This poor fellow I have chosen as a symbol for not knowing what one wants, because he's hanging mid-air in a restaurant.
So what did I do during the week? Did I take advantage of all my distraction-free hours to pound away chapters of my novel?
Well...no. I probably wrote less than a paragraph's worth of fiction all week. I read a lot, slept a lot, dreamed a lot, and went on a shitty three-day vacation to Campos do Jordao. It was possibly the most tedious, uncomfortable vacation of my life. I created it out of guilt, because my parents are visiting and I wanted us to at least leave Lagoinha once during their visit, to see something new and get out of the house. But it rained most of the time while we were there, and the house we stayed in was frigid and full of fleas. My younger son had a stomachache and pooped on our bed in the middle of the night. And my parents really wanted to pay their respects to my husband's parents, but they don't speak each others' language and it just created this visit full of small-talk translations falling into awkward silences, and attempts to escape social interaction by pretending to enjoy walking around the mud hills surrounding the house.
I did read some really good books this week. I read all four of Tanya Huff's Quarters Novels, written in the 1990s. They were just...so...good. Incredibly detailed but fast-paced, rich characters, emotional depth, incredible world-building, humor, and satisfying endings. I'm trying to get my hands on more of her books, because I suspect she's going to be one of my favorite authors. I read them because the second of the four books, Fifth Quarter, was recommended to me by Jodi Henley during a Savvy Authors workshop I took in early December; one of the novels I'm working on has a similar coexistence-of-two-consciousnesses-within-one-body thing going on, and she wanted to show me one way it could be done effectively.
It sort of had the opposite effect, where after I read it I felt like whatever I was trying to do would be a poor copy of something a master had already created. And the rest of the books, some scenes of which I loved so much I reread them three times in succession before going on to the next part, made me feel like giving up entirely trying to write. How could I ever match something like that?
No need to answer that; it's a rhetorical question, I know all the arguments, and I'm going to keep writing anyway. My point of cataloguing my woes is this: my past week has been a series of examples proving that in order to have an external change you say you want, you have to want the attendant internal changes that go with it.
- Example: I wanted to give my parents a nice time while visiting. But that would have required an internal change releasing all the guilt and responsibility I feel regarding them which twisted me up inside and made me tense and fatalistic the whole time, which of course isn't conducive to creating a nice vacation for anyone.
- Example: I want to finish my novel(s). I'm coming up against giant walls of low self-esteem and fear of failure that will have to transform before I can do this.
Well, maybe those aren't great examples. Here's a better one: my mentor, or I guess I could call her my spiritual counselor, has been trying to help me repair my marriage. She does a sort of distance healing work which has had extraordinary effects; I always know when she's been working on my husband because he starts being inexplicably nicer to me. And last week, I knew she'd done the same with me, because all the resistance I'd been feeling was just gone, and we were closer for a few days than we had been at any point in the last five years. It made me see just how much my internal perspective controlled how well things worked in my marriage. Irreconcilable differences fade when one removes the blocks in one's heart.
It was wonderful...but it was vulnerable. And during the last week, out of touch with my mentor, I started to see things that bugged me again; I clung to them, and I slipped back into the safety of frigid, uncommunicative apathy. I can see it, but I can't see how to get out; it feels like jumping off a cliff, and I just don't want to.
So, do I want the external change? If I really do, I have to jump off the cliff and be vulnerable, and release the judgment. I know I want to want it, but that's as far as I can go. I don't know if I really want it, and until I do I'll keep hovering in stasis...in all parts of my life.