Monday, November 3, 2008

(Untitled) & (Undone)

The funny thing is I was going to take the month of November off from my blog to take part in NaNoWriMo, a month dedicated to cranking out a novel. I had lined up my family to guest post because god knows I'd be much too busy to write a novel plus a blog, what with working full time and raising a daughter and life. Funny, right? If you like gallows humor. Which I usually do but not right now, no, maybe not. Right now the only thing I find funny is watching people fall down on the dance floor on reruns of America's Funniest Home Videos. That there is some funny shit.
But now there's this. This life, this worry, this storm, this this this this this. And I cannot get my head to stop spinning from this. I'm sinking, people, no two ways about it. My head is full of mush and my tummy has turned sour. I feel helpless, hopeless and that whole thing with pulling yourself up by your bootstraps? I'm too tired right now to even reach down.
I tried not to post today because really, who wants to hear the small voice of gloom? But hi. Wobbly smile. You're it. You and a handful of weak jobs posted on Craigslist. You're my glimmer, my maybe, my tomorrow, my yes. And I cannot thank you enough.
I am giving myself a reprieve on the novel. A week. I need a week to remember how to breathe. Because on top of it all, Bryan's grandmother passed away so we will be going down to San Diego for the funeral. In the meantime I will wake up, feed Zoey, do the laundry, shower (maybe). I will go through the motions until I get swept up in the momentum of it all and my body moves on its own accord. Because right now all I want to do is sleep. To stop. To fall down on the dance floor and stay there. To get away from this.

My apologies for the disjointed post. See now why I have no business writing? My brain, I tell you. It's a house of sand and fog. God, how I wish I'd written that book. But I didn't. I haven't written any. So let me ask you this: what should I write? Any ideas for me? I was going to write about being a working mother but, well, *snort*, gallows humor. Not funny. Somebody else suggested I write about my relationship with my mother, but do people really want to read that? How would I structure it? What should I write about? Please, tell me. Tell me something. Tell me about the rabbits, George. I'm listening.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's the thing Susannah - I don't know if you get it, but you're so good that it doesn't matter what you write about, as long as you write.

tara said...

Hey Susannah- I'm feeling you, sister. A 'blah' November it is. You're an awesome writer and I don't see why you should focus on one subject. Your blog is a great collection of shorty stories. Everything you write about is funny. So yeah, I guess the best subject I can come up with for you to write about is 'everything' :)

Anonymous said...

Susannah,

I'm sorry about Bryan's grandmother, the lousy layoff and the helplessness you feel. We love you and believe it or not, this too, shall pass. Breathe in, breathe out, move on.

So a door has closed - find that window you talented woman! You have the gift of wit, a most creative mind and now time! Be good to yourself.

Misplaced Country Girl said...

Anonymous hit the nail right on the head. I would read a telephone book if I knew you wrote it. You're posts are one of the highlights of my day even when they are untitled and undone. I still love every morsel of them. Hope you're smiling again real soon.

Aartee said...

My condolonces for Bryan's grandmother, and sometimes it's the most un put together posts that attract the most people! I mean really the most comments on my blog so far are about a cow at the door in India so just keep writing whatever comes to your head and we'll keep reading...promise!

Ana said...

S,

We will brainstorm tonight. We will leave that house with a damn book to write.

You have 1 WEEK to feel sorry for yourself and then its back to work to write a book. Got it?
I don't care if we have to make a collection for 3 months so that you don't have to go out and get a mediocre job that will only stifle your creativity.

You have over a year worth of material to expand on. So stop asking us to come up with ideas when you already have a thousand brilliant ones!

I WILL (bolded) call you every day and check in on your progress if that's what it will take. You know I can be annoying like that. :)

Loveya!

Jen said...

I agree with all the previous posters and would read anything you wrote! Your blogs are the highlight of my day. I'm so sorry about the job and Bryan's grandmother. I'm sure it feels as if there is a dark cloud above you, but just know there are people out there that care.

mikewrites said...

Hi,

I've been reading PF (as your local fan base round here calls your wonderful blog) for several months, but this is my first comment.

Basically in addition to telling you that you are a truly gifted and absolutely funny writer, and beyond offering sympathy for the current rough waters, I want to request that along with writing your novel (which I'll purchase instantly when it hits shelves), that you also write a book of non fiction.

Seriously, just do what you already do but in book form so that you can get paid by the bucketload.

Go the Sarah Vowell or David Sedaris route. Use your voice and just have fun. Crank it out, and because you are so amazing at putting life into words, you'll be doing book tours and repeating spots on This American Life in no time.

You are that good.

coco+kelley said...

believe in yourself. BELIEVE! a job does not define you. this little downward spiral moment does not define you. you define you. and from what i've read on these pages, you are an amazing mother, wife, daughter, writer, and friend. go be THAT person. we need you as THAT person. we LOVE you as that person! you get what you give Susannah. so GO GO GO! the good will come back - i PROMISE.

(and if that cheesy motivational speech didn't getcha... i will personally come visit you and kick your ass into gear! you're not the only one with no job to wake up to these days, and i've got nothing better to do!!!)

melissa said...

Just start it with, "I opened the front door and saw a cow standing there."

Judy said...

I absolutely GET how you're feeling...been there (many times), done that (way too many times) and it is perfectly, awfully SHITTY BAD. Give yourself the time to gather the strength to reach down to those bootstraps. Go about your life AS IF (your Dad and Mr. Bill got that right!)walk through the motions, make your lips move and hope that Tourette's doesn't spill out. So very sorry to hear about Bry's Grandma-my thoughts are with him and his family-and a more cohesive, wonderful, supportive, close family I've never seen so I know Grandma knew how much she was loved-what more can any of us ask?

You WILL come out of tazered mode as quazi-comfy as it is to just duck and cover right now, the helpless, hopeless, what's-the Fucking-point feelings will abate and you will start dealing.

I know you don't have a novel written. I know you don't think you have anything to sell but you do. Listen to all these friends...you have a book just using your blog and comments-all interspersed with narrative as to what going on at any given time. Do the manuscript project and instead of going to work full-time, look for work as your "job" while writing the manuscript.
WRITE! Sign up for temp jobs if you must. Contact a Recruiter and let them find you a job if you must-but WRITE! In a depressed economy, people need entertainment and here is living testiment that you have the ability to entertain and engage readers. And remember, you have all the support and love anyone could ever want from Family and Friends. None of you will go hungry, you won't be homeless, you won't lack transportation and if you want another keep-the-status-quo-job, you'll get one but how many of these rude universe wake-up jolts do you need before you GET that writing is what you should be doing. Your Dad was so right about Rowling and "Harry Potter". She was as poor as poor can be. She had at least one baby, if not more. Her residence was so cold she brought her infant and herself to coffee shops to write Harry Potter. She was alone and as close to the edge as most get and she WROTE because she had to write and everything else was hopeless. You aren't anywhere near that kind of edge and you never will be and, Hell Yes, it's scary, it's fucking terrifying but you get up a head of that inner strength that I KNOW you have and a good helping of the maternal stubborness that I also know you have and go write YOUR Harry Potter so I can be on Talk Shows sometime soon.
Love You,
Mom

melissa said...

You write, I'll work on getting it published. You have a gift: a rare, rare gift (my granny might've called it the gift of gab, or verbal diarrhea, but it's a beauty nonetheless). Your voice is clear and strong and brimming with personality.

www.brightlightpublishing.com. That's my daddy. He's the artist who wrote the book, as well as the financier of the company. We are working on publishing my children's books, and another art book of his.

hej said...

"Freedom is the absence of choice." - Sufi proverb.

Write that which is most compelling to you and let the readers and the rest fall where they may.

In lieu of a talent and passion for orthodontics or some such, you have no choice.

Sarah's Fab Day said...

Susannah - I love what your Mom wrote, so sweet, true and full of love. You're there just start putting pen to paper.

PS - When and if you decide to go back into product development email me your company and I will personally send a letter stating that I will only spend my hard earned bucks if you are working there. Because you are the shiz!

Lia Dominique said...

Please try to appreciate this time you have off from the hustle of the work force. In essence, you've been given unadulterated time to work on a novel. Miraculous things can come from this time. Use your grief, frustration, self doubt and channel it. Worry less in your theme and more in accomplishing this great feat during a time of immense uncertainty. It is the one thing you can count on achieving if you give yourself the chance.

Anonymous said...

write about a girl who writes a blog?

Anonymous said...

oh man! you need a night on the town with chuck bass!

Jennifer said...

Just write about what you're most interested in--what naturally feels right. You're a great writer--just let it flow!

I'm sorry about your husband's grandma and I hope you start to feel better soon!!

The Lil Bee said...

Don't think so much. Just let yourself be for a moment. I'm not going to tell you that all things happen for a reason or that maybe something good will come of this, but... you do suddenly find yourself with a lot more spare time. And I think if you just put your mind at ease for a little and breathe that it—the subject matter—will come to you. Whatever you write, I'll buy it.

I see Judy is back, so I'm happy that you two are back to talking:)

Also, I'm really sorry about Bryan's grandmother. :(

Lara@Paper Doll said...

Write what you were going to write originally and go from there. You don't need an outline or a road map. Just write. And don't write because you want the money. Write because you can't NOT write (kinda like this blog). Only then will your authentic story find it's voice. Once you get going (and it doesn't take long) you won't even think about where it's going, what 'message' you're trying to get out, etc. Your story and characters will take you where they want to go. If you're writing non-fiction start with Zoey. See? That's not so hard. Start small if that's easier. Ten minutes a day. Just give yourself 10 minutes.

Lara@Paper Doll said...

And one other thing. Allow yourself the freedom to write complete shit for the first draft. It's very hard to do, but don't obsess over language, research, truth, etc. Just get the bones down, and then go back.

corine @ hidden in france said...

I'd say buy "the artist way" then write an hour a day or a 1000 words whichever comes first. Write about what you know in the first person, then change names. In 3 months you have a novel and your sanity back (it works for me)

Best to you.

Robin said...

I promise to buy all of your future books, no matter the subject. I think you could write about so many things that would be amazing. Your relationship with your mom is clearly special (Hi Judy *waving* glad to see you back here). Your posts about Zoey are magical. The fact that you are happily married to your high school sweetheart is unusual and very cool. Good luck!

PalagiGirl said...

I don't care what you write about. I love it all. You are a fabulous writer. So incredibly talented. I need my daily dose of Susannah to get me through the day. Hang in there! It's all gonna be OK!

Amanda said...

Just start writing, it will come, and you will learn.

beachbungalow8 said...

like anon said in the first comment.

remember 'operating instructions'? what I loved was the format for writing. each chapter was more like and entry.

and remember, lots of shitty first drafts.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog through relish small pleasures for monthes now and it has made my days of solitude (I don't work) a little bit better. Your presprectives are hysterical and inspiring. I think you should do short stories and I am going to go out on a limb...I may be dumbing down your literary bar BUT through these troubled times I recommend reading Are You There Vodka Its me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler. It will take you a day and may even make your day. Thank you for your blog and for the love of God...do not stop. Your relationship with your mother is like my own and what she tells me in times of struggle..."let go and let God" (whatever one you talk to).

Richie Designs said...

why don't you write exactly what's happening right now? the unsure, the scared, the still being a mommy in the midst of it. maybe have it be a letter to your daughter style - what would you tell her if it was her in your spot?

be authentic and the rest will follow.

best regards to Bryan and the family

Maggie May said...

i live in San Diego. if you need any help with anything, let me know. i'm sorry you are blue.
xo
maggie

Mollie said...

All I know is of my 761 posts that I am behind on reading, yours is the one that only has 1 at a time to read, because no matter what I always read yours. A chuckle, a full on laugh, or maybe just a new perspective on things is what you give me...on the other hand, I can't give you anything. Except two votes for Obama. Better than nothing right?

What I am trying to say is, whenever you are ready, you should write a book because you have the talent! Honestly write whatever the hell you want, and I think people will still like it. I will.

Megan said...

Whatever it is, it will be good, this I know.