Having recently spent seven hours in an urgent care clinic, I got to thinking about the things that draw me away from writing. Not just the things that take time away from anything I can carve out to be creative, but things that disturb the head space that I seem to need for anything remotely creative to come out.
It’s been a hell of a year and a half for writing.
Hurricane Jakey has been a blessing. My son is a very cool little person and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. But he’s been bad for my creative process and not just in a “I need to be in the right state of unhappiness to write well” way. I learned that I need more sleep than the average person to be anything other than a dreary zombie. I did not get a full night’s sleep for more than 11 months. I wanted to die. At least temporarily for like ten hours. The first night he slept through the night, close to his birthday, I felt like crying. Such a small thing I had taken for granted all my life. Going to sleep and safely assuming I’d be that way til my alarm went off. It was useful to know that it was possible to be too depressed to write, that whatever the optimal level of misery was for the creative process, it was less than infinity.
Everything flows from that. It was a hell of a year and a half for work, and I am only now digging out from under the various work projects I committed to and am behind on. The publications took a dip, the billable hours took a dip, and I have no doubt that I was not doing my best technical, professional writing. Or data analysis.
Oddly, my chronic health issue has been the least of my problems. Having Crohn’s Disease makes it always unclear whether you have a stomach flu or a flare or food poisoning. I’ve been blessed in general to be pretty good most of the time. My recent adventure turns out to have been, not a flare up as I originally thought, but E. Coli food poisoning. That coincided with my final paper for my lit class.
And speaking of class, it’s been an odd combination of a drag and really invigorating. It’s nice to have any contact at all with adults, but honestly, the fall semester, my first semester back, was not a lot of fun. It’s undoubtedly all what I put in, but I found myself doing the bare minimum of creative writing, even for class. I think the quality of what I produced was higher, but I just didn’t click with anyone in the class, or for that matter, my American lit class. This semester, my creative writing class was canceled, and I focused on the lit class and it was really great. Seriously, Post-colonial lit with Professor Aboul-ela is great and it seems to attract smart people.
Anyway, back to writing. It feels like something is coming unstuck. I hope that’s right. Now that I am less than 2 months behind on work and don’t owe anybody a term paper, I am feeling less stressed about everything and the writing is slowly coming back. Jakey starts day school in the fall and I am honestly looking forward to the extra 8 hours a week of absolute free time that I can fill how I choose.
I am working on a poem about castrating cows, which continues the theme I had earlier of farming accidents. Although, it’s not that different if you take the perspective of the steer.