Chaos Attraction

Climb The Frickin' Mountain.

2004-07-29, 11:25 p.m.

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I found this article today, and this quote:

"I feel like life goes in waves. The way I describe it is it's like being long overdue for the next chapter of your life to open up. I think everyone can relate to that. Life is a series of beginnings and changes, and then there's times in your life where you're like, "I am so due for an epiphany, I am so due for something new to happen to me, a new girl, a new job, an epiphany, somebody please send me an epiphany."

That's probably about the best description I've heard of the whole quarterlife crisis thing.

I'm not exactly sure if I feel "overdue" quite yet, but perhaps I'm getting there. Or getting riper...wondering if I'm getting overripe. Something like that.

I feel like I'm starting to develop somewhat in what I'm supposed to do, but not enough, not quite yet. One more big piece of the puzzle has to be put together. The arts are slowly coming together, but the writing...

I've always had this feeling that I had to do the writing somehow. That that would be my "bread and butter", as it were. I don't know why, really, I don't think I'm that spectacular at it, but... in some ways it's always seemed like everything goes back to, back into that.

And I'm not really doing it any more. Not enough.

Jess told me the other day that she finished her NaNo novel and is ready to send it out to publishers. Boy, did that throw me for a loop. Hell, my writing buddy is DONE, and I haven't done shit since March. Now what am I going to do?

I wrote this to her in e-mail as a response:

"I feel so lame now. I canNOT motivate myself to work on mine any more without any kind of deadline or other people bugging me to do it. I feel bad, and I wanted to finish it before next November, but I should probably stop kidding myself- if I'm working just for me on something huge with nobody caring if I ever finish it but me, is is ever going to go? I think I'm just afraid to start rewriting it, because Now It Has To Be Good, and suddenly I'm all, "But...but... I can't BE good! I don't know how to write anything fictional! Shit!" I don't know how to kick my own ass about it any more. It's really been bugging me, but I will look for any reason NOT to do it at this point. Or maybe just sitting at home with the laptop and net connection and Farscape DVD's isn't beneficial, I don't know, but I'm very annoyed at myself. Plus the idea of sending it out to someone and getting rejections ahoy makes me want to hide under the couch.

Though I am kind of distracted by the whole knitting thing of late (it'll be going good, then go bad...then good...then bad...). I'm trying to devote all my time at home to working on it so I can ask questions at weekly class. It's over in 2 weeks and then I'm on my own (eep). So my current bullshit to myself is "After knitting's over, you can go work on the novel! Declare August National Novel Finishing Month." Hah. I'll probably flake on that too."

I have felt so disappointed in myself since I wrote that and admitted that I'd be another flaky failure when it came to novel writing. I never finished the first one I started. I'm freaked out at the idea of doing it. The whole process, disassociated with NaNoWriMo's "write speedy crap just to get it out at all," scares me. Admittedly, I have a day job and don't have the time Jess has had to work on hers, but still...she kept on plugging and she did it. And I haven't at all. I wouldn't have done shit since November without her there to push me (albeit we haven't had much time this summer). Now I won't even have that.

I feel like I need a push. A deadline, someone other than me giving a shit about it, threats, anything other than me working on my own initiative. Gah. I don't want to be the kind of person who can't finish anything big like that.

But a novel's so damned hard. Sure, I work on big projects, but they at most might take a few months, and there's clear progress, and you KNOW when you're done on that. I can't very well put up a Novel Tracker Bar for a published work the way I can for knitting or for achieving 50,000 words. I could sit and rewrite it (or not) for years and years and drive myself insane and never get anywhere. Who wants to put so much effort into that and still have it stink on ice?

Gah. The pressure.

So I've been quietly kicking myself with these thoughts for the last few days, until I found this.

"Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don't make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.

This metaphorical Mount Everest doesn't have to manifest itself as "Art". For some people, yes, it might be a novel or a painting. But Art is just one path up the mountain, one of many. With others the path may be something more prosaic. Making a million dollars, raising a family, owning the most Burger King franchises in the Tri-State area, building some crazy oversized model airplane, the list has no end.

Whatever. Let's talk about you now. Your mountain. Your private Mount Everest. Yes, that one. Exactly.

Let's say you never climb it. Do you have a problem witb that? Can you just say to yourself, "Never mind, I never really wanted it anyway" and take up stamp collecting instead?

Well, you could try. But I wouldn't believe you. I think it's not OK for you never to try to climb it. And I think you agree with me. Otherwise you wouldn't have read this far.

So it looks like you're going to have to climb the frickin' mountain. Deal with it.

My advice? You don't need my advice. You really don't. The biggest piece of advice I could give anyone would be this:

"Admit that your own private Mount Everest exists. That is half the battle."

And you've already done that. You really have. Otherwise, again, you wouldn't have read this far."

Good point there.

I went out and bought "Bird By Bird," a book people always recommend and that I've never really gotten into before. (Skimmed in the store, then went and bought fiction instead many a time and oft.) There's a section in it called "How Do You Know When You're Done?" I hope it helps.

Maybe I will make August National Novel Finishing Month after all.

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