September 29, 2014

Creative Confusion

I am sitting at my dining room table, the dishwasher noisily swishing suds onto our dinner dishes. My daughter's cough echoes down the stairs. The light above the table is bright, and I feel under interrogation. I am writing without an urge to write. I just deleted the previous title of the blog, which read "My other half" because I think that's perhaps just something to keep in my journal and not share with the world. After deleting that title, and the accompanying 2 sentences, I sat here a few moments wondering what to write about.
"Mom, can you help me?" my son's deepening voice is not calling from upstairs.
"Honey, should we discuss vacation plans?" my spouse is not asking for any attention either. The cat is fed, Gray's Anatomy over, and there is nothing but doubt and indecision between me and the rest of this white page.

This hardly ever happens.

I accomplished so much today. I even painted. What?!
Yes, and went for a long walk. What!?
Did you notice that I reversed the ! and the ?

There is something about the beginning of autumn that makes me want to crawl back inside myself and find a deep dark warm sauna to float motionless in until the sun begins to shine again.  There's something restless under my skin right now, something that keeps pushing at me to 'do it' to 'break free' to pick a fight, to be a shark. It's raining hard outside. The song "I can't stand the rain, against my window" shows how young I am. My kids won't even have heard of this song. My university students are the same age as my oldest daughter. That means that I am getting older. I lose focus at times. Other times I can concentrate and complete projects in the flash of an eye. I can be extremely efficient, but I can't remember when I was extremely efficient lately.

Is it age or the godforsaken internet that is robbing me of my youthful energy and concentration? There is so much to do - online - that existing in the real world seems so dull in comparison. So slow.

Today, on my walk, through the neighborhood and briefly through the forest, I managed to whatsapp with my sister who lives somewhere else in the world, to answer a few people on Facebook and to take some pictures. I told myself I should look around me, smell the damp leaves resting in the warming mud, and look at the grey green water of the lake. I took a picture of the waterlilies. As I did this, I worried, just for a moment, that my phone might fall into the water. It didn't fall. I thought about taking another picture, when suddenly, out of the blue, the battery gave up the ghost.

Oh good, I thought, now I can finally enjoy my walk. Which I did, looking around me, left and right, up at the sun slanting through the trees, at the forest gardener (who pays him? I wondered) who was cutting the long reeds next to the water. I thought about how my spouse has the same grass cutter - the noisy kind that you wear attached to your body as a kind of harness and spin your body left and right with a flexible blade to cut the long grass. For a moment, his blade dipped into the water splashing water at him, and he, surprised, backed up a few inches. He looked up as I passed, and I smiled. But he didn't smile back. And that was okay.

Later, I painted the waterlilies, after panicking that I had run out of watercolor paper. How does an artist, writer, teacher, workshop giver, creative person with tons of art supplies in her house manage to run out of paper? I found a
half of a page that had a small scribble on one side. I turned it over and painted, while listening to music. It was an hour of bliss.

The dishwasher isn't swishing any more. Now it's filling up again, perhaps rinsing? My daughter is still coughing from time to time. It's a dry cough, and I wish I could help her, but all I can do is empathize.  My son is out of the shower. Soon, he may call me for a good night kiss. I'm still allowed to do that. Maybe not for long. The house is very quiet. The page is filled. The inner critic says it may be rather disjointed. It may not be a piece worth publishing. And yet, this is my state of mind. My slice of tonight's who I am. My other half, after all.

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