Tag Archives: waiting

Waiting, Waiting, And More Waiting

I’m supposed to be using this week to create a framework for my next six weeks and next six months.

But that hasn’t happened.

I’m sitting around chewing on what’s left of my fingernails, trapped by a shitty rainy day, and lost in worry about whether my father will even survive an operation that’s SUPPOSED to be happening today. As of this hour, he still hasn’t gone under the knife, and I’m still in a “what if” panic.

Whatever happens in that operating room decides what happens in the next six months of my life far more than any timeline I could write today.

There’s nothing in my head that’s worth extracting today.

There’s no hope or faith, no optimism or belief. There’s just empty pulsating limbo as I wait for life to fill in the blanks for me.

Waiting is criminal. It scars the soul. Hope is the only antidote, but it’s not one I’ve been afforded much of.

The longer this takes, the more I’m adrift in uncertainty, the louder those discordant heartbeats echo inside as wonder floods in and worry takes over.

I’ve been useless today.

When I was waiting for the answer on my book proposal, that was fine. Why? Because I knew the book might be better if I was in fact rejected by the literary agent. No, really.

There’s a much more organic process that comes in creation when you don’t have a deadline or third-party involved. This book of mine should be a journey to places I’ve never been before, and right now I don’t know what that’ll require of me, so I want to explore that and really go there without muddling from others.

But this?

Father-who’s-alive versus Father-who’s-not is a pretty big fucking stipulation in how your life unfolds, especially when it’s down to a 24-hour window.

The possibility being this tangible is nothing anyone should experience, but is something we all are faced with. Don’t kid yourself. Your turn is coming.

Grief is an unavoidable process, and, as a creative person, there’s nothing that fucks with the mix greater than the all-consuming end of someone you love’s life.

I can’t be there, I can’t talk to my father, I can’t do a goddamned thing to help.

Some dude a 5,000 kilometres away, who gets to stand there with a scalpel in his hand, HE’S the guy that holds my immediate fate in his hands.

I can’t write a timeline for that. I won’t even fucking consider that Alternative today.

I just know it’s there.

The Possibility. Statistical Likelihood.

Like calling it that is so innocuous. Oh, the “chance” of fatality. Like one might buy a ticket in the hopes it’d go a specific way other than the Usual.

Powerlessness. That’s what I get today. I get to wait, wait, wait, wait. I don’t even get to know when particularly my fingers should be crossed. The ward nurses will get 10 minutes notice, then it’s off to Sliceville for Pops.

Risk.

I grew up thinking it was a board game.

Now it’s the line between what might be the result for an “average” person with my father’s surgery, and, well, my father. The triple-threat disease cocktail his unhappy body offers is more full of oddsmaking than a weekend in Vegas, man.

And I’m supposed to wait, productively doing what humans productively do. Conjuring little lists of objectives, crossing off achievements, planning for all my tomorrows.

Well, tomorrow might literally give me a completely different life to live. Today I’m spent praying for anything but that.

Sure, the odds of the unexpected climb for each of us daily, but it’s just not the same as when mortality’s literally on the table and giving the prospective outcome causes all professionals involved to lead with a pregnant pause.

Yes, I’ll wait.

I’ll sit here with toxins bubbling in my stomach as fears I know too well return — fears I’ve dealt with from my mother’s passing and my father’s three close calls.

Sure, I’ll wait.

Crisis of Confidence & Craft

My day daunts me. I must find nuggets of awesomeness that define me as a person and writer, deep within these stacks of posts. I’ve no idea where to begin. Other than the beginning, that is.

In the next 27 hours, I have to somehow distill all that I have to say, the whole of my dream, into one email.

These past weeks have been an endless parade of “terrifying” firsts.

My heartbeat needs a muzzle.

I’ll tell you more about this another day. Let’s just say I’m learning about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. I’m sure a day will soon roll by where I finally feel like the scales of suspense are tipping in my favour, but this is not that day.

[deep breath]

[sigh]

I swear, though, the biggest lesson I’ll probably ever learn in this life, is that of reconciling how others see me with how I see myself, and striking a balance in there. I’m manic when it comes to my self-image. I’m either all self-love or all insecurity, and seldom in between. Logically, I know the insecurity is stupid, so I can talk it down, and I also know the self-love’s maybe a little over the top or biased.

I wish that was an easier lesson to learn. I wish it was easier to process in writing, too.

I can’t flick off the self-judgey side when I’m reading my old work. I can’t see past some of the stilting dishonesty I’m passing off as restraint. I wish I could undo my hesitations and get fully past the apprehension.

That’s where great writing lies. Ripping off the scabs.

I’ve come close on very rare occasions. Once in a blue moon I can extract all the marrow and get to the centre of anything I’m writing, but it’s so rare that it’s almost a religious experience. I remember those moments with the same intensity as I do a fantastic night of sex. I can’t explain that feeling, but, oh, is it rare.

I blame blogging for that, in some regards.

The nature of writing for such a short-yet-long shelflife is an odd thing. To truly edit well and nail a piece that’s, oh, 2,000 words, a few weeks should pass by. Ideas should be expounded upon or hacked as necessary, emotions redefined, words sharpened, ideas stretched or molded.

Writing’s like wine in that its aging process exposes its weaknesses and challenges its structure. When it’s young, everything gets a pass — it’s quick, in-the-moment, and it’s “great for what it is.”

But…

It’s writing.

It’s not just a second that flashes by. Well, it is… until it isn’t. One day you remember you have archives, you toggle through them. You stop on an insolently average posting and a sigh rises up as your belly turns and you’re forced to acknowledge you phoned it in.

You phoned it in because of some perceived deadline or stress, because some audience you might never know, never make money off of, and never impact.

A little restraint, a little time, a little longer pulling at those threads, and you mighta tamed lightning. But, no. So often have I seen something with promise spat out in mediocrity all because of rushing.

In the fast-moving world of overscheduled lives, pressing demands, and the promise of temporary, we bloggers cut corners and offer up lesser work than we’re capable of.

Or I know I do.

My average posting is written, edited, and up within the hour. Even when it’s pushing 2,000 words.

Excellence? Quality? Pfft, not even. I’m better than the work I churn out here, but there’s a limit to what I think you & this deserve. Deep down inside, a part of me thinks wonders why should I put my “A” game out just for some thieving hack to steal and publish elsewhere on the web.

But that doesn’t mean I need to bring my “C” game.

I’ve reached a turning point in the last two to three weeks, but it’s been a long time coming.

I want the blog to be more content-focused. I don’t want to post because I think you need another meal. I don’t want to care about your needs at all.

I was once told that Robertson Davies, the legendary dead Canadian author, said a writer ought not write until the thought of not writing became unbearable. I’ve never been able to source the quote, but I don’t really care that I can’t, because I love it.

Every piece-of-shit writing I’ve ever done was forced. Any crap I’ve produced has been because I’ve felt obligated and not honest.

Unfortunately, deadlines loom in the world of writers, so waiting for whimsy and her muse to traipse through that door is unfeasible.

But, in blogging? Really? Come on.

There’s no real reason any blogger should have to post more than 3 times a week. These people pushing for 5 to 7 postings a week, if not more, need to stand back and read the crap they’re writing. Seriously.

They need to look at it on a long-view and see just how poorly it’ll hold up in the passage of time.

Because I did. I do. I know now. I’m sad I phoned it in so much in 2007 and 2008.

I did what I had to do, but to whom did I feel so obligated? To you? What have you ever done for me? Really? Most of you sit there silently, paging down, reading.

And that’s okay. I’m happy you do. I’m glad you find worth in this. I want you to! You’d rather I write well than often, wouldn’t you?

But I’m not really obligated to you, am I?

Aren’t I obligated to the craft that has made my life what it is, that makes me who I am, and gives me these eyes I see my world through? Doesn’t it deserve better than the cheap and fanciful flings I have with it? Doesn’t it demand that I really rip into the truth and heart of anything I write on?

Norman Mailer tells how Jean Malaquais once explained the reasoning behind his life of writing: “The only time I know the truth is when it reveals itself at the end of my pen.”

Writing’s kind of this dream I have of life — it’s this place I go where things start to make sense, where the world has meaning.

“In the end, writing is like a prison, an island from which you will never be released but which is a kind of paradise: the solitude, the thoughts, the incredible joy of putting into words the essence of what you, for the moment, understand and with your whole heart want to believe.”

James Salter

Do most blogs feel that way for you? Do they feel like a paradise prison the writer at once loathes and loves their confinement within? Is it a place where journeys are taken and experiences shared? Is where you go to feel like an illicit voyeur with an eye on their innermost thoughts?

I wish mine were. I want it to be.

So I will write less. I don’t sit on posts, so I doubt you’ll see me writing and giving it three weeks’ barrel-aging before I share, but I will be more judicious about when I hit “publish.” I’ll be more considered in choosing themes to address.

I would like to see blogging evolve and become more literary. I think publishing, words, media, everything is changing so quickly that the only safeguard we have left is the desire for excellence.

For now, simply being better and judicious is a fine start.

Letting Life Drive

Some of the best experiences in my life have come as a result of deciding life might be better at the wheel than I am, and making the choice to let it lead my way a little.

I’m doing that now, kind of have been since day one of my unemployment, and the ride’s getting increasingly fun.

There’s something about not getting locked into your expectations.

I can be really guilty of that sometimes, but I’m also hip to the roll-with-it ways, too.

It’s funny, I’m sitting here smiling and thinking of an old friend who used to try and autopsy my writing.

“Well… you’re having trouble with the conflict again. Maybe you’ve just had too much conflict in your life and you can’t willingly create it anymore,” she wondered.

That always struck me as a kind of omniscient saying. Maybe I was constitutionally opposed to conflict now. Maybe my inner-United Nations issued sanctions against literary conflict. Maybe I was all Gandhi up in the head now.

A year or so after that, I stopped trying to write about conflict. I gave up the quest to write fiction, and instead wrote about what was, the status quo. I took a non-fiction turn and cracked the inner-thought nut.

Writing and creativity came back to me. Sure, I don’t write fiction these days, but I suspect I could if I really wanted to go there. Right now, I’m happy where I’m creatively at.

I’m also enjoying riding the wave of life to see where it takes me. I think it’s throwing the odd obstacle before me, but they’re the kinds of challenges that make you think about what your values really are, and what matters to you at this given moment in time. For me, it’s involved making choices about what’s more important to me right now — and they’re sort of along some of the life-lesson paths I know I’ve been trying to learn about.

Have the skies parted and presented me with my dream life because I stood back and said “You drive” this week? Well, no, not yet. Am I suddenly wealthier? Nope. Did I get laid? Not even close.

But every morning I get up and, in some small but real way, my life’s taken one more little step toward something that feels right and good and full of promise.

Every morning lately.

All I do is, I get up with a list of a few things to do to try and get closer to where I want to be. The rest of it, I leave to chance. Then I see where my day takes me.

I think my days need to get into the tourguide business, ’cause I love where they take me. Seriously.

Now What? Waiting.

See my last posting. I know nothing. Knowing nothing will be the status quo for a couple more days possibly.

I have nothing more to really say about it. I know nothing. Que sera sera.

I had an ultrasound. Anything there? I don’t know. When my technician found the ovaries, her demeanour changed. The conversation about my mother’s disease/death unravelled me a little at the start. Continue reading

My Very Emotional Day

I should be bouncing madly, ready for the Von Bondies to take the stage shortly, but I bailed on my best friend for an evening at home, after a very emotional day.

Please comment, but don’t do the well-meaning “Oh, Steff, you poor thing” stuff, ‘cos that usually gets me worked up and thinking I should be feeling sorry for myself rather than succeeding being strong.

_________________

So, I know it’s a full moon night. I know I’m overtired anyhow. I know my week was daunting the fuck out of me to begin with. I know these things. I’m sure this is nothing. I know THAT, too.

Nonetheless, my mind went spinning a million directions. Tears were had. More than once. And in my open-space office, even. Continue reading

When Waiting Can Be Worth It

The trouble with being a fast-food nation is that it’s become the norm to want what you want the way you want it, when you want it.

We’re led to believe that every single day is so important — which is why we need the iPhone, the laptop, the netbook, the fast car, the microwave — that to waste a single moment or wait a single day is tantamount to a national disaster.

And it’s easy to fall into the expectation that because there’s never going to be another today that tomorrow just won’t do, especially when it comes to relationships.

We often don’t have a lot of patience anymore, particularly in love. Me, I’ve never really had it. Continue reading