Everything’s Gonna Be Alright…If I Remember to Breathe

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Inhale.  Exhale.  Inhale. Exhale.

You’d think something that is supposed to work automatically would be easier but sometimes it just isn’t.  I find myself in a constant state of oxygen deprivation lately.  Emergency measures might just be in order.  First, a wee pep-talk.

  • First and foremost, DON’T GIVE UP!  DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT GIVING UP!  YOU CAN DO THIS!  YOU CAN MAKE THIS WORK, DAMMIT!  NOW GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE OVEN AND WRITE!  (Besides, it’s electric.)
  • Everything will work out.  You are supposed to be doing this.  Writing is why you are here.
  • Yes, it is hard.  It is devastatingly lonesome and depressing and sometimes it feels as though giants are Irish dancing on your heart.  This is normal.
  • You are not starving.  Yes, you are partially buried under increasingly high mountains of debt which the Canadian banking system advises that you really shouldn’t do but…somehow, it will all be ok.  I don’t know exactly how it will be ok but it will.
  • Go forth and do something that really scares the shit out of you.  Trust me, if you survive, you’ll feel much better.
  • Write, write, write, and then when you think you’ve utterly exhausted every word, every comma, every syllable that could possibly be extracted from your overheated brain, write some more.
  • Cry your eyes out if you must, then eat some ice cream, sit in the sun for a bit…then get back to it.

Yesterday was a Bad Day.  I couldn’t breathe all day; my chest simply wouldn’t rise, my lungs refused to expand.  Today is better but I’m thinking it’s only the weather.  I’m still terrified.  Terrified of failure, poverty, the disdain of my loved ones, the shame of the aforementioned failure.  I’m not alone.  Every writer has, at some point, felt just as I do.  The ones who haven’t?  I give myself permission to hate them very, very much.

Yesterday I trolled every single job website in the world, multiple times.  The fact of the matter is life would be a whole lot easier.  No, wait.  Less stressful.  No, that’s not true either.  Hmmmm…less guilt-infused.  Yes, that’s it.  Life would be less guilt-infused if I was bringing in a steady flow of pesos.

I feel as though I’m standing outside a door – it’s my door – but I can’t figure out how to open it.  I know that, on the other side of this door, is a bright, fulfilling future as a writer.  Notice I didn’t say “wealthy” or even “solvent” – I’m not delusional.  Semi-regular compensation would be a step in the right direction, would open the door a crack and give me something that I am sorely lacking lately:  Hope.

I pound on the door until my fists are bruised.  I kick it and try to pick the lock.  What am I missing?  What am I doing wrong?  What if it’s the wrong door?  See why I needed that pep talk above?

So, today with the uber-nice weather and while my veins are still humming with caffeine, I’m going to barrage the door with (sorry for the violence) a flurry of machine-gun fire.  I’m going to submit finished stories to literary journals, I’m going to submit an essay to a magazine.  I’m going to work on The Novel before I run out of ammo.  And, I’m going to do something that scares the shit out of me:  I’m going to deliver more resumes to people.  Oh, and somewhere in there I’m going to do the grocery shopping.

 

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