Monday, July 23, 2007

What day is this, anyway?

It's almost 2:30 in the morning, and I'm trying to grasp what day this is. I went to bed just after my last blog post and have just now gotten up again. I slept all of Sunday!

I'm not sure if I had some kind of illness or if I was just exhausted from so much writing. If it's the latter, then that isn't good. I've tried making bargains with myself before that I wouldn't do that.

I started feeling poorly on Friday. Allen and I were at the Ann Arbor Art Festival. I'd felt pretty well going up, and we'd had a spirited discussion about my story that is soon to be published. Not long after looking at artwork, however, I began to feel nauseus and dizzy. Allen collected me in the car and brought me home. I went to bed and slept a long time. Saturday, Allen made me a teriffic lunch, and I ate everything and went back to bed. I got up briefly to do the blog entry Sunday Morning. I ate some leftovers from Allen's terrific meal, and then I went back to bed. That was at about 4:30 Sunday a.m. Now it's 2:30 Monday a.m.!

When I get to writing, I lose track of everything, time, animals, meals. It's a wonderful feeling for the writing to be going so well, but it's disorienting and you do leave yourself open to harm when you do that. It's a trade off.

There's so much fear that if you stop, the muse will abandon you.

I routinely did this when I was young, going to school, and bringing up babies. Night was the only time I had silence to work. So I worked and didn't sleep. I don't know how I got through it except to say that I depended on my young body to get me through it. I'm 51 now, though, and my body is much less cooperative than it once was.

I've read so much about authors who have written themselves to exhaustion. Carson McCullers did when she wrote The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. John Berryman did that several times. In the wonderful series Faith and Reason with Bill Moyers, Pema Chodron counsels against such a practice. She explains how she stops writing, even as the writing is going well, in order to meditate or to rest. She says it's a willful action to keep writing just because you can. That your body and soul need rest. She is right, of course. And I've talked to my students about the obsessiveness of writing until you drop.

Now here I sit with an empty stomach and an awful headache.

What day is it again? :-)

1 comment:

Erin said...

Wow! I'm glad to hear that your writing is going well, but not so that you were feeling poorly. Hope you're feeling better now!

When I work & then go home and try to write for hours in the evening, I always feel it the next day in tired eyes & especially aching hands.



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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

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