My inner artist is trying to get out

This year I was supposed to come up with a plan to get my creative life back.  I haven’t done it yet, of course.  Apparently, I gotta find a place to live, do my taxes for last year (and because I’m self employed, I have more excuses to procrastinate), start ditching items and clothes, and pack in the next 3 weeks.  No official place to go but here’s hoping.  We went from a 1 bedroom apartment to a 1500 sq ft. apartment that we have managed to fill to the seams.  So, the getting back to my creative life keeps falling off the to do list these days.  Reading FB is making me nauseous.  So and so is doing this and creating their own work, theatre companies, movies (oh, you know, what I should have done by now, oh, my god, I’m getting older by the second.)

Before we adopted our son, I actually started to write a play about infertility.  I had gone to see a play called the Rabbit Hole and now it’s a movie starring Nicole Kidman.  It’s about a couple who are living their lives in the aftermath of their son’s death.  He was run over by a car after running after their dog into the street in front of their house.  It was a very moving play.  I could understand the grief up to a point.  I had never seen two pink  lines, never given birth to a child so I could only imagine the horror and devastation of losing my only child.   My child was only in my head and my heart.  I had imagined so hard that my child seemed real, if only to me.  Theoretical.  This fact I kept to myself mostly so I wouldn’t sound crazy.  Those of you who remained childless and went on with your lives understand what I mean.

Anyway, I felt compelled to create something – turning poison into medicine.  There have been musicals about infertility and books.  Most of them had a happy ending if you know what I mean.  They get pregnant and have a beautiful child – hurrah, lots of applause.  I didn’t want a happy ending.  I just wanted a different ending.  So I started it and never finished it.  Typical Gemini trait I know, but I got derailed by this and that.  I have the attention span of a golden retriever and lack discipline for things like making lists.   I’m attracted to and repelled by the notion of retreats.  I used to go away for a couple days on my own to just get away from queries about what’s for dinner or the secret hiding spot for the toothpaste.  That’s how I started this blog.

Writing this blog took precedent over writing the play.  I poured my heart and soul and was rewarded with amazing connections to women all over the world.  I loved it.  I could publish whatever I wanted.  It was simple, I didn’t have to be “selected”, I didn’t have to “audition” or be super talented or anything but myself.  I just hit “publish” and someone said, hey, I read it. Good enough for me.

Yet there are so many awake hours of the day and my son keeps me blessedly busy, so some sort of discipline needs to be applied here.  I am not without discipline, it just depends on what for.  I have directed a few plays, been in plays, created collaborative theatre projects so it’s apparent I do have the skills to be organized. I can walk and talk and hit a mark on set.  I even managed to lose a bunch of weight a couple of years ago through diet and unearthly morning visits to spin class.

Months ago,  I went to my doctor to tell her that I had been feeling simply awful, my brain was foggy, I was losing things,  I felt like I was drowning, I just couldn’t seem to get enough done to keep domestic chaos at bay, I was fearing depression. Having a kid now challenged whatever control I had left in my life.   Instead of a prescription for antidepressants, she told me to get some sleep.  Being a traditional 8 hour sleeper, I couldn’t keep juggling all the balls in the air without my REM sleep so I had to start to go to bed earlier.  I was trying to keep my old life while trying to adjust to a child in my life.  Even when I was working 12-15 hours on set, I was not nearly as tired or mentally fatigued.  In fact, I was deliriously content to sit in an uncomfortable chair under hot lights for hours. Yet, the care of my easygoing son was making me weep with fatigue.  Apparently the last generation had the ability to suck it up better than this one.  Or maybe they were just closet drinkers.  I refuse to drink in a closet.

There’s a reason you can’t have it all – you need help.  Whether you have the option of daycare, nannies or nurturing family, these little buggers take up your time and your mental energy.  You love them, can’t imagine having a life without them, but they don’t give a rat’s ass that you want to sit down in peace and quiet and write for 3 or 4 hours.  That is, if you can write in 3 or 4 hours.  Often I would wittle away time with mundane domestic chores or phonecalls before I could return to the blank page to eke out a few more drops of blood on my forehead.

So I write when he naps or before he wakes or on weekend mornings when hubby is bonding with him.  I write more when I am in a Starbucks than when I am home.  The dog’s hairballs keep calling to me.  There’s always things to pick up, put away, ohmigod, look at the dust over there.  So Starbucks has become a room of my own.  I’d prefer an office so I wouldn’t feel guilty about hogging a table for hours.  Don’t you think there should be some sort of co-op where you could go sit in a cool little pod or something with headphones.  You could come out and get coffee in a communal kitchen and scan the bulletin board for artistic events for inspiration.  Women would come out of their cubby holes and tell you to get back to writing and if you finished a page, you could eat a Hershey’s kiss or something.  But you never, ever have to clean up.

Okay, I’m going to give up my table, go check out some stores, buy something I don’t need, then go visit my mum this afternoon.

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11 thoughts on “My inner artist is trying to get out

  1. There is so much wisdowm in this post. : )

    Your vision of a writer’s co-op reminded me… the guy who wrote the wonderful book about Columbine, Dave Cullen, left a nice comment on my blog some time ago, & I’ve been following his blog ever since then. He recently moved to New York & he has a little office in a place that sounds very much like what you have envisioned (without the Hershey’s kisses, lol). I’ve scrolled up & down through his posts for the last few months, trying to find that one to link to you, no luck. :p

    I’m intrigued by Rabbit Hole — it’s gotten good reviews. A little too close to home, perhaps? I’m sure I’d love it but cry buckets. Did you ever see “In America?” — another movie all about grief, just amazing. And the father is an aspiring actor. ; )

  2. I love this post. How little things have changed, really, since Virginia Woolf’s day. Your vision of a retreat for writing sounds a lot like my experience of grad school. There were so many talented women, all of us encouraging each other, and now I am watching all of my former colleagues’ accomplishments from Facebook.

  3. Don’t let Fbook factor in at all. I was told someone I knew from a while back was in fashion design and merchandising. It sounded so glamorous, until I found out she is actually a clerk in a shoe department of a chain store. So yeah.
    You may have also hit upon a great idea for a small business. Find an empty floor in an building somewhere, one that has cubicles, and rent them out (enough to cover the actual rent), and pass out the keys. Tell one of the writers they can have their cubicle at no cost, but in return they have to clean up. You would have writers, and other assorted artistic types flocking to have a cubicle away from home. Hell, you would probably see mom’s hauling their dead tired asses in just to nap.

  4. Oh, my dear, dear friend! How I love this post! Your vision of a creative space for women brings a tear to my eye – oh, the longing! Imagine you and me and all the other bloggy friends tucked away in a quiet spot where we can work on our own things but be together at the same time – that’s a sangha, isn’t it? I guess we have the virtual version of that already, but it’s just not the same. And I love that OHN just takes it and turns it into a business idea – women are so, so awesome.

    I’m in a coffe shop, too – must try to make a habit of it. A cup of tea, a peanut butter cookie, and the ability to focus on whatever I want for a solid hour or two – it’s going a long way to making me feel like myself again.

    Love to you.

  5. Great post! I wonder how I will handle the baby once we get her/him. I too am a solid 8-hour a night girl and if not, it’s not pretty!

  6. Pingback: dropping a veil | i am vulnerable

  7. Once you move and get settled in, I hope you’ll have a space for yourself. Maybe hubby can handle the Precious once a weekend so you can have your retreat.

    Good luck on the search!

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