Please accept this letter of apology for treating you like the red-headed stepchild this week. I just brought you to life, and the early stages of being are generally when something new needs the most tending. But instead of lavishing you with TLC, I didn’t even pay you a visit this week. If you were a fish, you’d be floating upside down in the bowl waiting for me to come flush you down the toilet.
I’m glad you’re not.
While these aren’t excuses, or even an attempt to make you think I don’t suck, I want to at least explain what led to your sad neglect.
1. That Neverending Evil Called Work
For the most part, I’ve kept my New Year’s Resolution of not letting the fact that I have to be a day-jobbing schmuck to survive get in the way of cramming an actual life into the few remaining hours of each day. But I fell off the wagon this week.
It isn’t entirely my fault. We’re doing two system upgrades in a two-week period. I didn’t set that schedule. It was shoved in my face much the way a mean momma comes at a kid who just said “shit” with a bar of soap. These upgrades require assloads of testing. Each one basically adds another twenty hours of work to the already full standard week. And then the go-lives are on the weekends, which although I don’t show it in the office, makes me want to stomp and kick and scream until someone makes me go sit in the corner.
2. Writer’s Unblock
Although I haven’t written here, I HAVE been writing. In perusing some of my freelance newsletters, I stumbled on a flash fiction contest with the theme “Bars and Restaurants.”
My parents run a pub for a living. It is my second home. I one day hope to complete a collection of short stories loosely based on experiences in the pub and encounters with all the regulars. So how could I NOT feel my writer’s heart beat faster at that opportunity? The story came quickly, and off it went. We’ll see what happens.
Even better, over the weekend I finished a piece I’ve been working on longer and more seriously. I jokingly call it “The Demented Grandma Story,” although its actual title is “Stalling The Sunset.” but that’s not exactly what it is. It is sort of an absurd low-key horror story. It too went off this week on a quest for a home. If it isn’t wanted at the first door it knocks on, it’ll keep moving down the road to the next one.
I really believe in this little tale. I love my Elevator Ghost story (“Elevated”), because it is the first bit of fiction I’ve completed well in a while. She’s still out in search of a home too. But this one, Demented Grandma? There’s something about her that I think I like even better. She’s shorter, and tighter, but more filled with absurd little details.
With Elevator Ghost, the more I read the less I like it. That’s not to say I don’t like it – I do. I’m just not as amazed with it as I was at first. With Demented Grandma, I’m a little more impressed at what I’ve done with each read.
I hope that makes sense.
3. The Coming of Spring, and Ass-Size Management
OK, it isn’t really spring yet. But it is coming. You can feel it in the air. The urge to hunker down with blankets and artificial heat retreats, replaced with an urge to venture out into fresh air and watch the world start struggling back to life.
With that renewed energy comes an awareness of muscles left dormant. I’ve had a lazy winter, exercising only about a third as much as I was doing before. A lot of things are responsible for that. I hurt my foot before Christmas and couldn’t even walk without a limp for the first 3 weeks, and then couldn’t do much more than that for another month. My renewed committment to writing and my class consumed my mind and my little bit of free time, and for a while my body wasn’t much more than the vessel that carried a brain trying to break out of its cage.
I’m now struggling to find balance. I don’t want to go back to where I was a year ago – where pretty much all my free time was consumed with efforts to be thin. I loved the way I looked, but I was suffering from a serious case of DWS (Didn’t Write Shit). A job that eats 50 hours a week like a midafternoon snack just doesn’t leave time for more than one obsession, unless you want to have no clean clothes, never see friends and family, and live in a pig sty.
Now my old friend writing is BACK, and I never want it to leave again. But I don’t want my buddy Big Ass to come back with it. So I’m investing more time in my body again. Not as much as before, because I can have the smallest ass in the world and still be stuck in my day jobber’s life forever. Writing is the only possible ticket out of that. So I can’t fight Ass-Creep at the expense of writing. They each need time and energy, which means they’ll both get a little less.
But something is better than nothing.
Of course, these system upgrades have made the battle for balance even harder. I can’t say I’m winning, but at least I’m not losing yet either.
There are other things too. Like the fact that Wednesday nights belong to Criminal Minds. Like my recent discovery of “The Walking Dead,” which kept Lee and I up til 3 am last night watching the entire first season. Like finishing Salem’s Lot and a Jodi Picoult short story. Like starting my re-read of “The Stand,” which is a marathon in and of itself. Like my occasional need to sit at the pub and drink “Dude” shots and get simple.
So as I said, Dear Blog, I have no real excuses. All I can say is that you are not abandoned, just sharing my time and energy with way too many other things.
Perhaps you could learn to do laundry, manage my bank account, do taxes, or feed the cat in the spare time my neglect has left you? That would leave me more time to spend with you.
Hmmm … no answer?
Didn’t think so, but it was worth a shot.