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The Friday Confessional via The Literate Kitten

May 24, 2008

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

I read this when I was very, very young. Not that I was reading Shakespeare at that time (and I avoid him to this day, whenever possible… sorry). It came up in the context of poetry somewhere, but I can’t remember where. It imprinted, as animals do on the first ‘mother’ they come across, on my brain. These words of admonishment pop up from their little hiding place when least expected. When they appear, I know it is time for change. In 2007, I promised myself major metamorphosis before 2009 ended. I figured that gave me enough time to figure out what I wanted to do next, and the space to figure out a way to go about doing it. I am half-way through that timeline, and busily working towards the successful end. I think Brutus was talking about one tide, one time, one chance. My life has had many changes of tide, and I am grateful that I have always had the courage to take off on them. Of course ‘taking’ a change in course is not exactly an apt description. For desired change to occur, one normally has to work for it. At least, that has been my experience.

Yet for all of the joy, all of the experiences, all of the challenges, all of the people in my life, I feel there hasn’t been enough, and I am starting to worry about running out of time. It is a frightening feeling – I panic. I have to quickly slam that door shut, and open another.

Figuring out what I wanted to do next, on this new path I have laid for myself, was easy. I want to write, and I want to get paid to write, and I want to be able to write from anywhere I want, at whatever time I want. Okay, so much for that. Plan number two. I have been applying for various positions over the past year, testing the water, practicing, pondering. This week was crunch week for two different posts I felt I could do justice, and that I had a chance of at least interviewing for. But applications!!! What a pain. I like writing. I love writing. I can sit and write for hours and hours and hours. But this was not fun. Many, many questions requiring one page answers each. Blech!

The most difficult application is in. I am almost finished with the second. Then there were the letters of recommendation. More blech. Calling people, asking them the favor, picking up the letter. Time consuming is a major understatement. Now it is Friday, and I am looking at a four-day weekend during which I am going to indulge myself and pretend I write for a living, instead of filling out job applications.

And thus, here I am at the Friday Confessional, instituted by The Literate Kitten. Half of my writing confession is above. The rest follows. On a little trip to Savannah, Georgia in March, I began a new novel. I am now on page 166 – I wrote only two pages during the week this week, but most of my writing is done on the weekend, anyway. I find it difficult to write in the evening; there are too many distractions and just too many other tasks calling me (dog, laundry, refrigerator!). While the writing waits until the weekend, it is hard to keep an inspired thread going with that five day break in between. Now Friday is half over, and I am spending my free time writing this; the novel will have to wait for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I hope by next Friday I can report another ten pages completed. Here ends the confession for the week.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. paisleyandplaid permalink
    May 24, 2008 2:22 am

    I enjoyed your ruminations — so personal. Most of us who love writing could plagiarize this post. It’s what we all want.

  2. May 24, 2008 4:27 pm

    Be proud that you want change. Embrace that . . . embrace all the nonwriting writing that you have done this week – the time spent thinking about your book while you fold your laundry, the moments when you consider the next plot turn before you drift off to sleep – I believe that you intend to stay with something, it stays with you, even when you’re not working on it. So good for you for getting done two pages – here’s a to a day today full of writing.

  3. toujoursjacques permalink
    May 24, 2008 6:47 pm

    What a beautiful post. I loved the personal tone and the details of your writing aspirations and your desire for change. And I send you loads of support and good wishes. I too sometimes worry about ‘running out of time’. I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. It keeps me focused on what’s important and helps me resist sweating the small stuff. Good luck with your applications (ugh! — what an unpleasant but necessary task!) TJ

  4. May 24, 2008 7:09 pm

    You are absolutely right, Andi. One of my favorite times of day is turning out the light, and just letting go of my mind. After clenching that muscle all day long, it is such a relief to let it relax. I do think about “what is going to happen next” at that time. And here I am, 9:08 Saturday morning, and I have two more pages under my belt! Thanks for your support and good wishes.

  5. May 24, 2008 7:19 pm

    Thank you for understanding and being supportive, TJ. I am pretty careful about maintaining my privacy, especially here, posting to the world. You inspired me, however, with your revelation, and I realize there is some selfishness in not sharing a little more of oneself.

    I cannot wrap my mind around not worrying about running out of time, however. It would be good if I could, of course. I will continue to work on it.

    Gardening this weekend? Cooking outside? I hope you enjoy the lovely weather.

  6. toujoursjacques permalink
    May 24, 2008 8:56 pm

    Oh indeed…gardening this weekend; and perhaps some grilled halibut with my violet butter melted on top. I also have a few lettuces and arugula up and about and ready to be thinned and tossed into salad. Once again, thanks for such a lovely post. I like your point about keeping to oneself being a bit on the selfish side. Have a great weekend!

  7. May 25, 2008 6:41 am

    Thanks for dropping in PaisleyandPlaid. I guess we are all dreamers.

  8. May 25, 2008 10:44 pm

    dearest qugrainne,

    i am much impressed with the discipline you have exhibited in achieving your ‘new dream.’ i, on the other hand, tend to drop the bomb first, then scramble around screaming: “Oh damn, what did i just do???” not to mention attempting to duck the fall-out, establish new routes of communication, and the re-building phase which is enough to wear any person out!

    yes, if only i had made a plan …. well. there it goes. we all struggle through eventually, do we not? i feel your pain with the application process. I cannot tell you how many times i had to write the essay: “Why I Want to Be a Teacher” …..of course you would think i could just recycle the same piece; however, each essay always asked one or two different questions…. it became a work of cutting and pasting pieces together!! Now I must prepare myself for ‘reciting’ my essay in a conversational and believable way …. it’s not that I don’t “believe” what i have written…

    it is just that the ‘full story’ of my current life path is much more complex and personal than i would share with any potential employer!

    i enjoyed your confessional, dearest. it made me smile.

    lady blue

  9. May 26, 2008 1:15 am

    cutting and pasting and preparing the recitation…. you wrote my story. blech!
    But for the weekend, I am free. Walk the dog, sit in the garden, drink coffee. Ahhhhhhh this is the life. Doesn’t pay well, though.

  10. May 26, 2008 6:28 am

    Qugrainne, I’ve found my way here on a meandering blog path which I believe might have originated with Litlove (or perhaps Toujour Jacques?)- but no matter, I’m here, and your words resonate in my heart.

    I find myself with similar feelings of time running out, and have been doing a fair amount of door slamming on that horrible thought. In the past few months, I have come to the realization that writing, which began as an lark, is becoming a necessity, a passion, even an obsession. How does one make the leap from writing for fun to writing for life? I’m pondering this with great intensity. Your words make me think I’m not being a foolish old girl, but perhaps seeing a vision of my future.

    How lovely to meet you 🙂

  11. May 26, 2008 7:45 pm

    Nice to meet you Ravenous Reader, thanks for commenting.
    Never a foolish old girl! My father told me, long ago, “you can do anything you want.” I believe it is pretty much true, if you want something bad enough, and are willing to do what needs doing. I have had many wonderful experiences because I believed in myself, which is the bottom line. So good luck with your obsession. I’m right (write) there with you!!

  12. June 1, 2008 7:28 pm

    I’ve spent my whole life so far worrying about running out of time. I’d love to change that but I fear I might be stuck with it! But if it makes us change, take on many lives, shed skins, try the new, well, it can’t be such a bad thing. Colette has a wonderful quotation I’m about to mangle that’s something like: ‘Re-invent myself, be born again, well, that has never been beyond my capabilities.’ The very, very best of luck to you with your applications and your novel. I have every confidence you’ll end up exactly where you need to be.

  13. June 1, 2008 7:50 pm

    Thanks for the vote of confidence, Litlove. I have made it one step up the ladder on one application – interview in a week. Fingers and toes crossed!
    You are absolutely right – if that pressure wasn’t there, I probably wouldn’t work quite as hard at shedding skin on a regular basis. I do like the Colette (near) quotation, and will have to look it up.
    I am enjoying your blog very much, and visit regularly. Thanks for stopping in here.

  14. June 3, 2008 4:29 am

    Oh, that quote made me shiver! I feel exactly the same about the sands running through the hourglass.

    So glad you are on board!

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