Sara (my partner) has been saying for weeks that I should blog about this—this being what I wrote last summer about my struggle to write.
“I swear, it’s funny as hell,” she says.
So I gave in this morning, agreeing, maybe it is funny—
But first a bit a background— how it all got started.
Just after the Christmas holiday, Sara returned to Haiti ahead of me. And because of this, over the New Year’s weekend, she was doing what Sara does to relax. What she calls “piddling,” what I would more accurately describe as “recreational organizing.” This can come in many forms: straightening closets—
obsessively earnestly rearranging items according to color, all clothes on wooden hangers only—ordering and reordering items in the refrigerator— neurotically enthusiastically arranging jars and bottles in tidy rows, like-items soldiered together according to kind rather than rank.
(a subject for another post, perhaps?)
At any rate, you get the picture—
Over this particular weekend, however, Sara extended her reign of organizing terror to the contents of my drawers, my closets, cabinets, shelves.
Now I have mixed feelings about this.
Sometimes I don’t want my stuff touched—because in her cleaning frenzy, Sara is inclined, at times, to throw things away, pieces of paper she thinks useless but which are, in fact, important to me. On the other hand, Sara is extremely good at organizing, really good, as you might expect from someone who behaves this way for sport. So sometimes I agree to let her “piddle” with my precious possessions, but only if I can extract from her, my “everything-is garbage-gal,” the promise that nothing, absolutely nothing—not even the most seemingly senseless scrap or decades old sales receipt— will be discarded.
On this weekend in question, I extracted such a promise, and Sara came upon such a scrap—something I had scribbled on index cards—the contents of which she says I should blog about here.
But—before I lay my naked and neurotic writerly self out to me mocked and laughed at—I offer a disclaimer, of sorts—
Namely—that real writers, good writers, famous writers do indeed write about the kind of stuff I describe below. I’m thinking specifically about Natalie Goldberg, who in her book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, outlines the basics of writing as spiritual practice and in Chapter 1, “Beginner’s Mind, Pen and Paper,” addresses the writers struggle to find the perfect pen, the even more perfect paper.
(And remember, as well, that this was NEVER meant to be read by anyone but me—so it’s bad, it’s raw, it’s, well, neurotic.)
So, without further adieu here’s what I wrote on 13 June 2010, what I scribbled in pink ink on unlined index cards:
When I have tried to journal recently I’m always bothered by the notebook I’m writing in—I know that sounds crazy—and surely it’s a mere excuse—but I truly believe I should be keeping my entries in another format—
Perhaps, typing them on my computer—if the paper is lined, perhaps, it should be unlined—if it’s plain—perhaps, it should be graph paper. If I write in blue ink, probably, it should have been black or green or gray—any other color than the one I’m using.
So here I’m writing on an index card—knowing that it too will feel wrong—and using pink ink—equally incorrect, I’m sure.
Most everything about writing feels wrong—doing it—not doing it—doing it in the morning, in the evening, in the afternoon—equally problematic.
Now, these index cards feel too small—not enough space—I feel confined—God knows I’ve got it wrong again!
But I try to tell myself it doesn’t matter. It’s better to get it wrong than not to have gotten it at all.
There you’ve GOT her folks—Kathy, the “Writing Neurotic,” evidence that she does indeed exist.
So laugh if you will. Mock if you must.
But, where in the name of God’s good implements of ink, does Writing Neurotic come from? Does she live in other writers? Does she roam from writer’s body to writer’s body, circling the globe, imparting authorial insecurities across the entire planet? Or does she only live in little old me?
Have you ever been possessed by Writing Neurotic? Has she come to your country, your city, house and street, forced herself uninvited into your office, taken over your desk, borrowed into to the deepest and most secret corners of your scribbling-obsessed self?
If she has, I want to know. I want to join forces with others who’ve been haunted—track her down—bury her once and for all, far from WordPress and Freshly Pressed—ban her forever from the Blogosphere!
Please note: I scheduled this piece to post yesterday before news broke that former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier had returned unexpectedly to Port-au-Prince.
To see an article from Yahoo News about this potentially ominous development, click here. To see the piece I posted as soon as we got the call that Duvalier was at the airport, click here. To read an article from CNN click here. ( Thanks to Mrs. H. over at “A. Hab.’s View of the World” for the CNN link.) And finally, to see a helpful piece from MSNBC.com, click here.
I will try to keep you updated as the story develops.