Falling behind

Last week and a part of the week before was dedicated to compiling evidence for an upcoming court date. Unfortunately, it occupied 90% of my time and a high amount of bandwidth when it came to my mind. I hate it. I’m tired of the pettiness of it. Someone without anything better to do with their time keeps insisting upon it.

It has been six years, almost to the day.

The last few days has been the usual emotional rollercoaster of my son going back to his mom’s house. Now with freshly fallen snow and winter temperatures the house feels even colder and emptier than a week on my own. The sounds of my son playing or working on a project are a memory this week.

I’ve been binge watching The Haunting of Bly Manor, which has been good, but not nearly as good as the 2018 season, Hill House. That show was downright scary. This show has been interesting. Sad at times. I have enough sad. I’ve also been watching Jack Ryan, which I just consider an unofficial sequel to the Office: The Continuing Adventures of Jim Halpert.

Switching gears back from court documents to working on the book has been a challenge. Tonight I’m writing this blog to get my flow back. Throughout the day I’ve been taking notes on my phone, but it’s a little different than the massive word counts and flow I was getting just a few weeks ago. When the words are strong enough, they break through no matter what. I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night before with a chunk of something I had to jot down. When the words want to come out, there isn’t much else you can do.

I think my muse has been forgiving lately. I’ve been able to work on other things and even got a few nights this weekend where I just went to bed and slept, letting my brain rest.

Six years ago, this week, I faced one of the hardest choices of my life. I decided to leave a marriage that was unhealthy for myself and my children. For the last six years I have continued to face the conflict that I left, but at least it isn’t every day. Now it is just in the occasional obnoxious email or courtroom appearance, usually for more money. There are very few moments in 15 years of marriage that I remember with fondness. Most of it was very, very hard. Every day walking on eggshells, the gaslighting, the shaming, the verbal abuse, and of course the isolation.

I have been grateful for every day I have had outside of that life. This is a big anniversary for me. Six years. In many ways, it feels like it has just flown past. For a while I was getting by day by day. The expenses, the fear and uncertainty of the constant battle, the fear of being alone, of repeating the same mistakes that I made when all of that began. In those six years, I have had people come and go in my life. I miss them sometimes. But maybe that is what is getting me right now: most of my life, I have missed the people who have left my life, but I don’t think anyone really ever misses me. Friends, lovers, family, and even my own kids.

Bly Manor got to me in one regard. As time passes, you begin to fade from the world. At least you fade from the memories of others. It’s like that quote: “Every man has two deaths. When he is buried in the ground, and the last time someone says his name.”

Sometimes I write the book because I think that the story will resonate with someone else and it will be worth writing if it touches just one other person. And sometimes, I want to make sure that the story lives a little longer than myself. I’m 45. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the short rows. I could turn out to have cancer or have a heart attack. Anything. The blinders are off. I no longer live under the delusion that there is plenty of time.

The last twenty years of my life was spent trying to make other people happy. Trying to do what was expected of me. The responsible thing. Working for a place that laid off 65 people in one fell swoop, without much of a regard for what would become of them. I worked with people who were in their sixties, who relied on that job, and had believed they would continue to do so pretty much until the end. Jeez, that was never what I wanted. That job was just a way to make sure the rent was paid and my family could eat. The right and reasonable thing to do. At least until I could write full time.

So, when I face the challenges of working towards my goals, I get some pushback from a world that just wants you to comply, to spend more time doing what others want you to do, instead of what you should be doing. It’s funny that in the span of six months, this is the new normal, with face masks and hand sanitizers, and no dancing, no live music, no meeting new people and branching out in your social circles…but the old rules still pertain. We still have to live by what we should be doing. The status quo. Even though it no longer makes any sense.

Another summer has ended, and I feel like I am falling behind, because someone I broke away from six years ago hasn’t got anything better to do than to insist I pay attention to her. Maybe I’m just pissed off about that. Maybe I’m pissed off that a year ago, I allowed myself to make plans, and we all know how to make God laugh. Just say “I have a plan.” I wonder if I have already died that second death with some people. Yet I continue to miss them.

My second death with others can’t come soon enough.

Upset

Tonight I am a little upset with myself. Instead of working on the novel today, I have been compiling information for court that is coming up in November. The deadline for discovery is next week. I’m not an attorney, but due to my financial situation, I can’t afford one either. So I am making do the best that I can. This morning I was on hold for around 2.5 hours, navigating various phone trees. Some of which actually answered the call after a significant period of time.

The bummer is that writing is fulfilling, and today the only writing I did was writing I didn’t want to do. Things I am tired of. Exhausted by. Soul-crushing shit.

The other problem is by finishing a chapter late last night, I really hadn’t given much thought about what I wanted to work on today in the book. I guess I am accomplishing things right now that need to be done, but I don’t want to do. Which happens sometimes in life.

Maybe tomorrow I can divide my time a little bit better into what I have to do and what I have to do.

Some days are like this, I suppose. Right now it is late and I am very tired, and I need to think about things that aren’t court-related. There is a reason I am reminded why I never went into law. I absolutely hate it.

I guess it was a good day

Today started off being stressful. I am in the process of compiling discovery documents for an upcoming custody case. I have seen enough of this in the last six years to last me a lifetime. Believe me when I say it gets old. I did get some good advice regarding how to proceed, and for those who helped me, I can’t thank you enough.

But I’m not going to talk about that.

Today I also got to spend a lot of time writing. I might sound like a broken record about this, but God do I love writing. I don’t even know how many words I got down today, but I will say that the chapter I was working on is done and it wound up being around 5700 words. It was a challenge to write too, since it was based in complete fiction. I had to compress a person’s life into just one chapter

It was based on something I wrote here, and one of the things I loved about writing this is how nothing is wasted. You can take the seed of an idea and grow it into something different. Something with life and depth and feeling. I wasn’t sold on the chapter in the middle of the afternoon when I took a break to pore over legal documents. I was disheartened, actually. A little concerned that I was wasting a day of writing. Instead, by the time I finished, I was very happy with what I had turned out.

I also shared a bit that I had worked on a while back with someone I thought might appreciate the content, as their own life has resonated with the content. It did. I got good feedback, though it did inspire a conversation that might have been better left alone. I don’t want to provoke people but rather some of the things I am writing about are not things we are supposed to discuss. They are against the grain of the mainstream. They are unpopular opinions sometimes, but they are still things that many of us face every day and don’t feel like there is a familiar voice in the darkness for us to hear.

I am encouraged that I am doing the right thing, so I will keep on keeping on.

Tonight, I am enjoying a whiskey on the rocks to help my brain unwind. I’ve earned it. Tomorrow is another day to create and I am looking forward to it.