Guest Post – Elizabeth Howard

Trying to Put Down the Writing Tools

Why, oh, why God, do I do this to myself?

Let me preface this by saying: I am a writer. Which figures into the upcoming conversation.

Do you know what I all need less of?

Time with myself.

I’ve been blogging for years and I get so BORED talking and thinking about myself. It’s boring.

I read Stereo*’s post "Back to Basics" and a deep sense of longing went through me.

Lately, everytime I sit down to TRY and write something on my blog, I just think UGH: Why oh WHY God?? Do I have to?

It’s rolled downhill as well. I’ve recently been taking intermittent breaks from Facebook as well. I can’t seem to think of a single thing to write about myself on my status update other than: Trying to think of a status update…

I’ve become a Facebook troller, just scrolling and reading and "liking" shit, like a complete asshole.I hate myself. WHY oh WHY God can’t I think of a decent Facebook status????

My life has changed somewhat since last summer, when I finally bit the bullet and decided to quit teaching writing and be a stay-at-home-mom to my four kids until they are all finally fully in school. (Sheesh, who wrote THAT crappy run-on sentence?) And that leads me to another question I ask myself quite often:

Why oh why God did I do that??

I mean, all work can be drudgery at times. That’s the nature of doing something repetitive.  But making lunches and doing dishes and being alone with small kids — for me? — well that’s got to the be the heighth of brain-numbing boredom.

It’s also exceptionally important and necessary as well. It’s a job that shapes human beings, for chrissake! I should bow down in awe of my role everyday (hah!). It’s hard to do well, and I wonder all the time if I could be doing better.

And fuck yes, it’s lonely.

Part of the reason I logged off Facebook for awhile was because I felt lonely even when I was with the kids and I would catch myself hopping on Facebook even while in their company. Idiotic. Besides. It didn’t help. I think it made me even more lonely, pining for friends I didn’t have nearby.

And the kids felt me being distant too.

I didn’t want my kids to always see me staring at my phone.

Seriously. Have you ever WATCHED people staring at their phones? They look like scary zombies from a sci-fi movie.

And you know, my littlest one, she was always, always carrying around her play cell phone. Hmmmm. Why was that, do you think?

So here are these kids, and I have my blog I don’t want and I haven’t worked on a novel in years, and I’m starting to get freaked by my blog.

So my existential crisis was that I am a writer who suddenly just wants to put down her tools.

Why oh why God?

Here’s what must have happened though: I guess I had stopped writing for awhile since the kids came to live with us 3 years ago (they are foster kids we are trying to adopt). I put aside work on my novel and my journalism career as well.  I was teaching, anyway, which had already started to draw my attention away from my own writing and focus toward others.

Now I turned my focus on these people who needed me, just so I could get their heads and hearts straight. And I had to get mine on straight too. Also, there was a LOT of clothes to sort through and food to cook and clean up every friggin day

During that time, my blog was a safe place for me to just keep my writing machine oiled I guess. It was a facade for a long time, an honest one, though not a true one. I couldn’t be true, because I didn’t REALLY know what the hell was going on!

I had to deflect for a long time because my mom hands are very busy.

Now they have settled into routines and relaxed into life, that place feels odd. I wonder: Why do want to put down these writing tools? 

I question.

Why do I wake up at 4:15 am. in a panic, to write?

Why am I not ready to just thrust myself back at that work?

Why DID I even volunteer to write this guest post?

(I guess the writing tools are not interested in being put down.)

Lately, I’ve been deflecting again, in a good way, with poetry. It’s an old habit I’ve rekindled with success! Shorter writing for shorter spans of time.

I suppose that what’s called evolution?