I used to write. In fact, I wrote here, on this very blog, at least twice a week. I did take a few breaks, over the past four years and almost 600 posts, but this latest hiatus feels different. I feel like writing as a practice is a distant memory, and until today I had barely a thought about what I might or could write. I just sensed that gentle tug in the very recesses of my brain, that I was neglecting something I should be doing. Rather like forgetting to floss.
I started a new job in April, that required a good deal of travel, but I was home each weekend, and I continued both cooking and writing. That was then. Now that the travel is over, my life is all work and no play, cooking, or writing.
All of us do things that create the essence our daily lives. I have friends who can’t go to bed if even one thing is amiss or out of place. Some people must run or read. We do things that fill our lives, not in a busy-ness way, but in a gratifying, spirit sustaining way. For me, that has always included cooking and in the past few years, writing.
One night in June of 2013 I had a dream about writing a blog. It was clear as day, and on the advice of a wise friend, I got started almost immediately. I was unemployed at the time, and for a while, I posted three or more times a week. I wrote and wrote, but it felt uncomfortable to utter the words ‘I’m a writer.’ It was hard to say, out loud, so instead, I’d say ‘I write’. And it was true, I did write, and now I don’t.
I will go back to it, I feel certain, but for now, I wonder where all my ideas have gone. As a writer, I found inspiration in all sorts of places. Yesterday I heard a program on NPR and for the first time in ages wrote down the words that will become as an essay, soon I hope. And I am writing this. When in doubt, write about writing, and maybe cook a little.
I’ve been working six or seven days a week. Sunday was my one day off last week. Am I complaining? Yes, a little. I think this week will be another six-day week, and possibly the next few weeks as well. Sunday as I contemplated returning to the fray Monday I felt the anxiety I’ve felt every day start to grip me again. So far each day for the past three weeks I’ve dealt with an endless set of emergencies challenges from being woefully understaffed to issues I have no ability to ameliorate quickly enough. Existing in crisis mode makes it virtually impossible to write, or even consider writing.
While I worry that this won’t end, I realize it will. I’m aware that with time I can resolve many of the issues devouring my energy and attention, and get back to a state of normalcy and stasis. I’ll return to my project of cooking nutty dishes from the 1970s, and my more circumspect Wednesday pieces. I’ll have the time and energy to call friends, go see a movie and clean my house. Until then, I’ll try to write when I can., because I don’t want to be someone who used to write. I want to go back to being someone who writes, someone you might even call a writer.