Yet all the time I spend writing is, in fact, stolen from somewhere else. Something else that needed my attention.
By virtue of being ill, especially after almost a quarter of a century (Eeks!), I am behind. In everything.
My photos are unsorted. My home movies of the kids languish on tape cassettes. The house – well, let’s not talk about the house; it’s too depressing.
I owe so many people a letter it is pitiful, and I haven’t sent a Christmas card in I don’t know how long.
So, mostly a drain on society.
I do nothing for the world in general – except be so frugal because I rarely spend anything that we do have the ability to contribute to the charities we choose. I have two tiny volunteer jobs going on – to the tune of maybe a total of 20 hours in a month in dribs and drabs (but it also encompasses something I want to do, as part of it is singing in the choir at the Mass I attend). I try to be reliable for that – and let them know ahead of time when I won’t make it.
I do what I can, and I try to be cheerful about the rest; nobody wants a gloomy sick person around. And, honestly, it doesn’t help – it just ruins the rest of life.
The obligations of the ill person
So how do I justify taking almost all of the good time I can eke out – and spending it with imaginary people making up stories about them?
I could spend my time reading and watching TV instead, and be available for interrupting my unimportant occupations whenever there was something I could do.
I could diligently do what I do to be functional for a few hours every day, and use that energy to slowly chip away at the various backlogs around here. By myself, so far. I could stop being upset when I spend any bit of that energy to clean an area, only to turn around and find that it is again covered with a new mess – and consider it my duty and my pleasure to do that little bit of cleaning and tidying.
But I can’t. There is a drive in me to write that I can’t seem to put aside or satisfy, no matter how many or how few words come out the end of my fingers in a given day.
It is never enough – and is more important than all but the minimum social output.
Writing doesn’t exhaust me.
It tires me out, and I can only do it so long, if that makes sense. But it is never a cause of the exhaustion, because I would never say, “Don’t write – it makes you too tired.”
As an introvert of the most pernicious kind, I love my friends with a passion – and can afford the maintenance of only a few of them. I love spending time with them – but watch carefully when and how I indulge, because it costs so much to spend time that way. I apologize to my beloved friends and family – for when I arrange to give them second-best time, not my writing time, unless I absolutely can’t get away with that.
As someone with a tendency to get depressed – writing is my shield against that dark. If I can write, I can write out the depression, the writer’s block, the pain. If I don’t have computer and keyboard, I have pencil and paper – or I will find some. I can’t trust my memory – so I will commit all this to the cloud, a backup drive, or paper; but I won’t lose it. That is the way I think.
Writing never fails me.
So there we are: writing is a choice. It is as frustrating as taking drugs, unreliable in its occurrence, erratic in its pleasures, and as undeniable as the tides.
It’s always there, somehow.
And it’s the choice I make. Every day. Until my mind goes bye-bye – or they pry the pen or the keyboard from my faltering fingers.
With all the brain fog and the lack of physical energy, it is still what I want to do. Every day, whether I get to it or not.