That’s the best way to explain where my head is at right now. I left the rez with a raging burner under my ass but the heat has yet to get the brain boiling.
Were I a younger man I would fret. I would worry and have ulcers and generally be thinking of myself as a failure. I would look at my pending deadline (February 13th) and be in a shear blinding panic. And I would find all sorts of ways to push all my work off until the threat of deadline forced me to cough up some lukewarm product and I’d be resigned to it.
The difference is that I’ve learned to let things happen in their own time. I learned this from not having a car and having to rely on public transit. In my impatient days I would make it to the bus stop and furiously check my watch every twenty seconds wondering when the bus would come. Once on the bus I would continuously check my watch to see if I would make it to work on time. As I got to my stop I would try to calculate how much time I had to get to work (or how late I would be) and try to mentally prepare myself for it.
Then something funny happened. I realized that the bus would come when it came and looking at my watch only created anxiety. And once on the bus I couldn’t control it’s speed or the traffic and so I found it pointless to worry. I would get to work when I did and I was resigned to the fact that once I left the confines and comfort of my house I was no longer in control of the universe. I never had any control over the universe in my house, but I had the illusion that with proper preparation I could manage to get myself where I needed to be with a modicum of punctuality and a minimum of stress. I was rarely late, and when I was I wasn’t stressed — hey, the universe was in command that day.
These things, time and space, they become the illusions we agree to in order to give our lives form and function. I’m not trying to be deep, I’m merely explaining how I came to stop wearing a watch most of the time, how I learned to accept the flow of the universe, and why I’m not panicking right now.
Okay, maybe a little, secretly, but it’s against my better judgment. I know that if I don’t freak out and let things come in their own time then they’ll come without the anxiety. In the end the amount of time I expend might not be any different than if I panicked myself into last-minute work but without the stress I’m more likely to get closer to what I want.
Before I left the rez I gave myself until tomorrow, Monday, to allow myself a comfort zone for reentry. I was going to get things organized, plan things out, make schedules, and generally rest up so I could attack this new phase of work fresh and strong. Earlier today I was feeling like maybe that wasn’t such a good idea, especially once I started seeing my fellow newbies already posting comments on the message board about the books they’ve finished and the pages they started. I was falling into that dangerous trap of thinking I had already fallen behind and was a useless loser.
There was also a comment from one of the guys that said he was having problems writing for the 12 year old boy in his head because now he felt like his faculty advisor was in there and he had to write for him instead. I laughed, because I tried a couple pages of a short story last night and had the same problem; all my phrasing, all my cadences, were an attempt to capture the voice of my advisor’s work. I didn’t know why it wasn’t working until that moment but from here it all is plainly clear.
So I was right to wait. I still have the fire and the energy I felt when I left the rez but I’m slowly allowing that need to capture fireflies in a bottle be replaced with the magic of being able to appreciate the fireflies as they are, wild and free. Uh, what I mean is, I ain’t trying to force it and my brain is starting to figure out what comes next.
Next is a day of organization, calendaring the semester work so I stay on track, plotting the middle grade novel so I know both character and story arcs. I can feel my brain at a simmer right now, ready to make the jump to full boil. Beginnings jockeying for place. The stress level is down but the nerves are still a bit on edge. That’s good, can’t be too cool or complacent.
And no, this isn’t an attempt to talk myself out of a corner.