Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Excuses, Excuses

Winter break was supposed to be a time for me to concentrate on my thesis. There would be no other commitments to break up my days and nothing else for me to read. Last Monday, we got back from my mom's house and I intended to wake up early Tuesday morning and write for an hour or two, then read. I didn't. My excuse: I just got back home from out of town, I'm tired, I want to sleep in, I'll start tomorrow. I can't remember what happened on Wednesday, but I didn't write then either. Thursday was my birthday, so I didn't work even though I woke up kind of wanting to. Friday was a total loss, too. Saturday and Sunday were Christmas Eve and Day, and we were out of town again until yesterday evening. So this morning I had the same excuse that I had last Tuesday.

Honestly, I'm getting sick of my own cop-outs and excuses.

My favorite one, lately, has been that I have no space of my own. We live in a teensy five-room apartment, and the only door that actually latches is the bathroom door. Eric and I share every inch of space. I do yoga in the bedroom every morning, usually with him sleeping a foot away. There is a very small room that, with some major rearranging and the sacrifice of one couch, could become a computer workspace instead of a TV room. But it hardly seems worth the effort, considering that we'll only live here for another six months or so. Also, it wouldn't exactly be a room of my own in the sense that Virginia Woolf intended, since to get to the bathroom, Eric would have to walk through it.

He's offered to help. He talks about making his coffee and then walking over to the neighbor's house every morning to give me an hour or two of solitude. He talks about helping me create a space in the bedroom where I could work with my laptop while he got out of bed earlier to free up the space for me. But I say, "No, no, no," because part of the problem I have with trying to write in the living room is that I think it puts him out and I hate that. After all, if I'm writing in the living room, he can't make breakfast in the adjacent kitchen, or listen to MPR or a CD, without being a distraction. And because the door doesn't latch, it barely helps if he's in the den watching PBS (our one channel) or a movie or playing a video game. And what if he doesn't want to do one of those three things? What then? What if he wants to use the computer that I'm hogging?

Whatever. Even if he is in the other room, even if he's reading, he's a distraction. We don't have that much time to spend together because of our work schedules, and when he's home and awake, I want to take advantage of that time and spend it with him, not in my own fictional world.

If I felt like I could write well in the evening, while Eric works, the problem would be largely solved. But to write fiction, I need more than diligence. I need the clarity of a barely-awake brain. Without that, I have trouble focusing and becoming fully engaged in the world I'm creating. Get up earlier, you say? Yeah, that's where the excuses get weak. My only response is that when the work is optional, it's hard to get out of bed for it. I'm not proud of this fact. I draw attention to it because I'm aware of my weaknesses, and two of them are the shallow dreamworld of early morning and the pure sensory pleasure of waking tired and then closing my eyes again.

When we move, we will have a two-bedroom apartment. One of the bedrooms will become a computer room. It will be a room with a door, a room that does not lead into any other rooms. But that doesn't help me now, it doesn't help me with my thesis. Some of my reasons for not committing to the creative portion of this project are valid; some are empty excuses. Either way, they are something to overcome. I chose to combine the academic and creative theses because I wanted to prove to myself that I still could write fiction. And it worked, sort of. Now I remember that I have a talent for it. But I have also proven that I'm lazy about it. And that's not okay. Talent means absolutely zip lying dormant inside my head.


Blogger Jessie said...

Well, at least you do yoga every day. That puts you one step ahead of the rest of us. :)-

12/27/2005 7:09 PM  

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