the art of self-therapy

i happened to be browsing through heather rae’s blog in search of squid earlier today when i skimmed through her first post on #reverb10.  the idea is to reflect on the past year and use this reflection to send reverberations through your life to help you mold your future to your liking.  or something like that.  anyway, you get a daily prompt and you create something around it.  the idea is to create.  anything.  well, anything as long as it has to do with your interpretation of the daily prompt.

it strikes me as a lot like therapy.  only cheaper.  i’m a big believer in talk therapy; our country relies too much on drugs to make themselves feel better, without getting to the root of the problem.  but that’s another subject entirely, one that i could spend far too much time on.  i clicked on the “click here to PARTICIPATE!” button and yeah, here i am.  what the hell have i gotten myself into?  since i’m a day behind, i’ll combine the first two prompts into one post.  i may or may not do the entire month…there are more than likely going to be some prompts that don’t catch my fancy, or i simply don’t have time.  speaking of time, here’s prompt number 1:

One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

i’d say static.  this isn’t a bad thing necessarily.  it simply means that my life over the past year has remained pretty much the same as it was the year before.  i still have the same job, live in the same house, with my same boyfriend, and we hang out with our same friends and family, for the same reasons.  it reminds me of the line from that ben lee song, “a lot goes on, but nothing much happens.”  which is true.  there was probably quite a bit that happened this year, but nothing (other than my car accident) that made a major impact.  it represents a sort of contentment to me, something a lot of people search for and have a difficult time finding.

this can be dangerous, though.  static can lead to a rut.  ruts are bad.  and as the year nears its end, i’m starting to get that itchy feeling i get when i need a change.  this can lead to rash and sometimes ill-advised decisions (like being offered a job the same day you interview for it and accepting it, even though you weren’t all that enthusiastic about it to begin with), or sometimes great things can happen.

what do i hope for it to be next year?  i have no idea.  time, maybe.  i’m obsessed with time lately.  trying to expand it, find more of it, sometimes consolidate it.  time to relax, to accomplish everything i need to do in a day, to make it speed up when i want it to be over with.  although, that’s not so much a word but an entity.  still, time is my word.  next year will be when time bends to my will, when i can fit in an hour of tv, cat wrangling, reading a few chapters, and some manuscript editing, PLUS cooking dinner, within a three and a half hour time period.  oh wait.  i’d have to be superwoman for that to happen.  eh.  i’ll worry about it later.

prompt number two:

Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

this is an easy one.  excuses and laziness.  oh, and lack of motivation and creativity.  i didn’t set out to be a writer.  i’m still not entirely convinced i want to be one when i grow up.  there was a reason i chose sociology in college over english; i thought sociology would involve less writing (i was wrong.  sociology plus history equals still lots of writing.)  the thing is, i like my day job.  or sort of.  i’m looking forward to actually liking my day job, which i swear will happen one day (maybe even next year!).  i simply don’t have the discipline it takes to chain myself to a desk when i have no task other than to write.  this is why i will never be self employed.

i need structure.  this is why i work for the man.  yes, i’d prefer the man be smaller than larger, but that schedule of get up, go to work, slog through paperwork, leave, go to the gym, go home, relax until bedtime…it’s ingrained after years of schooling.  and i mean grade school.  not college.  college was a little too unstructured for me, but it’s better than being unemployed.  or self employed.

i make excuses when i get home.  i’m too tired, my brain is fried, i stare at a computer all. fucking. day. long.  the last thing i want to do is turn on my laptop and stare it some more.  i’d rather finish my book.  merry christmas, charlie brown! is on TV tonight.  the laundry needs to be folded, the dishwasher emptied, and zen needs his fluids treatment.  the last one, actually, is never an excuse, it’s a necessity.  but you get the idea.  i deal with people, some polite, most of them confused, and some rather angry, all day long, and when i get home i want to do something that requires as little brain power as possible.  being polite is so damn exhausting.

the other problem (lack of motivation and creativity) is it comes in fits and starts.  when i was in high school, the vast majority of the poetry i wrote i wrote when i was supposed to be doing something else (like paying attention in class).  with vanishing, it’s the same deal.  the ideas come while i’m at work, rarely when i’m at home and can devote time to it.  if i were to let it ride until i came home, i’d either a) make my excuses and then end up doing the next post sometime at work the following day or b) it’d turn out really shitty.

can i eliminate this?  some of it, sure.  it’s just a matter of willpower.  i could stick with my original plan of spending at least a half hour a day working on my manuscript, or a short story, or whatever.  i could make every other sunday “write your ass off” day with a goal of 3000 words.  the better question is whether i want to.  and i’m not really sure that i do.

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