I'm back to working on my Mac. I'd been flirting with buying a new power cord for a bit, but kept jiggling it and it kept working. Last week I woke up and there were exposed wires, so I rethought that. As soon as I'm done dinkin' around here, I'll be working on transposing the writing that I've done recently in word back to Scrivener. And then it's smooth sailing into the last chapter (possibly two) of my third trip through the book.
It's been a bit since I've stepped back and looked at my life to weigh my sense of balance. Here we go. Let me hide this under a cut. There is a bit about writing under here, but you know, other stuff as well. I didn't mean to spend this morning in my head, but there you go.
1. Whatever comes, it's us, side by side, against the world. There's nothing that me and the spouse can't do together. We talk a lot. We divide and conquer. Whatever comes with our jobs, our retirement, my publishing, our friends, this is the fundamental basis for our lives: being true to ourselves and to each other. We are individuals, but we do our best to negotiate and compromise to a unified front. We remain flexible and creative. We know what we want, but we can step sideways if that needs to change. I am very proud of our marriage and lucky that I'm with this guy.
2. Relationships. As I get older, I realize that there are two fundamental things in all relationships: 1. You have to accept and respect individual difference. 2. You have to realize that friendships have finite boundaries. You also have to realize that the needs of friends change, and friendships may come and go. That ambiguity is okay. This may make me seem like a more fickle friend than I used to profess to be. Actually, what this means is that I'm okay with me more than I used to be, and I'm also more respectful of friend's boundaries than I used to be. One things for certain--it isn't easier to stay in a relationship where both parties aren't satisfied. It's okay not to hammer all that out ad nauseum. It's okay if we disagree, but it's not okay if you aren't comfy when I'm around. So I guess my current idea is that I enjoy the friendships I have while I have them, I look forward to the ones I will have, and I appreciate the good times I have had before. Really living in the now with this one.
3. Life/Work Balance. My friend Don suggests that everyone has the same amount of time each day. What we choose to do with that time is up to us. I think that we Americans are much too obsessed with having something to show for our time. I work a demanding job as a professor and administrator, I write books, I help run organizations, and I want to have a social life. These things vie for the time I have, and my priorities make me decide how to use that time. Like the friendship thing, it's pretty simple: if I'm not happy, or not interested, I'll put it down. But I'm not a machine. I can't get rid of my job, but I can be realistic about what I can finish. Some weeks I'm not going to get a load of writing done, but when I'm on for writing I'm on for writing. I want to be with my friends when I'm with my friends. Mostly, I'm sick of those times when I feel inadequate because even though I've gotten more done than most people in a day, I haven't gotten enough done because there's too much I want to do.
4. Do you want to read about it, or do you want to live it? One of the things that Donald Maass said in one of his writing books is that writers are the kind of people who have interesting lives enriched by writing fiction, and they have interesting things to write about because they have interesting lives. It is true that to be a writer, one must write, but it is also true that if the only rush in your life you're getting is from your writing, you might be one-dimensional. The business of living--friendships, love, accomplishment, adventure, creativity, connection, contribution--I can't do in a room cranking out fiction alone. For me, writing is part of a the package, not mission one. Maybe that means that I won't have what it takes to write professionally. But I'm okay with that. I'm not a machine.
5. Take care of the temple so the god inside can be happy. I am learning the hard way that I should have taken care of my body better. I am taking care of my body better now. Living only in our heads can be a real problem too. 'Cause we think we're so damn smart...
6. I write for me. I send it out anyway. I actively pursue my art AND craft. Maybe if we're both lucky, you will get to see some of it. If not, it really doesn't matter. I don't understand people for whom this is a game of recognition. It's not the way I'm wired. Fame is ephemeral at best, distracting at worst. But a job well done resonates with you.
7. Nothing is everything. And everything is nothing. There's your koan for the day.
I guess I'm okay with my life. There's always room for improvement and endeavor that I want, but not so much room for doing those things others expect of me that I don't want to do. I don't always want to be happy, but I want to be satisfied. I want to be interesting. And I really want to be interested in living this life. I probably do only get this one shot to make it as good as I can.
Oh look! It's time to go to work. Since Bryon has conferences tonight, I'll buckle down for some writing time. I hope you all are having satisfying days.