Today I feel like winter. Okay, delete that. Today I feel like crap. Much better.
I tell my students “don’t wait for inspiration!” I tell them that Inspiration is like spring. We think it’s just around the corner, but it sucks up all our frequent flyer miles before it finally gets here. Well, I’ve never actually used that metaphor, but close enough.
I tell my students writing for just ten minutes a day is all it takes to keep the engine warm. When spring is finally here, and you once again have the desire to write for three or four hours at a stretch (praise the lord), you will be warmed-up and ready for the journey. You won’t need to take hours, or days, to reconnect with your characters. It’s like if you call your mother every day, even if only for a minute, when you finally see her for those long-hours-at-a-stretch visits, you will be warmed up and ready to thwart every attempt she makes to drill down deep into your gut. She will not drag out of you every gut-wrenching feeling that you have worked so hard to suppress.
Still, I don’t call my mother every day. She usually calls me, every other day. When she does call, if things are going less than perfect, I don’t tell her this. I try and spare both of us from the ugly stuff, but it never works, and I have yet to learn that when denied what she believes is her mother’s right (the right to hear her children bare their souls), my mother will always manage to rip the ugly right out of me, even it means she has to sacrifice a vital organ to do it. You think I’m sounding a bit over dramatic? Have you ever heard one of our conversations? Here’s how they usually start:
“Trisher, what’s wrong.”(No, I didn’t make a mistake and put a period instead of a question mark. My mother always sounds like she’s making a declarative statement even when she’s asking a question.)
“Don’t lie to me. Now, tell me what’s wrong.”
“Ma, I’m telling you, there is nothing wrong!”
“I know my daughter, and I can hear it in your voice.”
“EVERY THING IS WONDERFUL!”
“Then why don’t you sound like your usual bubbly self!”
Well, you get the point. If you don’t, let me spell it out for you. My mother is like writing. I love her and I want to call her every day, but she drives me crazy, so I don’t. Also, she does know her daughter. Well, I’m never bubbly… Okay, sometimes I am a little effervescent, but that’s only after a night of really great… In the unlikely hood that my mother finds this on the internet, I won’t finish this statement, but you get the point. If you don’t, call me.
Where was I? Yes, my mother is like writing. They both can be very distracting, and as much as I hate to admit it, like writing, my mother doesn’t let me get away with anything. She will emotionally and spiritually kick my freakin’ ass to keep me honest. When she fails, we both know it.
(I apologize in advance to all of you self-help writers, whom I greatly admire, for the sentence to follow.) Shouting “EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL” until I’m ready to chomp down on my cell phone, isn’t going to make everything wonderful when everything feels like crap.
Or will it?
This is where I try and redeem myself. This is where I have my epiphany and I actually shut-up and listen.
I know that I’m not wrong when I tell my students writing every day, even for ten minutes, will help them stay close to their characters. Just like I know telling my mother what’s really going on with me will bring us closer and more connected. So then, Maybe I will practice what I preach. I will write every day for ten minutes. I will be honest with my mother when she states, “Trisher, what’s wrong!”
The truth– I probably won’t write every day, and I know I won’t call my mother every day, and when she calls me I won’t answer every statement she makes with an open and honest answer. But, maybe, just maybe, if I click my heels and say “everything is wonderful,” spring will be here.