I'm having a really hard time with this book I'm trying to write. And while I think there are several reasons for this (three kids, full-time job, extremely needy house), the real problem is what I've come to call the Alternate Universe Dilemma.
Which is this...
I'm at such a nice place in my life. There's legitimate happiness and a real peace. But going back a year (or two or twenty) does unpleasant things to both my blood pressure and my sense of well-being. In short, in pisses me off, which then leaves me in a kind of funk for the rest of the day. A lot of the stuff in the past that is vital to the story I'm trying to tell is pretty painful to revisit, but it absolutely has to be done. I don't have a story without it. I try and tell myself that this is my own down and dirty version of therapy - just pour those emotions out on paper and feel cleansed at the end. Maybe.
But on the other hand, I don't want to wait to write this. Already my memory is blurred. I've had to go back to the many, many emails, journals, IMs and blog posts of the time to reconstruct what my brain is already leaving behind. If I wait much longer it may be too far gone. It's also getting increasingly difficult to hit the right mood. It needs to be written from the pain and anger of then - not the self-realization and awareness of now. And what if I wait ten years and still find that the process of looking back on all this crap is still painful - even then? Then what?
I ask myself these questions when I reluctantly leave the serenity of my 2009 life and deliberately make myself go back to 2008 or 1998 or 1990 or any one of the many years in between that were fraught with angst. I do this to myself, because I really believe that what could potentially come out of this process might be a redemption of sorts. I can see the T-shirt in my mind. I was in this marriage for twenty years and all I got out of it was this lousy book. (Or I was in this lousy marriage for twenty years and all I got out of it was this book. Your call.) I'm not being literal. I know I got more out of it than that, but right now that idea is a big motivator. The triggers that fuel this process continue to fascinate me.
Fuel being an operative word here. Because mostly I feel all fired up to get 'er done...but some days it's like going down in flames.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Posted by the rotten correspondent at 12:02 AM