writing

Chair day

If I have to start somewhere, and I do, it’s going to be the chair.

I’m starting with the chair because before the chair, there wasn’t nothing, but there was nothing great. There were places to sit, and they worked in the way that a handful of nuts works in the midafternoon, just to keep dinner at bay. There were places that held up my bones and muscles and ligaments, this structure that supports me, but they didn’t give much in return.

I sat because sitting was necessary and I wrote and edited because that was necessary too, with deadlines and publication schedules and everything that just has to get done. Now the time to be bound by time is gone, but something needs to take its place. I turn back to the words because I know them and I want them to be home.

But I’m not just mind and words spewing out through fingers, I’m this bag of bones and ligaments that need to assume a posture, they need to settle – I need to settle – and focus, dig into the visceral feeling, burp it out over this keyboard, stretch, and then go back with the technicians edge and polish it up.

Enter the chair.

The chair is a place to sit, but more than that. It’s a throne, a glorious place to be, a solid foundation that yields just a touch with the gentle kindness of a minor lean. The chair is a commitment to diligence and discipline. It has to be, because I’ve never spent this much on a goddamn piece of furniture in my life, and if it isn’t a commitment then it’s a warning sign of reckless behaviour.

Or is it symbolic, a gesture that I’m taking the work that I do while I’m sitting in it, myself included, seriously? Does it really need to be anything more than a chair, why must I justify the writing by a chair, and then justify the chair by writing? Aside from this – this vaguely chair-focused word-vomit – have I even written, or written anything worth reading? Perhaps this was all just a rotten idea.

Pause.

This is the process, it always is, and it always looks the same, or close enough to the last round that I can discern the pattern. Commitment. Optimism. That first creaking lunge, an adrenaline rush. Settling in. An ache, a distraction, heads buried in hands, doubt. Paranoia, questioning, fear, fuck it just run away. Or not.

The trick is to start, and if I have to start somewhere, why not here? So I tell myself, start with where you are. Start with where you will sit. Start with the chair.

Day 26, or so

Well, it’s the home stretch, the final few days of blogging every day, or almost every day, at least. I may have missed one or two. I’ll have to go back and check.

I realize it’s a bit early to be reflecting, but at this moment, I’m really considering how this challenge has affected my writing and blogging practice.

There’s a lot I want to write about, and it crosses many genres and topic areas, and that’s fine. I think that there’s still room for all of it here. Room for politics, room for fun, room for reminiscing, room for exploring different writing forms.

But another thing I’ve realized is that if this is something I’m going to be doing, I need to make room for it too. This can’t just be an afterthought, as I’m brushing my teeth – oh, that piece that’s been swimming around in my head all day, it needs to be written (at 11 p.m.) And the night owl in me craves the night time for writing, but in the morning, I feel wrecked by the late nights at the computer, day after day after day.

In subtle ways, I’ve let go of other things to make space for this. Like writing for yeah write, which I miss. Like my bedtime routine, which was just getting its momentum back. Like a good chunk of doubt and self-criticism, which can keep running off into the horizon, thank you very little.

Continuing this kind of writing practice, I’m also reconsidering my role in a larger community of readers and writers. I’m considering my responsibility, and the kinds of messages I want to support and amplify. The world moves quickly, and if I’m to dive in to write about it, that needs its own kind of space too. Space to read, reflect, and then react in a measured way.

I often feel both relieved and nostalgic at the end of a project. As this commitment is coming close to wrapping up, I feel those, but I also feel motivated to move forward, excited. After almost a month of “just do it”, I know I mostly can. And now I want to do it better.

Calling in sick…to blog?

My Saturday was a write-off due to a series of unfortunate events that started with a mouldy muffin and ended with [you probably don’t want to hear about it]. I lay in bed until maybe two p.m, and then dragged myself to the living room easy chair for a change of scenery.

Around three a.m. I toppled back upstairs, partially disappointed in my lacklustre and achievement-free day, and partially proud that I had still managed to put some items of food and water-like products into my body. I fulfilled the basic criteria of being alive. That, I thought, would have to be enough.

And then I remembered, at three a.m, that the day was past over and I had missed my daily commitment. I had not blogged, I hadn’t even thought of it. The day was over. I missed it. I hadn’t even called in sick, which I hate doing anyway.

At that point, I was far too exhausted to even care or try to salvage some kind of scrap-sentence to post, just to say “I did it, I didn’t miss a day”.

So I wrote nothing yesterday, and maybe I’ll make it up. Or maybe I won’t. I’m not sure yet, but I’m not going to throw in the towel just because I stumbled a bit halfway through the race, if this could even be called a race.

I don’t think the point is to type out the words NO MATTER WHAT. The point is to type out the words often, habitually, and consistently. To type out the words even when I don’t feel like typing out the words, but to also recognize that some days – the days when I don’t change out of my pjs or brush my teeth or even achieve much beyond the minimum of keeping myself alive, and that is enough – some days are not for typing words.

It sucks when no-words-typing days fall in the middle of a type-words-every-day challenge, but sick days can’t really be scheduled (and if they were, I would have chosen Monday, not Saturday).

Here I am, anyway, calling in sick for yesterday, typing some words for today, and considering some more for tomorrow.