Friday again, huh? Time passes by really quickly. So far, today has been a good day, which is really welcome. I need a good day. This week, while it certainly hasn’t been bad, has been…let’s call it a bit of recovery.
It’s funny how quickly my plans change. Two weeks ago (or more?) I was gung-ho on the idea of Becoming a Gearhead. I’d planned out a great gear review that was going to discuss two different stoves we used on our BC trip, not to mention some hiking boots, perhaps a jacket or two, and probably my beloved Osprey backpack. But I just haven’t had the time to do that, although in my brain that one post spun off into many posts about gear, which spun into a possible career of doing gear reviews, where companies would send me their gear to try out and review. It’s a neat idea and I love it. But I just don’t seem to be able to find the time.
Time. It’s a dwindling commodity for me these days. I find this very frustrating because the whole reason I own my own business is so that I can own my own time. But reality stepped in and said “Nay, nay, you cannot be the master of yourself so easily.” Since I need a way to pay bills, I had to get a part-time job and I find that’s really made me very aware of my time. It’s not even that the job takes up a lot of time, though this week I’ll have worked 21 hours. But what it does is put a limit on my time. On the days I have to work, the time for the shift looms and approaches, stalking me and making me unable to see my time as unlimited. At 11 a.m. I find myself thinking “I only have seven more hours until I have to work.” And somehow that seven hours flies by as I try to fit everything I want to do with my life into that small time window.
I already want to quit the job, not because there is anything bad about it (though there are a few things I don’t like). It’s just a job. But the reason I want to quit is that I feel it is a limitation and I’m doing my best to lead a life right now that is unlimited. But time is passing so quickly that it scares me. Time is such a paradox, though, isn’t it? Because if you ask my boyfriend about time right now, he’d say it’s passing way too slowly. He’s away in the field right now and can’t wait to get back to the civilian parts of his life, so for him, time drags.
Anyhow, now I’ve lost my train of thought. What was I talking about? Right, I was talking about today, and then time jumped out and ambushed me. It loves being master. I think Time’s a bit of a sadist, myself.
So today is Friday and I have to work this evening and I find myself trying to desperately stuff all of the things I need to do–a week’s worth of work–into the next 6 hours…which actually turns really quickly into 4.5, because my shift starts at 6 p.m., but I’ve begun to leave at 4:30 so I can beat the traffic and be on time. So in 4.5 hours, I’m pressuring myself to do the dishes, do the laundry, clean the backyard (we have a dog so that means dog bombs), not to mention my actual work, which includes contracts for others, plus the writing I want to do for myself. I want to do it all in 4.5 hours and despite my post on prioritizing last week, I’m having trouble doing it today. What do you do when everything seems to be priority #1? I guess I need to make choices.
Anyway, back to today. Today has been a good day despite all of these obligations and commitments that are currently buzzing around my head like flies. Why? One simple reason. I was sent a proof of my short story, Indonesia Jazz, which will soon be published in 34th Parallel Magazine. The proof looks amazing, I read over the story and I still like it, which is also amazing, and they did a really nice job on my bio, too. The whole thing, title page, story and bio, is a six-page spread, which is stellar. Much more than I’d hoped for or envisioned. It was a real confidence boost at a time when I feel I’m failing obligations and not meeting expectations left, right and centre. The proof came at a great time.
And it’s inspired me to write more. In the past few weeks, the two books I’ve put on the backburner are clamouring to be written, to be brought back to life. They’ve been coming to the surface of my brain more and more and it’s become an almost undeniable force inside of me. The battle is, though, money, as always. I am really low on money right now. I need money to pay my bills and buy food. All I want to do is ignore the outside world for a while and immerse myself in my writing, allow my true passion to flow forth and create something wonderful…but my fear is choking that inspiration out. I have loan payments to make. Credit cards. I have day-to-day basic things to take care of, like cooking and cleaning. I have a dog to mother, friends and family to share my love with, contracts to honour. But all I really want to do is run away somewhere to a cabin in the woods where someone will deliver me cooked meals so that all I have to do is write, just open myself up to the creativity that is desperately trying to push forth.
I think it’s time for me to make some concrete plans and take some action on my writing. I’ve been waiting for the money to come so I can take the time to write, but it’s not coming and so neither is my writing. I guess it will have to be a conscious decision to ignore the thousands of reasons not to write and just do it, despite the fact that this is nowhere near the perfect time for it. Time to wrack up the credit cards without fear (I negotiated a nice low interest rate). Perhaps I will put my line of credit to use (despite the way that thought makes me cringe). I guess sometimes debt is worth it and I don’t think I can wait any longer without crushing part of my own spirit.
I’m not sure what all of this means for me. I’m not sure how this next step will play out and what changes I need to make in a life that already feels so tumultuous.
What I do know is that change is inevitable and that my best-laid plans always go haywire, heading straight for hell in a handbasket, as they say.
So I guess it’s time to leave the outer world and retreat a little into my own creative space where I ignore the storms that pass by and put my head down to write, write, write. Right?
The truth is that the issue of money is fading fast. It beginning not to matter that I feel like I’m a poor, starving writer. If I don’t write soon, money or not, my spirit will get sick. That’s what happens if I don’t write. My spirit gets sick, wastes and I get really depressed. It’s truly a part of who I am and I don’t write for money (though that would be lovely!); I write because there are stories that I need to tell, to get out of me. I don’t know where they come from because they aren’t my stories, not stories about me and my life. But these people live on inside and their lives carry on and they wanted to be known and heard and loved and maybe even hated, and they can’t be if I don’t write.
Maybe that makes no sense, but I don’t care anymore. The time for action draws near. Prepare the way.
Breathe, Aspen, breathe. It’ll be okay.