Woke up from a dream last night about a murder and thought: holy shit this is a perfectly wound plot. Went over the details in my mind to ensure I’d remember the basics when I woke up, which I did not. The memory of the memory is all you get sometimes. The feeling that somewhere in your brain there’s a more capable version of you, but it’s harder and harder to access.
Take as read the background radiation of the planet on fire. Black people being beaten and murdered and abducted by the police, every single day. Abolish them immediately, irrevocably. The pandemic, the voluntary shelter in place. The newfound fear of other people – their proximity, the atoms they exhale.
Last fall when I started therapy one of the big things I wanted to work on was: how do I stop living in constant fear about the planet dying. 50-75 years, give it. Forget science maybe eventually figuring out the carbon in the atmosphere thing, you can’t change the temperature of the ocean. Once the biodiversity of the coral reefs is gone, the rest of the ocean follows, and that’s (really!) pretty much it for life on this planet. Our part of it, anyway.
My therapist wanted to check in about that recently. Well, I said. It’s been a while since I had any panic attacks about the world ending in 50 years, since the timeline’s moved up. Since it’s now, instead of someday. Look at how much daily stress and panic I can absorb. Look at me, getting through the days.
Writing about writing is boring and I live I fear of needlessly occupying people’s attention with things that don’t matter so I’ll skip ahead. Before [gestures wildly] I had a really good routine: up early, bike downtown, coffee shop for 45 minutes before work. Day after day it added up in to a bunch of books about Kim Kardashian. Still, it got done. The last few months, I couldn’t find my way back to that other space, with nowhere to go. I always had this idea that writing required focus & attention. A form of prayer, some kind of secret language between me and the universe that required devotion, space, solitude. A stepping out of one’s everyday life, into something sacred. And then I thought: what if it doesn’t?
I write with the TV on now. Background noise? No: I’m on S10 of Bones and can share thoroughly-considered opinions on any aspect of the series. But I keep my laptop on my lap and Scrivener open and tuck sentences away here and there – when the scene is boring or involves that one guy I don’t like. It starts to feel more and more natural. Day after day it starts to add up into whatever it’ll add up to. Look at me, getting through it.