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Monday, August 21, 2006

Various Distractions

Writing requires patience and attention: two qualities I aspire to and occasionally achieve, but never for long enough. --But if I start like this I won't get very far.

Various things distract me:

--Being thirty-one-and-a-quarter years old distracts me; which is to say, being fifteen months past thirty distracts me. There simply isn't enough time left, as there was--as there seemed to be--ten or even five years ago. Perhaps that sense of plenitude returns; perhaps it comes and goes like a mood that swings languorously over decades. Now I have the sense of how much I have lost to indecisiveness, to long, stark hours spent lying in bed, staring at speckles and shadows on the ceiling, unsure how to proceed or with what or even how to get up out of bed again, how to make the effort against gravity.

--The thought that I don't know what I'm doing distracts me. I can imagine I ought to feel this as a kind of freedom--a hugeness of possibility. I feel it only as another in a series of huge indecisions--as a failure to have ideas--as a kind of timidity. Is it braver to go on, one awkward sentence after another, or to stop now and once and for all? The only stories I have to tell are of my own inadequacies and anxieties--which I indulge by assuming they are worth recording (however inaccurately).

--Everything I have ever read distracts me. I am right now sitting in a small room lined with books, like three walls of careful insulation. Rows and rows of elegant spines, gleaming in the light from the lamp on my desk, silent with a sense of having achieved what they intended. Which was, partly, to bewilder me. All these words in layers and lines and webs and cords and cages and knots and nets and branches--

3 comments:

JT said...

"But words came halting out, wanting Invention's stay,
Invention, Nature's child, fled stepdame Study's blows;
And others' feet still seem'd but strangers in the way;
Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my tongue and pen, beating myself for spite,
'Fool,' said my Muse to me, 'look in thy heart and write.'"

Janine said...

I know exactly how you feel in this piece. It captures how I feel when i sit down to write but the world around me is just too distracting!

Webgrl said...

You took the words right out of my brain, thanks, was too distracted (lazy) to write them.