Dust Bunnies and the Voice of Responsibility
It’s been over two long, tortuous months since I’ve written anything substantial or worthwhile, unless you want to count (a) telephone messages, and (b) the few abbreviated paragraphs I’ve written in my personal journal. I don’t count those, though, since phone messages don’t meet minimum word requirements (“call Dick on cell”), and, while I can get downright verbose when complaining about the universe and everything in it, what I write in my journal isn’t motivated by creative impulse; I’m not at all picky about how many run-on sentences there are, or how many times I use the word, “stupid.”
I love to write. I want to write. I can’t think of anything else but writing, unless I’m thinking of ways of getting out of it…and, technically, that’s still thinking about writing. I wake up on weekends, excited at the prospect of a private rendezvous with my laptop, but I’m invariably diverted by the forbidding, ominous Voice of Responsibility, snidely asking me, “are you sure there isn’t something else you ought to be doing?” It hits me with the same cold bucket of guilt I get doused with every time I see a dust bunny provocatively lying in the middle of my hallway. My first inclination is to ignore it instead of sweeping it up, hoping it finds companionship with friends under the sofa, but guilt always sends me looking for the broom.
And if the Voice of Responsibility fails to completely derail my good intentions, its best-buddy and second lieutenant, the Voice of Let’s-Do-Anything-But, adds its two-cents worth. Last Saturday, for instance, I woke up excited about having a day to myself to write, to get lost in my imagination, with no one to wait on, or do for, or think of. Hubby was gone for the day and the dogs weren’t going to be a problem because they’re pretty much self-sufficient as long as there’s food in their bowls. But, the Voices had other ideas:
“You’ve only got about thirty pages left to read in your book,” they whined. “Why don’t you sit down with a cup of coffee and finish it? It’s so good, and even though this is the thirty-fourth time you’ve read it, the best part’s just a few pages away!”
I immediately agreed. I filled my coffee cup one more time, sat down, and finished my book.
The next thing I hear is, “You know, you should wash the sheets on the bed. Remember that article you read last week on Yahoo! about dust mites and dead skin, and how you should wash your sheets in hot water at least once a week?”
Oh, yeah…so I stripped the sheets off the bed, and decided to grab the rest of the laundry while I was at it.
The next thing I hear is, “You hungry? It’s about 11:30…there’s leftover pizza in the frig.”
Well, things went downhill from there. After the pizza, I folded clothes, vacuumed rugs, let the dogs out, let the dogs in, unloaded the dishwasher, and then practiced playing “Variations on the Theme from the Celebrated Canon in D” on my piano, which is something I generally don’t do unless I’m trying to avoid writing. That actually turned out to be my one saving grace, because the piano is in the same room as my computer. I eventually got up, took the two steps needed to reach my desk, and sat down. I adjusted my chair. I flexed my fingers. Then, after browsing Facebook, checking all my e-mail accounts, and surfing the net (which was how I learned all there was to know about dust mites), I opened up my word processor…and the only thing I could do was stare out the window (wow, can’t believe how big that tree’s grown!)…at the wall…at the shelf on said wall, piled up with all sorts of books about how to write…and, finally at the blank, desolate, unmoving (and unsympathetic) computer monitor. I waited for something—anything—to miraculously materialize, but, alas, no luck.
It suddenly occurs to me how ironic is it that someone like me—who has no trouble personifying globs of dust and dog hair—can’t seem to write about anything other than writing, or the lack thereof.
Apparently, if I ever want to write a novel, and I do, it’s going to have to be about writing…