I had a day today o f near complete freedom--son at "LEGO Camp" all day, daughter at a friend's house all day, no job-related work to do--and of course much of the day was given over to a growing feeling of paralysis. Oh, I mowed some of the lawn, I bought chicken feed. But there is so much else I could have done with that luxurious time. The writing, the accordion (the picking up the cleaning the calling of gutter contractors). And this evening as I listen to D. Shields on some podcast or other I think back to grad school and the increasing distaste for the contrivances of fiction, and of course a fair amount of what he says resonates (though his assumption that art should reflect the current condition is itself kinda quaint, if you ask me). And I think: maybe what he advocates could be the un-paralysis-ing agent that I need. But I fear there is so much more to it for me than the chucking of contrivances. I want to be liberated, but not merely from the bonds of 18th-century fictional structures, but from whatever it is that keeps me from playing the accordion as much as picking up a pen. I'm nearly 50; this is such a tired old tale. (it's the condescending editorial voice that gets the last word).
...who or what will do the liberating, I wonder? You sound like me. Waiting for something to come along and blow everything apart. I am not coming to terms well with my passivity, my true and daily desire for a miracle.
I can't remember the name of that type of depression in which one cannot fully engage in the ordinary; there is the perpetual need to hold back. Anyway.
Me. But we were talking about you.
The way you talk to yourself by writing to other people is...very good. Write one of these ruminative mini essays each day for one year. Your photo of the day? Ach. But there's your book.
Good idea, the daily talk with self/other. I don't think I'm waiting (anymore) to be liberated deux ex machina style. But I spend most of my time avoiding the sense that I am in bonds at all--by working, mowing, Facebooking, parenting. When confronted with "free time" and I remember that I wanted to spend some of the summer writing and playing the accordion, then I start getting that bound-up feeling and I start thinking there must be a way out of this, of liberation, but it's a mechanism I can't seem to unlock, except by avoiding it altogether. I guess that's not unlocking. But I--at least sometimes--try to engage it, to understand or even just plow through it. I mean, I certainly have my passivities, but as far as I can tell there is no real difference between internal and external liberation in this instance. I grapple with it, when I can, but ultimately I grapple in pain and self-recrimination.