Friday, September 14, 2012

Time, time, wasting time

One of the biggest problems with writing -- or any creative endeavor -- is wasting time. I'm a procrastinator by nature unless I'm really into what I'm doing. Cross-stitch has been my focus lately and I've completed quite a few projects.

I began the year with the goal of making 6 Xmas stockings for my grandchildren. I have 5 of them done and the 6th about halfway done. I stopped to make a baby afghan for a friend starting over with nothing and a 6-month-old baby girl, McKenna and a wedding afghan for a cousin's daughter. Then I got caught up with other projects, little things like bookmarks, samplers, and things to gift at Xmas. I have to admit it, I've been so fascinated and excited about cross stitch I've written very little: a few book reviews, a post here and there, a bit of political commentary. I've even stopped writing so much in my paper journals. My favorite bedroom fountain pen (I have fountain pens and journals for every room where I write, but not the bathroom -- no table or desk) had to be taken apart and given the hot water and baking soda treatment because the ink was clogging and wouldn't flow. That's so frustrating when I really do want to write.

In short, I've been wasting time. Not that I haven't accomplished a lot in other areas, but not in writing. I've lost that excited, joyous feeling I used to get when I wrote. Every time I think about writing I decide to do something else, figuring the writing will still be there when I get around to it. I'm not so sure that is the case. I gave up painting and drawing because of my family's and children's needs and it's not there any more. I can still draw and do it well, but I'm nowhere near where I should be had I kept up with it over the past 40 years. I used to be really good.

I found the same thing with cross stitching. I have a piece I stitched over 20 years ago and it is beautiful without a single flaw or missed stitch. It is gorgeous, if I do say so myself, but that was more than 20 years ago. When I began cross stitching again, I missed stitches, had to tear out sections and do them over because I missed a row or miscounted. My technique was rusty but it is coming back, the result of stitching every single day. Even the grandkids' Xmas stockings show the difference, especially with the one pattern I stitched twice, daughters of two sons so they won't feel like they've been cheated. They'll never see the other's stocking and won't be able to compare. Besides, one granddaughter is 3. I don't think it matters to her yet.

The practice has made a difference in my stitching, but what has the wasted time done to my writing? I don't know.

The words are still there circling the synapses of my mind. Whole scenes, dialogue, and plots are all there, but they don't make it from the thoughts to the page and I know from past experience that what ends up on the page is seldom the same way it sounded or was in my head. I may be losing the freshness and excitement that was my writing and all for what?

This has been a difficult year with deaths in the immediate family that have affected me deeply, but tough times have spawned writing in the past, and now they spawn the need to escape from writing, from taking it from inside myself and putting it on the page. I need to get that back. Writing here and now is a part of that and I hope you'd tell me if the writing seems cramped or constipated or lacking in some way that it didn't before.

Writing, like anything else, is use it or lose it. It's that way with everything in life. Use it or lose it. Some dregs may remain but they won't be the full fleshed bounty that once existed. I need to keep that in mind as I force myself to write and stitch and get out into the world away from my cramped existence and back to hands cramped from writing -- or typing -- so that I can wake up excited about what lies ahead, about what creativity I still have and use to the fullest.

Back to the salt mines where my hands are stained with ink, sore from pounding the keys, and the glow of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes with achieving a dream. Or dreams, in my case.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Review: Klonopin Lunch by Jessica Dorfman Jones

The midlife crisis hits at age 30 in this have-it-all, do-it-all, got-it-covered, but not, Generation X memoir.

Jessica has it all: handsome husband, wealth, good job at the top of her field, and youth. It is not enough, and her job will probably end soon. She is bored with her life and her marriage and Andrew, her husband, has settled into a respectable and well-furnished rut. She wants more. She needs more.

She thinks she needs more.

 Enter guitar teacher, Gideon, bad boy rocker by night, guitar teacher by day, and sex all the time. He is just what Jessica needs to help shake up her life and drive away boredom with tequila shots and chaos. Casting aside everything for a walk on the wild side where sex, drugs, and rock and roll are the order of every day, Jessica takes the plunge.

 What? Another sex, drugs, and rock and roll drug fest chased with alcohol and regret? Do we really need yet another thirty-something remembrances of things past with attitude and arrogance? Yes. We need Klonopin Lunch and Jessica Dorfman Jones’s humor and pathos to remind us what we have to lose—and to gain—in a world where everything grows old in time, even the desire for excess and eccentricity.

 Normally, I avoid drugged out memories fueled by sex and alcohol to the beat, beat, beat of rock and roll, but this memoir is something very different. There is a touch of arrogance and privilege in Jones’s tour through depravity and boredom that is overlaid with killer wit, laugh out loud moments, the bitter dregs of the morning after, and an excellent sense of timing and well written prose that makes Klonopin Lunch is more than just a memoir of yet another generation X-er with too much money and too much time on her hands. I thoroughly enjoyed Jones’s self-deprecating wit and razor sharp delivery. Jessica Dorfman Jones has the goods and she pays off with style and a flair for the wickedly funny.