Monday, May 30, 2011
Existential Question of Writing
I wrote in one of my last posts about feeling out of sync with my own era. I also think it was in response that I had to turn in a short story to my newly formed writing group last night and I had nothing new. I have written only short, blog posts for several years now, avoiding the heavy work of long-form fiction writing. I do think about, and often revise several times, what I write on blog posts, so the craft of writing still peeks its head up when I'm composing the short form.
Yesterday I had lunch with a friend, who is about my age and stage with children launched and grandchildren woven through our lives, and mentioned my angst about all this to her. I wondered if I was up to the writing, the work, if at my age I had the energy. Her (brilliant) insight was that when we were young mothers and surrounded by work and laundry and fixing meals and cleaning up and activities we would look far into our future and say that when all the children left, we would do_________ and then we would fill in that blank with whatever we--at that point in our younger lives--imagined that we would want to do. She observed that now that we have finally arrived at that fill-in-the-blank spot, all is changed. What our 35-year-old self thought is not what our 55-plus self sees as a possibility.
It's a bit disconcerting, all of this shifting around.
In some cases, the shift happens because of forces outside our lives: the recession and business failures, health problems, the dynamics of our extended family. Some interior forces might be a different way of looking at things, a banking of that proverbial fire in the belly, an altered moral viewpoint. Whatever the situation that brought us to this point, those dreams we once had--that may have gotten us through that crunch--are seemingly ephemeral and must be redrawn, reimagined.