Saturday, March 30, 2013

We don't do "grey areas" here: recommitting to committment

After a way-too-long hiatus, I've decided to start blogging again.  I don't know why I stopped, really.  I told myself that life got in the way, that leaving for work every morning at 8:30am and getting home most evenings around 7pm has drained what little energy I seem to have left on weekends.  And then there this little thing called my MFA (a Masters of Fine Arts) in creative writing, a great idea when I applied to the program almost three years ago, and a joy when I was accepted into the program almost three years ago, but a total brain (and money) drain every day of my life since then. Well, almost every day of my life since then.  (Note: I tend toward dramatic hyperbole quite often.) Still, aside from adopting my dog Beckett and moving into my lovely apartment, my MFA is one of few things in life I would do over, exactly the same way I did it the first time, if given the chance, or presented with the opportunity for a redo. 

Maybe I'm only saying that because I graduate in three months, and because my thesis is, for better or worse, is in its final stages and actually looking like a thesis.  And the beginnings of what may end up being a not-too-shabby book some day.  Either way, I feel like I'm breathing a little easier in that regard, which is perfect timing since the impending allergens of spring seem to be kicking my asthmatic ass lately.  Cue the inhaler and the liklihood that I will soon be joining the legions of sufferers who have succombed to weekly allergy shots.  "Immunotherapy," they call it, a fancy-shmancy medical term that I suspect is supposed to make allergy shots sound less awful.  To me, the reality of immunotherapy simply confirms my belief that every part of my being is in desperate need of therapeutic intervention, immune system included.

But I digress. As far as my reason for leaving/reason for returning to the blogosphere (because lately my life feels like nothing but a series of explanations and apologies): I think my hiatus was more about my challenge with committment and follow-through. I tend to have great ideas and amazing energy at the beginnings of things, but that energy quickly wanes, often thanks to my own pathological perfectionism that functions like a relentless, very loud voice buried somewhere deep in my brain (right near that spot where 80s songs lodge themselves and stay for days, playing themselves over and over and over again - think vintage Madonna, Wham, and how the hell did Depeche Mode get trapped in there?!.)   Anyway, this voice - the perfectionistic one - usually says things like "Hey, life is black or white. It's all or nothing.  Can't give it your all? Then nothing it is.  We don't do 'grey areas' here"  You get the picture.  After all, this is not unique to me - perfectionism is a universally self-defeating phenomenon.  I think, at least in my case, that it tends to be a function of nature (I'm a born people pleaser), nurture (will work for praise/will run from criticism), and fear (I'm not going to finish anything because, at the end of the perfect day, I'd rather assume I'll succeed than know I might fail).  Yeah, "failure" tends to be my f-word.

So anyway, here I am, with no real hopes for anything other than short, quick posts, musings, a release valve for the thoughts and experiences I have  - most of them awkward and bizarre, some of them meaningful for me (though maybe not for others), and all of them worth writing about, if for no other reason than becasue I just spent $40,000 on an MFA that says I should now be able to write, should want to write, should have to write like I have never written before.  I don't know that I feel any differrent as a writer (I'm certainly a much better one than I was two years ago, and I've developled some amazing and wonderful friendships that I never would have otherwise), but I think I've decided that I've just gotta start putting words out into the world again, if for no other reason than to free up space in my head, where the words tend to collect and take up space like unwanted houseguests.

I do hope you'll read, and I'd love it if you'd comment.  I understand if you don't.  Or won't.  Or can't.  Time is short.  Committment is hard.  So we do what we can.  And that is good enough.  And sometimes, good enough has to be good enough. I'm learning this slowly, but I think this time it's actually starting to stick like pasta flung against a paint-chipped wall.

Have a happy Easter, if you celebrate that sort of thing, and happy weekend, if you don't.

Til next time,


  1. Whenever you are tempted to think you are at a loss for words, you can always give us a daily Beckett-ism...guaranteed smiles for you and for us out here in the interwebs.


  2. Awww - thanks so much Lolo! That is so great to hear! And I promise that excessive Beckettisms are forthcoming. (As I type this, he is standing at my back door, nose-to-glass, doing his best to menace and threaten the squirrels out back. I am watching him and thinking that if he were a person with all the same qualities and behaviors he has as a dog, he would be a very lovable, very brilliant, very determined, very creepy human being.)


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