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Monday, January 02, 2012

Crazy Januaries

We're only two days in to 2012, three if you are counting the 41 minutes that have just passed. I sortof skipped out on any New Year's festivities in favor of digging in to the work, which seems to create more of itself the more I tackle it, or maybe my faulty memory and reminder systems just clue me in to what's there. All I know is there is So Much and I hesitate to say it's anything other than a blessing; it is, totally. To think otherwise would be to fall into the same traps I did in 2010 and 2011, to believe I'm not worth anything worth having, and I've got the non-essays and non-books to show for it.

I want this year to be different. I want to enter it believing I can sustain myself, financially and emotionally and spiritually. I don't just want to end the year being proud, but each day. I don't want to have the regrets I started out last year with. Last year kicked off with Crazy January, which set the tone for the rest of the year. I spent so much of 2011 trying to remake and rearrange and recast that month of madness. I wanted to undo it, erase it, but I couldn't. Maybe that's the lesson I needed to learn but that took me many months more than it should have. You can't undo. Or unhear. Or unsee. Or unfeel. Or maybe you can, which presents a whole other question of whether we should want to.

That trip seems like so long ago, from another lifetime, when I was so worried about time. I wound up in an extraordinary (to me) sunny dispensary-filled Los Angeles with a babbling baby and new friends and all I could think about was the days I was "missing" at work, thanks to the snow. That's such a warped way of looking at time, but a necessary one when your time is allotted to someone else. Now that my time is allotted just to me, the days are different. They start out full of promise and I forget that hours have passed with my empty cup of coffee and a rotating case of neighbors. I realize I've been so deep in cupcakeland I've opened up dozens of tabs and ignored the stories waiting so patiently for my attention. Word doesn't jump up and down or otherwise call out to me like some of my other apps. It knows I know it's there. I'm not sure if I wish it were more blingy, flashing lights and reminders, luring me in.

So now it's 51 minutes into the third day of the year and those same documents are waiting for me, a little less patiently. One is about shame, where there's so much to say yet it's all equally scary, which is my half-assed mock excuse trying to pretty up my procrastination. Does it count as good writing if you write something that might sacrifice future writing jobs because of what you reveal? Others are stories that are so close to their ends, so close but not quite there. I'm afraid of those too. What if I look at them and have no entry point to wherever I was when I started? I know I have to go back, to dive in and even if it means tricking myself into a few words that sound awful and horrid and disjointed, to write them anyway. I know, yet I so rarely, even now when everything is depending on it, do I. That's my "job," I suppose, in 2012, to get there, to get back to the place where the words are what matters, not the outcome.

Maybe this January is just as crazy as the last one, but it's a more self-controlled craziness, one that starts and ends with me, here. It's not being told Oprah is evil or being promised a ride and instead offered kisses or standing in a hallway with bare legs and a pounding heart. It's a lot closer to home, literally and figuratively. It's sitting under a blanket and listening to cars going by. It's knowing what the human cost of failure is, the way it haunts your dreams, the way it is like a phantom limb, the almost-book, the chopped-off-essay. It's realizing there's a strong possibility that this daily practice, this digging down, this reckoning of 2012 rather than running away of 2011 is maybe, just maybe, not crazy at all, but the real path to those endings, happy or not.

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