19 December 2007

The Resources Available

When I worked for the non-profit, for a good long while I was the only employee. This meant several things; one, no one was looking over my shoulder most of the time. Two, there was only so much I could do; I used to say all the time, "I do the best that I can with the resources I have available." 'Resources' usually meaning me, myself and I.

NPR is doing an occasional series about the songwriting process. As a music enthusiast, this interests me a whole lot. On the way home the other day, I listened to this piece, about pop group Georgie James and their dynamic. The reporter, Bob Boilen, used my resources available phrase when he was talking about what he thinks the true test of an artist/creative person is; the ability to use whatever they've got to accomplish the goal at hand.

My new job requires me to be constantly creative; there are, of course, some days when this is effortless, and others when it is quite the struggle. I have been feeling like the job is sucking up all the creativity I've got, leaving none at all for me. And that bums me out, because I haven't worked for more than a minute on my novel since September.

My friend who owns a beauty salon tells me all the time, "You're crafty," because I'm always bringing her things I've made. Cookies, or something else I've baked, endlessly. This time of year, it is bath salts and the coolest thing that I make all year long, solid lotion bars. (I wish I could claim that one as my own idea, but unfortunately, all I do is mess with the kit that they send me, adding a few things.) I always correct her, though and tell her with barely suppressed laughter, "I'm creative, not crafty. Martha Stewart and the people on HGTV are crafty. I'm cooler than that."

A while ago, I wondered on these pages if feeling better, with my depression symptoms easing, was making it more difficult to write. Something that I fear, quite honestly. I now think my fears were well-founded, and that in order to write fiction, and write it well, I need to be in a pretty dark place psychologically. Many of the things that I've discovered on this journey which initially made me uncomfortable are now all right with me. Not being able to write; that isn't OK with me.

It is a big push/pull, though. I am not willing to stop taking the meds in order to boost my creativity. I am not willing to not stop writing. There's a bit of an impasse there. One that I don't know how to fix. Besides not feeling like I'm able to further express what I want to say about my story, I also have absolutely no time for it at all. Last night, I posted my usual Tuesday post at just a few minutes before the calendar flipped over to the next day, because I didn't have time to finish the post during the day. I was working until nearly 10.30.

I don't mind being employed again, that's not it at all. I'm incredibly grateful to be working at all. I know that the fact that I am working has a lot to do with the improvement in my outlook. Not as much as an impact as the meds have, but I felt worse than worthless while I was unemployed. Not unloved, but unlovable. Not that circumstances forced being jobless upon me, but that I was apparently completely undesirable as an employee. Good times, good times.

Me-time is an essential part of who I am. There's a world of difference between alone and lonely. I treasure time to myself; that solitary-ness, the need for solitude, is one of my defining characteristics. Not having time to myself will eventually make me a bit stir-crazy, a little twitchy. More than a bit grumpy, too. It isn't the same sort of c-r-a-z-y as the depression, this is more just being temperamental.

So I feel like my resources are limited. It is partly the season; after work today I'd like to spend some time chatting with a few online friends and writing, but my house is an utter, complete, horrible disaster area, and it needs cleaned desperately. Three loads of laundry await folding, another two need run through the washer and dryer. One of my OCD things is that I have to take the dry cleaning off of wire hangers that the dry cleaner uses and switch the clothes to my nice hangers, and hang them in my closet in very specific order. That needs done, I brought home $150 worth of dry cleaning yesterday. As if all that wasn't enough, because of the holiday season, there are gifts to be wrapped, and still one or two to be purchased. Urgh. Have I mentioned that I'm training for a race that is in 12 days and I have yet to be able to run the entire 5K on the treadmill? Too much to do, too little time.

How to fill the well when it is in danger of running dry?

No comments: