Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The bigger issues and the smaller self

When I'm not writing, it feels like I'm a big useless, lifeless yellow big thingy that should be put away because I'm getting in everybody else's way. Tractor seen from a car window while travelling along the South Expressway last month. Photo by Babeth Lolarga

"When I’m not writing, my life seems both foreign and shallow, an insubstantial and flimsy thing I observe as if from a distance: someone else’s life, not my own. When I’m writing regularly, I feel more present to my life as it unfolds: I’m present and paying attention, inhabiting my own existence rather than watching it flash before me without conscious consideration. Forget about trying to walk in someone else’s shoes: first you have to learn how to walk in your own."
- Lorianne DiSabato in "The unexamined life," www.hoardedordinaries.wordpress.com

Perhaps I exist in Ms. DiSabato's parallel universe because all the things she has written about missing journal-writing or even maintaining a space or blog like this are feelings that I'm familiar with. I tend to over-blame myself--that I'm past my prime when story pitches fail and editors don't quickly get back to you. I take the lukewarm or non-response as nothing deeply personal. Just professional rejection due to lack of space.

Where to put the darling baby (draft of an article or an essay)? In this space, where else? But what if you've practically lost heart over repeating the process and would just rather sing like the Julie Jordan character in Carousel, "What's the Use of Wonderin?"

And then the darkly vicious cycle repeats itself and you wait until the dark has rinsed itself out and the wash emerges clean. If a writing professor like Ms. DiSabato thinks my washing machine metaphor for days like this one is ineffective, I don't blame her.

Meanwhile, I am fully aware how there are more serious issues out there than my being a bit stumped for words (temporary condition).

I only have to think of the Syrian child Aylan Kurdi, his body not yet bloated by sea water, the strife his family sought refuge from. Then there's murdered Manobo teacher-elder Emerito Samarca and family and his terrorized students to wake one up to the realization that the occasional dips in mood a writer suffers isn't worth a hill of beans in this crazy old world. Time, be my friend. Let this dip dissipate soon.

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