I’ve decided writing morning papers is making me depressed. I wonder if that happens to other people undertaking this endeavor. I now remember why I don’t journal. I’m a whiny crank. I’ve been pouring out my 4am worries and they sound like a broken record. You need to… findajob refithehouse betougheronthekids notspendsomuchmoney findaboyfriend notfindaboyfriend call<fillinneglectedfriend’snamehere> notstressabouttheterriblefeedbackIgotaboutteachingmywritingclass stopbeinglazy… For. Three. Pages. Dear god. When I’m finished I feel terrible. One morning I tried turning it around and writing about the things I was grateful for and somehow ended in a tirade about the flakiness of men. Is this what I’m really thinking?
Meanwhile, last Friday I went to a yoga class, met with my new/old Artist’s Way friends followed by our writing meet up. I felt a little better that the other people in the group were having trouble getting up early enough to write the morning papers. Some needed coffee first and wrote them during breakfast. That seemed more do-able, though then I would have to give up my morning addiction of reading the newspaper (yeah, I’m one of the few hold-outs who still have black wrists every morning). But nobody mentioned feeling depressed. One person was exuberant about all the things they were discovering about themselves and laughingly called it psycho-terapy. For me, its just psycho-inducing.
OK, so in the group we worked on some of the Tasks. Come up with 5 people in your past who have blocked your creativity and 5 who have nurtured it. Write a story about it being blocked and write a letter to someone who championed you. I nearly cried writing my letter to my fifth grade teacher, Miss Barton. How she made me feel smart, the fun I had when my friend Donna and I were invited over to her house for a slumber party. Did I question that one of the other female teachers was there too? Only years later did I realize that they were a couple. I wanted to send Miss Barton my letter. I wondered if she was even still alive. She must be in her 70s by now. I FaceBooked my old school and someone wrote on the wall, remembering all those female teachers and the whole lesbian vibe that was happening at that school at the time. I never knew, or cared. The sentiments were all sweet, because we adored them.
So the tasks went better. I felt a little bit gratified, having my little trip down memory lane. I then remembered my third grade teacher who championed me as a poet when I was eight. She saw me as a writer thirty years before I did.
It reminds me of those times, as a teenager, when my mom used to ask me what book I was reading because she could always tell by my mood if I was reading a depressing one. I took it on. All of the emotion, or the fear, or the anger in that book transferred directly into my brain. I learned to be careful about the books I read.
Now I’m wondering if I should shelve the morning papers like I did those depressing books? Or maybe instead of making them journal-like I should write stories or letters.
The other thing I did on Friday was sit with my friend Deirdre, a formidable story doctor and we went over my story and figured out an ending. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now and hope to get a first draft done in the next couple of months.
So maybe the creative juices are flowing again. I just wish I knew how to deal with the unexpected side-effects of my Artist’s Way. Is anyone else experiencing side-effects?