I have been away from the blog for a while, and to be honest, from my writing in general. Everyone needs a break sometimes, and there are only so many things that fit on a person's plate before things start glopping over the side.
I noticed a few things while I was on hiatus from the literary arts. None of it was a surprise.
1) I need to write to live.
I don't mean this as one of those cheesy sayings that people slap on t-shirts to hawk on Facebook. I don't mean this as a Thing to Say to Convince Others I'm For-Serious Going to Be a Famous Novelist One Day. I'm not going to be famous. I don't think I would want to be. What I do mean is that writing is that one thing I do that helps me keep track of all the things in my life, consciously and subconsciously, and to have an outlet for the geyser of creativity that lives in me and is constantly under pressure to escape. In other words, it allows me to live an authentic life and not just survive. Living and being alive are different. I prefer to live.
2) Writing and reading are the same thing.
I tried spending time with some of the good, good books on my To Be Read pile. Every single time I got to a line I loved, I couldn't sit still and think, "Wow, good job, author!" I thought, "Oh my gosh, how can I do that? Let me pick it apart syllable by syllable and see why the sentence is so musical." I don't think I can ever go back to passively reading a book, and I'm okay with that. Still, when I don't have enough time or energy to fall face-first into my own work, it can make me reticent to read something I know will stimulate all my book-loving neurons and set me on fire to write. Because the good ones do. Always.
3) There are a lot of episodes of Murder, She Wrote.
While I wasn't writing, I watched a lot of Netflix. I love old shows, and it was only a matter of time before I went down the cozy mystery rabbit hole. First, why would anyone be friends with Jessica Fletcher when you know someone is about to go belly-up every time she enters the room? Anyway, every time Angela Lansbury says something humble about her prolific backlist and making time between police investigations for her new book, I feel guilty. I mean, I don't even solve murders, and I can't make time for my book. I know it was the 80s and there was no Netflix and no iPhone games, but still. Guilt.
To pull myself out of this wordless chasm, I've forced myself back to my old morning routine, the one I had before we got a new puppy and my proverbial life-plate got quite so full. Every morning, no matter how much I oversleep, I do some writing. Most of it is free writing about whatever happens to be on my mind in the moment (some past gems include, "Scrambled eggs: who named them? Why not mixed eggs or jumbled eggs?" and "I've got the construction traffic blues"). Sometimes I get a snippet of an idea that I jot down to suss out later when I'm not suffering from the construction traffic blues and late for work. Either way, it affords me a few minutes in my morning for myself, my true self, and I can be done while I wait for my clothes in the dryer. (Let's be real. Every morning is an oh-crap-is-there-something-to-wear-in-the-dryer morning. Every.)
I feel better. I feel more like myself. From now on, I take my morning coffee with a lot of cream and a little bit of ink on the side.