Not quite the end of 2010, and I’m empty. I’ve been empty for weeks, so I didn’t even make it close to the end of the year. Not emotionally empty, or physically empty, so that’s all good. I’m not exactly a train wreck waiting to happen.
“Not exactly?” What does that even mean?
Each year I’m given a certain amount of material to work with. It’s parceled out carefully to me throughout the year, but some months I use less, and some months I use more. But it’s still supposed to get me through the entire year. It’s still supposed to be enough. And this year, it didn’t quite make it. Two more days left and I’m panicking because there’s nothing there.
Okay, this is me panicking. You can’t really tell, but I am. Really. I only sound calm.
Stop me if I get hysterical. Throw water on me or something. “I’m wet and I’m hysterical!” Not sure what good it would do, but there ya go.
I’m not panicking because I’m empty at the moment, I’m panicking because what if it doesn’t come back? What if I stay this way? What if I can’t get interested enough in anything to rail against? What if my vitriol dries up and won’t come out no matter how much it’s prodded? What if this is IT?
I say that every time this happens, but it comes back. It does. So far. But hey, maybe along with menopause I lose the momentum to write?
You think menopause is funny?
There are things that are waiting to be said. I know, everyone has something to say. I don’t care. I’m really only concerned with me. I’m very self-centered that way.
Perhaps part of the problem is that there’s so little that makes me angry. I notice that quite a lot of material comes from people who are angry. Perhaps I should cultivate anger? Grow it carefully so that I’m compelled to spit out what it is that makes me so mad I could spit?
Why would spitting help anything anyway?
You know what makes me angry? Perpetually angry people. On the other hand, I don’t really want them ganging up on me. Who needs that kind of thing going on? They’d say I’m too “nice,” as if it’s a character flaw.
Look, I’ve got plenty of character flaws. There’s no need to introduce more to the equation.
I could rail against the opposition political party, but that would entail calling some people I’m actually quite fond of an assortment of insulting names. That’s just rude.
I could, if I were so inclined, which I’m not, tell the story of my Worst Christmas Ever, but frankly, most people could come up with a better story. I could tell you how about the annoying people who don’t like to do things the way I think they should, but I don’t really care how they like to do things, as long as it doesn’t interfere with what I’m doing. I could rail against religion, or the lack thereof, or I could complain about how no one’s paying me enough attention. I could even, if I were so inclined, tell a charming story about how I’m above all that.
I’m not , of course, but still, it would make for a great story. Don’t you agree?
I may have to turn to fiction. In fiction I can make up any sort of story I like and the fact of it will be what I decide. I like that concept. I like creating something out of nothing. I can’t do that with my paying work, which consists of taking actual numbers and doing things with them. They are what they are, and my work with them turns them into something meaningful. I can’t create something out of nothing there, or the numbers would be wrong, and the IRS hates that. Not only that, but it’s not particularly useful to my clients. I can make numbers do tricks, but they have to be substantiated and honest numbers, and there’s no embellishing to make them more interesting. They just are what they are.
I have plots in my head. Characters. Events. Thoughts. They keep me awake at night. They threaten to spill out and make my life messy, not all orderly and quiet like it is. I’m not afraid of them. I am afraid they won’t come out like they’re supposed to, that they’ll turn up ill-formed and transparent, and not what I see them as. Much of how I see them is how I feel about them, it’s not tangible, so it’s not easy to produce them.
As I’m writing this I can see, below this window, my gmail window, and my old mail is still there. All my new mail goes to Outlook, so one of the old mails that’s sitting there is an exchange between me and my Mom from April of 2009 when we were talking about her stent. She’s been gone for just over a year now, but the emails will stay right where they are. My mom liked my writing. She always did, from the time I first started putting words on paper and writing my own newspaper. Everyone else thought I was crazy, and they may have been right. But so was Mom.
Which means I’ll have to keep going, even if I’m empty.