In one of those Mobius strips of illogic, I have been telling myself I’m a crap writer, and won’t let myself start writing until the art arrives. I have told myself I can’t write until it’s perfect, and then observed, over and over, that I’m obviously not a writer because, look, I haven’t written anything. I keep arriving at the conclusion that writing anything is better than writing nothing– not just a little better, far better, infinitely better. And I am suddenly struck dumb by the critical importance of bankers’ hours and mundane deadlines. Anais Nin might not have picked up a pen until she was shaken to her core by a poetic seizure but I, blank, staring, disheartened I, might be saved by humdrum obligations. Outline the book by the end of August, even if it’s a mediocre outline. So that I can write a terrible, imperfect, actual draft by the end of the year.
Last night I dreamed I had taken much of our money– most of our money– all of our money– and built a magic cave in our back yard. I started by cutting down two giant trees. Left in their place were tangles of ancient roots, terraces and stairwells, and I followed one staircase down down down until it became a doorway, which led me into a cave, that led to another tangle of steps and porticoes. I felt awed, but increasingly horrified: what was I thinking? At the first rain all of it would become flooded and rotten. The neighbors would complain. The staircase leading to the entrance was so tiny that only a child could twist themselves into the sliver of space. The branching cave tunneled into the rooms of our actual house, and seemed both impractical, and intrusive. I tried to cover my dismay by asserting confidently that our kids could come down into the cave to get high. “You know that will happen,” I laughed, sounding like a teenager myself, not entirely sure that was a sound outcome, and definitely not sure it was worth the time and money it took me to create the strange, useless space. Woke up so relieved to be in my ordinary house, with level floors and square doors.