How I know when this I-am-never-going-to-amount-to-anything-and-should-just-give-up-so-I-can-spend-the-rest-of-what-I’m-sure-will-be-shortened-life-after-all-the-TV-watching-and-gin-drinking-watching-TV-and-drinking-gin feeling is a result of not writing:
- I’m not writing. You think this would be obvious, but it’s not. It usually takes a couple of weeks for me to realize that this feeling of despair has anything to do with not writing. But then, when I recognize this, I continue to not write only now I add am-too-undisciplined-to-actually-be-a-writer thoughts to the growing pile of bad thoughts.
- I start thinking I should go back to school. I never think I should go to school for writing. I think I should go for something more practical like Ancient History or English Literature. I spend time imagining what it would be like to get a PhD, imagine telling people I have a PhD, and imagine myself walking around Paris, speaking French without an accent. I can see a montage of myself reading in different locations, wearing various sweaters, and drinking various hot drinks. At no point to I imagine myself teaching, publishing academic articles, or attending department meetings. When Daniel mentions those things to me, I stop thinking about going back to school. Besides what would I write for my Statement of Intent? “I want to learn about this so that I can feel superior to others?”
- Dirty socks start stressing me out. During good writing times things like dirty socks don’t bother me because I know that if I chose to put time into it, I could like in a house Martha Stewart would want for her magazine. (Though, does she ever have articles about 643 square foot condos?) When I’m not writing, I start to care about dirty socks and streaky bathroom mirrors. I can no longer tell the laundry basket that I don’t have time for it because I’m writing. Now, does this mean that during these times I live in an exceptionally clean house and a pristine wardrobe? Hahahahahahahahaha. No. It does not mean that.
- I watch a lot more TV. And then I think, why write anyway? I mean, why not just spend all my time watching TV? Is that such a bad way to live a life? Why write when I can watch an episode of Gilmore Girls and then an episode of Scandal back to back to back to back?
- I start to feel jealous of women who lived back in the 1800s and were diagnosed with hysteria all the time and given bed rest. I think that I’d welcome being diagnosed with hysteria. I’d love for a doctor to tell me to stay in bed for four months. Then I’d have a good reason to ignore laundry and watch TV all the time.
- When I decide that if I’m not going to write, the least I can do is spend more time reading, I think “Why bother reading anything that isn’t Harry Potter?” And I usually can’t answer this.
- This if followed by a thought like, “Why even write? Harry Potter has already been written? What could possibly be better than Harry Potter?”
- I start feeling bad about my stomach versus Gwyneth Paltrow’s stomach. Again, during writing times, I don’t think about Gwyneth Paltrow’s stomach because I’m a writer, damn it, and I could have nice abs if I committed my time to it, but I’m committing my time to writing. So when I’m not-writing, there’s time to think about things like Gwyneth Paltrow’s stomach. Again, this doesn’t mean that I exercise more during this time. In fact, I exercise much less. Which I just realized, probably isn’t helping things any.
- I believe, with all my heart, that if only we lived someplace else, then everything would be ok. Like if we moved to Paris or upstate New York or even Ohio, things would be the way I wanted them to be. Like it’s nothing to do with me, it’s Portland. It’s 100% the city’s fault, and if I lived in the English countryside then I would never ever feel this way again as long as I live.