do anything.

But that's "the job," right?


So. Yeah. Dreams.  Pursuit. Stuff.  Money.  Family. People.

I don't know.


It gets dark here at like 5p.m.

I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous.

Reader Comments (25)

Sunset was a little before 4:30PM here today. Sucks.

Not really the point at all, but I was feeling your pain (and hopefully lessening a half an hour).

December 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterB.E. Earl

It's actually 4:45. So, just fifteen minutes. Half an hour would have made everything okay. You fell short, my friend. Sigh.

December 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

In these dark busy days, I'm thinking the same thing. And appreciating that, whether or not you wanted to, you wrote and shared. Here's a link to a poem by Maya Stein - about the next step....October 4, 2011
the canvas
Enough has been said about that blank space, the pause
of possibility pointing to a still-unnamed story. We don’t need
another poem about potential, or the way we bend at the knees
toward the dark tunnel we hope might lead to greatness. Instead,
I want to celebrate the opening mark of the pen, the infant half-inch of paper
glued to the upper right-hand corner. The inaugural dip of a soaked brush
that lays a line of paint down flat. The “yes” that finally tilts the doer
into doing. This poem is for that plucky charge into the gauntlet, the dogged push
through all those voices arrowing critique. This is for the stroke that bursts the bubble
clinging us to fear. The hand that reaches in not for beauty, but for rubble.

December 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commenternotwh0

I LOVE this. I am copying it down... right now... thank you so much for sharing it. I feel like it's something I can use to motivate me when I think I have nothing to say. Truly, thank you so much.

December 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

Yes. This is how I feel about photography. And I feel like I'm completely half-assing it and spinning my wheels when I could be growing and learning because all the big and little pieces of my life want pieces of me every day and a lot of the time there aren't any pieces of me left for what I really want to do.

December 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Charles Bukowski's headstone says in two words what Yoda took eight to say. Typical writer. But that pretty much sums it up.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRW

The "dark at 5" thing kind of sucks but a few more weeks and we start to turn around again. Welcome to the world above the tropics.

I love your stream of consciousness about writing. I think about this ALL THE TIME as I balance my yearning to write with a job that pays the bills. For now. I fantasize about leaving it all behind or retiring (someday) to a time when I can do nothing but write. *sigh*.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts so honestly. Wishing you time to write between the darkness and the rice.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

At least Mud Island at dark is pretty, right?

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterthe muskrat

Instead of holding yourself to a word count, could you carve out one hour a day (or a half hour) to write? I know it's supposed to be a good thing to set your goals high, perhaps higher than you can be expected to achieve, but I think if it just stresses you out it's not worth it.

Do you want to produce 4000 words to produce 4000 words? Or would you rather produce 400 words that move 4000 people to tears (or action)?

Schedule that time and write. Don't worry about what you're writing. Just write. And then forget about it when you're done (which you won't do, but you may be able to simply let ideas marinate while you do other things). The doing is what ultimately sparks the creativity and stokes it.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

At least you're writing.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

I think that yes, we do have to choose.

We can do lots of things sort of, or a very small handful of things great.

I think that's a reality that is really, really hard to cope with for those of us who were raised in the land of plenty.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

what megan said. that and also i think you need a vacation.
come to pittsburgh. let's play!

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf


December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

In defense of Yoda, "there is no try, only do" is six words. Unless I'm messing the quote up which is possible since I'm not fluent in geek. I've always appreciated the sentiment. I recognize its truth fully only now, though.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

Thanks, it's good to know I have company in how I feel. Make me feel more "normal".

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

It is. That's the view from the rooftop of my building. Awww yeaaah.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

That's a good idea. "Forget about it when you're done." Oh, Megan.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa


December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

Yeah. I never know what to write in the response section when we've already talked about something for an hour.:-)

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

When it is warmer! I've been to Pittsburgh in December... it gets dark at like... THREE. ;-)

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

I could have written this and you know I'm telling the truth.

December 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVikki

What was I thinking?! Of course.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

I can't stand that it gets dark so early, either. It's depressing.

So is choosing.

Worst part of choosing is looking back at all the other choices made and wondering who the hell that was and why it was so out of line with who I am.

Being great is great. Living a meaningful life is great. Being loved by those we love is great. I guess that's the trick... having it all without sacrificing our personal values or the love of others.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSugar Jones

Yes. This. It is a hard line to walk. I get it. Too well.

December 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

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