meta

Monday, September 06, 2010

desperado

Just spent a masturbatory hour reading my first blog posts from four years ago. And I've discovered a third reason why I blog, along with (1) exercising my writing muscle, and (2) working to bridge the gap between us by honestly depicting the human condition. Number three would be to survey the distance I've traveled on this path, a path that at the beginning was so fraught with sleeplessness, diapers and self-loathing I doubted I would emerge from it alive.

Hamish is starting first grade tomorrow. Since he and Stella were born I have said, when they're in school full-time, my life can begin again. Well guess what? It's been going on without me all this time. All the Pema Chodron podcasts in the world cannot jar me from living in the past or the future. Eckhart Tolle, come bitch-slap me, please.
What I mean is, I still have no second novel in the works, and that was my original reason for starting this blog, to keep limber, to fish out plots, themes, characters...I have started a handful of novels that went nowhere fast, and have a novel's worth of words and stories here, but it's a chaotic mess. Endurance though. That I have, and it reassures me to no end. And passion. Still, I say to the world, to the mirror, to my waiting mother: my worst fear is that I won't ever publish a second book, that I will squander my gifts.

Maybe it's time to explore this fear, to live in it and see what is actually there, like a fairy tale girl forced to sleep in a haunted wood. I suspect it's that ancient terror I was born into, that common but agonizing fear of being worth shit, and yet I know how erroneous it is to equate my worth with what pages I produce. It's another blind stab at finding my value somewhere outside myself. Not to say that writing and selling that next book isn't worthwhile. It is. I want to. I just. Am still, after four years, stuck in a rut and still beating myself up for it.

I beat myself up not only for the missing manuscript but because I know better.

In my last life I did this with boys. I yearned so much for romantic love that I strangled any chance of intimacy, forever seeking out guys unable to give me the love I longed for. And then one autumn day, drowning in another puddle of loveless tears, my soul broke open. Just like that. I recognized my utter lack of self-respect when it came to men, saw clearly for the first time how I'd been barking my throat raw up every wrong tree in the forest, and finally found the love for myself that was there the whole time. I floated on the blazing colors of this epiphany into my own arms which were suddenly more than enough. And, oh, the irony! This was when the universe showed me the money. It was a month or so later that the man who would become my husband was delivered to me. And I was ready to receive.

This is how it works. You find what you seek inside yourself. It's there, always there, not even waiting. Then you no longer need that thing you were sure you couldn't breathe without because you're bursting with your own completeness. Everything else is just frosting. And that's when it arrives, that thing you used to want, better than you ever imagined it. And you know just what to do.

And because I lived the formula, I know the formula, but try as I may, I cannot force the equation with book number two. Why? Why can't I release my death-grip on the edge of this cliff and fall into the truth of it? Why can't I see my value as clearly as I did twenty-something years ago? As clearly as I did when I published book number 1? Why can't I open this box? I know the key is right here underneath my skin. I can feel its jagged edges.

Maybe the answer is in another forest altogether?

My goal is to erase desperation. I imagine my life without it. Sitting here typing at midnight, without yearning for a single thing. The sweetness just about knocks me over. To feel so full and alive that the mere thought of pining for anything is absurd. That's what I'm after.

I'm desperate for it.

5 comments:

Your husband of umpteen years said...

I do like how I continually come up as the answer to a prayer of yours. Sometimes I wonder when you will write the "be careful what you wish for" blog about me. I love you baby, and I love that you are blogging more. You continue to entertain me, even into my old age.

Elise Abrams Miller said...

I like your hat. And thank you. And eek!

Ben Lloyd said...

This is really good stuff. I so relate to it. I have written the second book, so maybe that puts me in a slightly different category. But there is sits, floating in the ether, too weird and dangerous to be taken seriously by anyone who could bring it to the light of day.

If it's any help to you Elise, I wrote it in bits and snatches over 2 and a half years: in coffee shops before I picked up Griffen from school, at home in between naps and dinner, during strange spare hours I suddenly found myself alone. I turned myself over to the darkness. I wrote a book full of the most twisted shit I never thought I could write about. The first sentence is: "She was getting fucked - again." That first sentence was a challenge I laid out for myself - just write it, all of it, as sick as it is. And you know what? It actually has a happy ending.

Blogging saved the writer in me. Just something about seeing the words and letters pour out of me, seeing that the faucet isn't actually clogged, the water still flows. I had to let go of expectations. This was really, really hard. I'm still not good at it. I want to be the next big thing. It's an engine which drives me and it's a giant hammer I hit myself with. Diabolical.

See? You struck a nerve. Ever read Anne Lamott's book Bird By Bird? I love her and it helped me.

Just keep writing, bird by bird.

Elise Abrams Miller said...

I'm resposting a comment I got this morning that didn't show up in the comment box for some reason:

Ben Lloyd has left a new comment on your post "desperado":

This is really good stuff. I so relate to it. I have written the second book, so maybe that puts me in a slightly different category. But there is sits, floating in the ether, too weird and dangerous to be taken seriously by anyone who could bring it to the light of day.

If it's any help to you Elise, I wrote it in bits and snatches over 2 and a half years: in coffee shops before I picked up Griffen from school, at home in between naps and dinner, during strange spare hours I suddenly found myself alone. I turned myself over to the darkness. I wrote a book full of the most twisted shit I never thought I could write about. The first sentence is: "She was getting fucked - again." That first sentence was a challenge I laid out for myself - just write it, all of it, as sick as it is. And you know what? It actually has a happy ending.

Blogging saved the writer in me. Just something about seeing the words and letters pour out of me, seeing that the faucet isn't actually clogged, the water still flows. I had to let go of expectations. This was really, really hard. I'm still not good at it. I want to be the next big thing. It's an engine which drives me and it's a giant hammer I hit myself with. Diabolical.

See? You struck a nerve. Ever read Anne Lamott's book Bird By Bird? I love her and it helped me.

Just keep writing, bird by bird.



Posted by Ben Lloyd to elise abrams miller at 9/8/10 8:31 AM

Amelia Plum said...

you rock elise. i'd post more but school's already kicking me butt again. great post and girl you've got gift's a plenty! but the comment from bryan about the be careful what you wish for blog entry cracked me up. it makes me want to visit you all again soon. xox

trackster