I’m composing this post during hour eight of my daughter’s 4H horse show. The drizzle of earlier has vanished, the sun emerged long enough to thaw my fingers, and as I pen this, I’m crouched in manure-fragrant mud with a rust-roughened fence at my back.
Why here? Why now? Well, in a way this is my gesture of defiance. All weekend I have been awash in insecurity about my writerly abilities and been unable to find words under more auspicious circumstances. Don’t ask me why. I wouldn’t know how to answer. It’s just one of those times where the same qualities that seemed like strengths a few days ago now feel like leaden anchors — my age, my life experience, my very Jan-ness.
Adding to an attack of the Imposter Syndrome, I worry if I can’t do this now, how will I manage with the coming fragmentation of my time? After all, tomorrow I’ll have a sick Frank at home, then the ToolMaster plans to take a rare flex day; Molly’s grad looms in the near future and will quite rightly take priority; in less than eight weeks the school holidays begins, accompanied by the inevitable and welcome disruptions to my writing schedule. For a person who always begins her best work in quiet and solitude, these threats seem monumental.
But the incipient truth is, I’ve become a bit of a princess with my writing. A Goldilocks. This coffee shop is too loud, that ten minutes too short, my caffeine withdrawal headache too insistent to write. Everything’s just “too.”
I say enough.
Babies are birthed draped in the red and green of blood and meconium; sometimes their first breath is of their own shit. The best sex doesn’t always happen when perfumed and shaved. The purest words need not wait for black tie events — nor should they. Especially if attendance requires me to enter a shoe store.
I know this to be true, because as my pen bites into the paper, and as I brush a tiny spider from my face, I am at peace again. A sparrow whistles agreement. He announces Goldilocks has found her Just Right.
How about you? Do you make excuses for non-production in writing? If so, are you prepared to leave them behind? Where is the absolute weirdest time or place you took a stand and followed your creative impulse?