(great fireworks picture from here.)
In 2008, I watched the life of my dreams and the life of my days move further apart.
It didn't start out that way. In a burst of enthusiasm, I joined Jamie's first Circe's Circle group. I wanted to take myself seriously, to give myself the support I needed. I created a preliminary plan for my novel-in-progress, worked through Jamie's fabulous exercises. And I waited to catch fire.
Instead, I caught a serious case of cold feet. Everything felt uncertain. Was my idea worthy of being a novel? What did I really know about my characters? Did I want to devote myself to this?
While I dithered, my MIL grew gravely ill. TEG flew off to care for her.
I still attended all of my Circe's Circle calls, doggedly, but my nascent novel was abandoned. I was still looking for something, but now I wasn't quite sure what it was. The calls were my lifeline. I bribed Madam with the choicest snacks, the best DVDs, anything to keep her quiet while I was on the phone. I used the “mute” button a lot.
The calls were my connection to that life I was still sure I wanted; the life that now seemed further and further away. I watched as the other amazing women in my group caught fire.
Meanwhile, Madam and I spent a lot of time at home, as TEG's time with his mother lengthened, and winter dragged into...more winter.
I was afraid to admit how depressed I was. I didn't want TEG to worry. And I knew that I was all Madam had.
So I learned to face each day as its own entity, with its own pleasures and tasks. I couldn't see to the end of the month, but the end of the day? Somehow, that always came and brought its blessings (at least Madam would sleep; maybe TEG would call). And there was always YouTube.
My own writing slipped further out of my grasp. I couldn't even think like that. I couldn't access those words anymore. I regressed—watched a lot of television, grew addicted to a soap opera. I gave up.
Then TEG returned...and we packed up and moved in with my in laws for the summer. No writing. No thought. Lots of time at the playground as I tried to give a fun shape to Madam's days while TEG concentrated on his mother's therapy and health.
I suppose I could have blogged about this, but weirdly, I grew increasingly self-conscious about sounding unhappy and negative here. I watched my once-robust readership dwindle (the fact that I all-but-stopped updating and reading may have had something to with it too, but I couldn't quite make the connection). I wanted to preserve this blog as a place I could come back to, when I returned to myself, to my own mind.
Unfortunately, blogging and writing, like everything else, is a habit—a habit I lost in 2008. This only added to my profound sense of having become someone else-someone I didn't like very much.
Did I mention that TEG moved into a different, far more precarious job position?
So. Kind of a wild, down year, but one where I learned some of the most important lessons of my life. About how much I love my daughter, my husband, my family. About how anything can be endured with the help of good friends, and a determination to face one sunrise and one sunset at a time. I watched Madam blossom into a confident, joyous, dramatic preschooler with a penchant for storytelling. It all fills me with a gratitude that I almost can't bear. A gratitude I can hope I can learn to express, someday.
All the same, I want 2009 to be very different. I want to come back here full time, whether anyone reads me or not. I want to make the choice to practice my writing everyday, regardless of my life situation. I know I am starting again, but hopefully this year wasn't a complete waste. My words aren't back yet—the words that make me feel like a writer...but these words are. This moment is.
I won't denigrate that again.
PS: I've been dipping my toes into blogs again, and I am buzzing with the desire to post a Mondo Beyondo list. And I will...soon. :)