Friday, August 10, 2007


When I first came to Sisters I was eager to leave all "to do" lists back in Portland and assume a completely blank page each morning. Well, nature abhors a vacuum and chronic doers abhor the blank page. Fast as you can say obsessive-compulsive I had planted new plants that needed daily watering. I bought a bird feeder and hummingbird feeder that required daily filling. I got a bird bath that needed hosing down and re-filling each morning. There will be no bird-do in MY bird bath, thank you very much.

And so it went. I filled the house with flowers that needed their water refreshed, their ends trimmed and then a system for yard debris to be created.

Each cupboard beckoned me to re-organize it. Trips were made to the thrift store to leave the past behind. Trips to Target were made to bring the present into the freshly cleaned cupboards. Tired towels were replaced with fresh and bright. Toys no longer age appropriate for my kids were replaced with blessed space on the floor and clutter free shelves.

The refrigerator was attacked both inside and out, on the top, too. All the faded, dated and now hated notices on the front were removed. All the junk on top was taken down and new homes were found for what was essential, the rest was thrown into the garage for the next thrift store trip. The long-expired mayonnaise, relish, ketchup and mustard were tossed but not replaced. I no longer need to buy all that stuff if it's just me here. This refrigerator needed only to meet my needs, and nobody else's. Now there are bottles of Pellegrino and 1/2 and 1/2 in my refrigerator, little else.

With the house writing-ready I was all set, no distractions. My list for the day now included things like:

1) Write scene where I knew I had two kids with special needs.
2) Write scene where I became hysterical and had to be sedated at age 11.
3) Write scene where uncle committed suicide.

Oops! What's that I see outisde? A noxioius weed? Better pop off this chair and go get it, roots and all! Wow! Are those dead flies lying in the base of that light fixture? Those must be disposed of IMMEDIATELY! How I longed for a daily To-Do list that would preclude me from doing what I was here to do! I had met, face-to-face with what I'd longed for, day after day with nothing to do but write. Goddammit, why wasn't I having fun? Why wasn't I lost in the world of my words and story? Why wasn't I cranking out 20 pages a day?

Because. Because going "there" is hard. Brutally, brutally hard. The stuff that is pulled from deep within the locks and gates of the psyche are no fun to splat across the page. The stories of how you got the way you are, are horrifically revealing and in many cases, somewhere along the slightly embarrassing to devestatingly humiliating continuum.

Maybe I should go read other people's blogs! Maybe I should stop writing and go read a book about writing! Maybe I should call a friend and talk about writing! Anything, I was willing, and desperate, to do anything but actually write.

Somehow, despite being my own worst enemy, I have the scaffolding done for my book. I have the frame. I even have some of the rooms of the "house" taking nice shape and being almost "move-in ready." Somehow, despite the lack of distractions and lack of impositions of others, my need to do this has overcome the need to not do it. Somehow. Maybe that's what I'll spend today doing, trying to figure that out. Or I could write. Damn.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

God damn it, Carrie, just write!

Ziji Wangmo said...

Love the post -
Now that you've writen about all of your distractions, analyzed them and, probably, taken care of them...it's time to write!
In the mean time, I'm going to the beach instead of painting in my studio!

Suzy said...

Oh boy, great post. I took off 6 days to write and basically ended up watching one of my dogs "bark" at a fly for 4 of those days. I considered that entertainment, seeing that I don't have a tv in my writing room....

Well, the fly died 2 days ago and I could finally write.

It's amazing how anything can get in our way of doing the hard stuff.

Once again, your writing speaks volumes. I only wish I would write volumes.

Love.
Suzy

Anonymous said...

go carrie!!!

Jerri said...

In the words of the immortal Nike: Just Do IT!!!!

Deb said...

Thank you for sharing this. I figure if you're having these struggles, which sound oh so familiar, I'm not totally nuts. Or if I am, at least I'm in very good company.

kario said...

"Anywhere but there", huh? I can totally relate, my dear. If I can't find anything else to do, I'll go read blogs. Justifying it by saying, "Sheesh, I only have twenty minutes before I have to get the girls - I can't write anything in that time..."

I'm so proud that you've done what you have. Give yourself kudos for that. And for surviving this far.

Love you.

Kim said...

It's all part of the journey and honey, you are MOVING! You are DOING it! I am SO proud of you!!

Love from Vermont.

Terry Whitaker said...

As you can see, I stopped writing as soon as I got to the "hard part" of my blog. Now, Therapy is replacing writing. Of course, I'll still have to face it in writing...sometime!

holly said...

You can come "write" at my place anytime - it could use a good over haul!

Lee Wolfe Blum said...

You are signing my song! I just stopped writing b/c I have too many other things to do...than I thought...no I will go read other writers blogs for inspiration! You are so like me! It is sooo damn hard!

You can do it...one step at a time...you can only run a marathon one step at a time. Or eat an elephant...one bite at a time.

Lee

grammer said...

All that stuff you did needed doing. No worries. You will get to all that writing and more. It'll come up like grass in the cracks of the sidewalk; inevitably, beautifully, perfectly. I have complete faith in you and your process, and appreciate the honesty of this post. Thank you! xo t

Go Mama said...

Brutally honest post, Carrie.

But then, "I have the scaffolding done for my book. I have the frame. I even have some of the rooms of the "house" taking nice shape and being almost "move-in ready." "

That ain't nothin'...keep going. Sounds to me like you were healing the space first. Trust it will come together in perfect time.

Anonymous said...

hi carrie........

just came across your blog and i am quite intrigued!!

i have many questions for you about this, memoir writing to help deal with the tragedies in life.(correct me if im wrong, "tragedy" sounds so negative. bleh!)

when you have time, would you mine dropping me a line?

thanks!

vivian
farmgirl400@yahoo.com