Sunday, March 21, 2010

On Procrastination

I'm starting a new book. I think I already told you about it. A story for my father-in-law about his childhood mentor. It's a study in making up history since I don't know a lot about him or the mentor. I can only imagine what their lives were like.

Sitting on the couch in my library, I'm finding ways to avoid writing. I hear my husband, rattling around in his studio. I imagine him painting, dancing back and forth in front of a new canvas. Sometimes, he is afraid to commit color to a surface, afraid that he might fail, just as I am afraid I might fail to find the words to write. I'm afraid my imagination will fail me. Do I have it in me to create?

The door to his studio just opened and closed. Now I imagine him outside, ranging around his old Model A truck, contemplating how he'll restore it this Spring. Ah, Spring! How does anyone do anything on such a beautiful day? He's coming up the stairs now to the main house. Perhaps he'll join me in my game of procrastination. Perhaps he'll save me from it.

No, I hear a brush drop. I imagine him picking it up, grabbing his palette. He has resumed work.

It is time for me to do the same. Writing is hard because it is alone work. And being alone is perhaps the hardest thing of all. Will anything save me from being alone with myself?

Today our daughter left for a new apartment closer to school. She says she fears being alone, not for her safety but for sanity. She just broke up with another boyfriend, an unsatisfactory relationship - not abusive, just second-rate. One in which she couldn't fully be herself. She's opted for making it on her own to being in a mediocre relationship.

I know there are books out these days about settling for a "good enough" relationship. You don't have to be single and hold out for the "right one" forever, they say. I'm not sure I agree with this. Holding out for the "right one" is holding out for the one who enhances your Self. It's not enough to just not be alone. One must be at peace with one's aloneness before joining up with another soul. My husband and I didn't choose each other to escape the loneliness but rather to share it, until our mutual emptiness united us both.

I think the fear of aloneness is the root of procrastination. Some might say it's fear of failure but at the root of the fear of failure is the fear of rejection and the root of the fear of rejection is the fear of being all alone in the world.

My husband just walked in. I ask him how it's going and he says "good. How about for you?" I say "good" in hopes that it will be. He can't live my life for me, no matter how close we are. It's up to me to handle my aloneness. I don't HAVE to write but I'd like to. So, up again old heart. Fill the void with imagination. In the end, that's all I can truly call my own.


Billy said...

Nothing profound today. I just think it is interesting how you deal in one post with the fear of being part of being part of a group and having to conform to its rituals and deadlines. Then in your next post (this one) you deal with the fear of being alone and having to perform without rituals or deadlines. I know writers have deadlines sometimes, but you don't seem to be dealing with them at the moment, unless you decide to set your own.

I guess being in the Way for so long, and considering what happened to you there, it is natural to shy away from anything remotely resembling such rigidity (It's only 9 minutes before class, bye-bye!). Thus your previous post. On the other hand, as a writer, I suppose you're still not used to living without deadlines or setting your own, a situation that I guess doesn't happen nearly as much in school, counseling, and prison work. I'm guessing that this has a lot to do with the aloneness you mention. I should underline the guessing part; it's your call. But IF I'm right, and you handle it well, you're going to be a lot more creative than you could be on any corps research paper.

I have lots of problems with the unstructured parts of my life, and I'll do you and everyone else a favor by not getting into them here.

Kristen Skedgell said...

Good observation, Billy. Thanks!

matthwjmes said...

Hi Mom - Was just reading your entry today with Mahesh. I read him what you wrote about the fear of aloneness being at the root of procrastination. Mahesh said, "You must thank your mother for this priceless brilliant insight!" I agree.