Friday, January 21, 2011

Aunt Anne

"You sit down, I say. You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on your computer and bring up the right file, and then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking, just a little at first, and then like a huge autistic child. You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind -- a scene, a locale, a character, whatever -- and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind. The other voices are banshees and drunken monkeys. They are the voices of anxiety, judgment, doom, guilt. Also, severe hypochondria. There may be a Nurse Ratched-like listing of things that must be done right this moment: foods that must come out of the freezer, appointments that must be canceled or made, hairs that must be tweezed. But you hold an imaginary gun to your head and make yourself stay at the desk. There is a vague pain at the base of your neck. It crosses your mind that you have meningitis. Then the phone rings and you look up at the ceiling with fury, summon every ounce of nobless oblige, and answer the call politely, with maybe just the merest hint of irritation. The caller asks if you're working, and you say yeah, because you are."

- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird 


That's probably a lot to have quoted from Lamott, who knows what it's like when the jungle drums are beating. If there is one paragraph that could sum up my existence at the moment, there it is, above. All I hear today are jungle drums and drunken monkeys and banshees. My thoughts are dark.

1 comment:

  1. I read this book years ago - Lamott is awesome. I have others of hers that I have yet to read, but I'm sure are good as well. If you need something to lighten your thoughts, read "The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club" by Laurie Notaro. It is a pee-yourself hilarious read.

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