Kage Baker was firm in her belief that, in order to be a writer, one must write. It hardly mattered what, she said, as long as you exercised those authorial muscles every single day.
This is one of those classic philosophies that are easy as pie for the one giving the advice, and mind-killingly difficult for the one getting it. Not everyone can do that, you see. Personally, when I can write, I do most of my composing in the middles of the night, deep in the grip of insomnia. Sadly, when I get up and sit down in front of the keyboard is when inspiration fails.
Amazingly, Kage could sit down and write nearly anywhere. I kept a notebook (green steno; she was particular) in my bag in case she needed to write. Parts of most of her novels were written in parking spots overlooking portions of the California coast, or the Hollywood Hills … When safe in her own house, where she could arrange all sensory input to her wants, she would insist on playing the same album over and over; or demanding total silence from her roommates (pretty futile, actually, when you live with a parrot …) or immersing herself in as much as possible of the foods, colours, scents and domestic rituals of the world she was building. We had very peculiar meals when her OCD sent her deep into some alien cuisine …
Quite frankly, I don’t have much to say tonight, Dear Readers; I’m just determined to post something, and try to resume a schedule. Imagine me chalking a single, beginning mark on the wall of your choice: there’s not much literary content, but the hope and intention is strong. See, I keep falling asleep lately, which is something that happens to me now, post surgery and tracheotomy … I’m stronger between the fits of unconsciousness, so I guess it’s part of a healing process. What alarms me is the question of whether I am now as much better as I am ever going to be. If this is the case, then what I have to do is re-arrange my entire system for working while awake. And maybe just being awake at all.
Last night, I plotted out an excessively complicated fable about plateauing and then back-sliding. I described achieving a lovely sunlit meadow in the mountains, decorated with cafe tables, coloured umbrellas and drinks with fruit in – until, wandering about with a oversized margarita, in my usual daydreaming haze, I stepped out into thin air like the Fool in the Tarot deck: since when, I have been reposing unhappily in the dim mud and stones of a lower-rent meadow, gazing up at the sunlit heights.
I figure I must have clawed my way back up a little, and am now resting on a ledge about the length and width of a grave. On the other hand, the wall beside me seems to be well-supplied with rocks and roots; I think I can see a path upward. I just need to gain a little purposeful strength, and I can make the attempt. Again.
The next great question is: can I climb once more out of this state of pernicious disability? And if I can do that, can I write? What has been keeping me from writing is not exactly writer’s block – after all, I can write in the middle of the night, even if it makes little sense … no, my problem seams to be fatigue, creeping invalidism, and chronic episodic narcolepsy. So if I just cheer up, buckle down and move my recalcitrant fingers (Only the ones on my left had work reliably. And I am right-handed.) over a keyboard – Magic! Creation! Lucid plots and dialogue! Right?
At the very least, maybe I can resume a daily blog. That alone would be a vast improvement over my current state. My sister Kimberly has requested sternly that I actually sit and write something for an hour every day – along with using the Cubi for 500 steps a day, and the Physio three times each day. If you are inferring from this solicitous schedule that my sister is chiefly responsible for my being alive at all at this point: the answer is a resounding YES.
When you owe someone your life, I think they have a right to suggest how you use it. Maybe even insist that you use it at all.
Whatever works, Dear Readers. Because sleeping away my Golden Years is no use to me or anyone.