Monday, December 11, 2006

There’s a thing I’ve been grappling with lately: my own ability to bring a story full circle, to make it emotionally honest rather than clever, to bring the story forth without getting in its way.

This is harder than you’d think. Particularly because I know that I do have the skills - insecurity is not the problem. When I'm working, I'm fine.

The problem is when I'm not working. I seem to have a 48-hour hold on insecurity. As long as I get on a schedule where I write every day, I'm cool. I get things done. I make progress. I proceed in an orderly fashion.

It's when I let life intervene that everything gets screwed up for me, and lately, it's been hard not to let life intervene. I have a new job and I can't just let it be a job; I have to do well at it. Believe me, I am trying to slack. It's not working.

I keep thinking about Johnny Cash. In the early days, he spent time learning his craft and singing songs that were wrong for him – until, that is, that radio producer told him he was wasting his time, and asked him what he would sing if he were dying and could sing only one song. That was the moment it clicked for Cash – cinematically, anyway. That was his wake-up call, his leap of faith. Not only that he was singing the wrong tune, but that he had the stuff to sing the right one.

The last two years of my life stand as evidence. When I work, I make great strides. But then work or life or whatever gets in the way, and I backslide into not doing the work and then being afraid that I’ll never be able to do it, just because at that particular moment, I’m not doing it.

Talk about your guilty consciences.

Well. When the man comes around, I’ll tell him, Come back later, I have work to do.


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