Thursday, August 6, 2009

For Under the Axis is Written

I feel stagnant. As if my life is constipated, something inside of me hard and compact. (Too much? The reference to shit?) And it's not just because I found this beautiful photo which so perfectly illustrates how I feel. Fortes fortuna iuvat. Fortune favors the brave. But what does it do to the lazy? The weak? The scared? It's been 9 months since I was laid off and it feels oily thick and viscous, the time. What happened to it? What have I done?

Last night Bryan asked me what I do during the day and the answer was everything and nothing. I look for jobs, I apply for jobs, I clean the house, I write blog posts, I do laundry, garden, pay bills. I wrote a children's book that has, at last count, been rejected by 11 publishers. What does anyone do really? On days that Zoey is not in school I am a mother. These things take time, I tell myself. It's a tough job market, everyone else tells me. You are eligible for a reduction in interest rates, says the automated voice at the other end of the telemarketer call I get every morning at 10am. It's been 9 months.

I do not watch daytime tv; nothing is more depressing to me than the sounds of Wheel! Of! Fortune! Vanna White and Pat Sajak, the ding of those plastic letters slowly turning. Instead I wait while somewhere the goddess Fortuna spins, Rota Fortunae, the capricious nature of my fate like the moon not of my control.

If anyone were to ask what I would do with 9 months off my answer would be easy: write a book. Fiction. Not a children's book, although that's okay, too. No, I have always wanted to write a book and yet here I am, 9 months later, the time it takes to gestate a life and I have nothing but a house clean and lavender bushes. Nobody to blame but myself.

I am scared. Backspace delete, pause and write it again. I am scared. (Backspace delete, dot dot dot.)

From antiquity to medieval literature, Shakespeare through the Victorian era to The Hudsucker Proxy, fate has always spun at random leaving us with no control, no blame, monstrous and empty, always melting away. Up, down and around: I don't know what to write. And so I wait. 9 months later. I am almost 37. I don't know what to write. Backspace delete ...

Last summer my brother got married and there was a ferris wheel at the wedding. You must be this tall to ride; Zoey fell a few inches short. Still she was enrapt. In love. Determined. The carney saw her determination and bent the rules, or maybe he just didn't care about safety, who knows. So we sat atop the rocking seat and went up and over, down and around, Zoey laughing and squealing and scared. Go! she shouted, and the wheel, it went.

I hate that I have waited. That I am scared. That there are a million things about this and me that I do not understand. Waxing and waning. What the fuck do I write??? 9 months from now it will be May and I will be well on my way to 38. I will have finished knitting a scarf, my house will be clean, the lavender will be purple from the rain. 9 months from now will be 9 months from now regardless of whether I have shit or gotten off the proverbial pot once and for all, constipated, the ding of the plastic letters lit up to answer the puzzle correctly.

18 comments:

Jeanette M. said...

you have just described my last 5 years except I don't even have anything for publishers to reject. I'm scared as well.

beachbungalow8 said...

I know this isn't exactly what I was supposed to get from this beautiful post, but I'm with you, the sound of day time t.v. is so depressing.

Judy said...

I am rendered almost (but never completely)speechless when I read that you could possibly feel that you are somehow under-achieving. Look at Zoey...need I say another thing. But there's more! See your blog-not only a source of Monday through Friday entertainment for the many who check in daily but a brave and amazing documentation of your life. I can't think of anything that will be more priceless one day to Zoey than this endeavor. This IS your "book", it's hundreds of "books" and one day when you are ready, you'll format your writing into "that book". I look at you and Zoey and Bry and I see a happy, functional family that personifies love in every way. A life well-lived...it's is every word you write, it's in Zoey's every expression. All these years later, you still are with and still are in love with your childhood sweetheart. Your house smells like honey and you pull chunks of rose quartz from your yard. Could there possibly be more?

The Lil Bee said...

Oh, Sus. I so get it, it's not even funny. I wrote three chapters of a book, put it down, picked it up and wrote a few more, then got busy with... I don't know what. When I was out of a job, I thought for sure I'd pick up where I left off, but no. All I can say is give yourself a break. Seriously. Because you are writing... here... every day. And you're being a great mom. When the book is ready to be written, it will be. And, if this helps at all, I just bought "The Now Habit"... not sure if it'll live up to the reviews on Amazon, but I figured it was worth a shot.

P.S. To find that image, what in the hell did you type into Google?! Shit + foliage + carnival wreckage?! Hysterical.

Simply Mel said...

You are an incredible writer. A writer who makes me nervous to even leave a comment because I know my words do not even reach the first line of the ferris wheel height sign in regards to equivalence. Your book will come and pour out of you just like constipation breaks with a laxative (god, I can't believe I wrote that!).

Oonafey said...

The ferris wheel photo is beautiful, I want a large version for my wall.
I don't know what to say besides, I look forward to your posts every day.

Petunia Face said...

Simply Mel, that is totally what I need! Some Smooth Move tea of the literary variety!

All else--thank you so much. I often refer to my blog as free therapy and this is one such example.

xo,
S

Lara said...

As someone who was just today rejected from yet another job possibility, I am totally with you. Like you, I have been searching for almost a year now. And like you, I have gotten numerous rejections for a picture book manuscript. Like you yet again, a year ago I would have told you that I'd have a novel completed by now. As the mom of a 2-1/2 yr. old my days are also filled with nothing and everything.

As far as that book is concerned, you know you have it in you. Your writing is effortless. It's the reason we check in day after day.

Brandi at Duel Living said...

It is like you read my mind today. It was a crying day for me. I do have a job...but one that I "settle" for. My first book...started 10 years ago...starts and ends with the words "CHAPTER ONE". I feel the same way, yet I don't have a beautiful child, or a mother that adores me...I live vicariously through your blog posts every day. To me...your life seems beautiful, and exciting, and fulfilled. We are all looking into someone else's window and seeing the things that have as things we wish were our own. It is our nature. My crying has ended (I hate PMS), and tomorrow is a new day. I hope tomorrow brings you clarity and a sense of fulfillment. Thank you for sharing yourself so freely. I know we all appreciate it.

Up Mama's Wall said...

Judy is right. Being a great mom and partner should be and is enough. But I so totally understand how it feels like a non-accomplishment sometimes. We can be so ungenerous with ourselves.
You are a great writer and when the book is ready to come, you will be there to let it out, your writing muscles all warm and supple and ready to run.
On a brighter note, a clean house is a very nice thing...I wish I had one.

moam said...

Have you read "Bird by Bird" by Ann Lamott? It's got the best writing tips I've ever read...

Robin said...

So many lovely things have already been said - but I have to just add that a happy family like yours is quite an accomplishment. Also, you may not have a book deal (yet) but you have tons of readers and supporters who love what you write every day. Amazing photo too, btw.

Janet said...

The first few months my house was so clean I would clean the garage. Now two years later, I couldn't care less if my house was clean, let alone the garage. I think I am addicted to Facebook... Yeah, it gets better...

Michelle in KY said...

OH SUSANNAH:
See I can't do that. Where does that come from???
Very late here and just making it to read you!
Will be back tomorrow to offer support for the book you ARE going to write. Because you have too.
Goodnight!

Adriene said...

You have:
1. Spent valuable time with your precious girl.
2. Endured the stress of financial woes and moving.
3. Documented the love, adoration, wonderings, disappointments, hope, humor, etc...of your life.
4. Entertained the masses

I have:
1. Enjoyed my children
2. Cleaned my house and pool
3. Been entertained by you

In our eyes you are sitting on a stately throne, mid-poop.

Anonymous said...

You have to do what you have to do. Fuck the housework.....yeah, it's something, but it will never be DONE, so what the hell? Raising a child and having a home and husband is a good thing, don't get me wrong. BUT, there is more to life than home and family. Your daughter will grow up and not need you anymore, and then what? Yes, being a mother is the hardest, most important job in the world, but if you're not fulfilled (I can't believe I used that word...so women's lib) then you're not operating at your highest and best. Write, move forward, create. I left my career to raise a "genius" child.....he stared talking at 9 months, and now, at age 15 can barely cut a "B" in public school. Now it's too late for me to go back to it (and frankly, I have no desire). I'm having to recreate myself at 55.....you've got lots of time, but it does fly by. You're not alone.....be scared; it helps propel us forward.

krista said...

is this normal for 37? because, seriously, i'm there. and i'm not really liking it.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

I know this isn't what your post is about, but I just want to comment that the only thing about my future wedding I have planned is that there will be a goddamn ferris wheel.