The blank screen.
It’s daunting, you know?
But it’s not just the inertia of getting in the writing groove again. It’s not even writer’s block.
I walk around the house thinking all these amazing and endearingly entertaining thoughts that I just know would make the world that much of a better place IF I could just get the words written down and sent out into cyberspace. At times I even go so far as to get into the chair in front of the computer and stare at the blank screen. And then I lean back, take a deep breath, crack my knuckles in a meaningful way, and begin waggling my fingers midair over the keyboard in the manner of all great composers readying themselves to wow the masses with another grand opus.
Then I lean back again and pick a strand of spinach from my back molars.
Then I notice a bill that hasn’t been paid and I get up and run around the house looking for a non-existent stamp.
Then I see three Barbie shoes on the floor and I pick them up and bring them to my daughter’s room.
Where there is laundry on the floor. That needs picking up and putting someplace else.
And while I’m someplace else, there is another stack of papers that need to go somewhere other.
And this is how I spend 90% of my waking time. I move bits and pieces of things from one place to another around the house.
Things. Stuff. Junk. Crap.
I’m up to my eyeballs in it.
It’s sinful the amount of Thingstuffjunkcrap we have. It’s overwhelming. It takes over my seconds, my minutes, my hours, my days. I tell my kids, “I can’t read with you right now, I need to rearrange the stuff. Then I need to carry some things from upstairs to the basement. And while I’m doing that, I’ll be picking up crap along the way and tossing it in the trash.”
My children scream, “No Mommy! No! Don’t throw away the crap! It’s our stuff! It’s our things!”
And I say, “But you aren’t using these things. These things have been sitting under the kitchen table for the past two weeks. You’ve stepped on these things. One of the things has a broken arm. One is crusty and smells like barf. These things are now junk and, yes, possibly crap. Let’s just get rid of these things and we can be freed from their Sisyphus-like crush, free to spend time with each other and frolic and play and share some moments together without the vague anxiety that somewhere the things are regrouping and planning a counter-attack which will pull me into a years-long war only to leave me reeling on your graduation day, wondering where all the time went.”
But my kids don’t seem to care.
They can be rapt in the final chapter of Harry Potter Seven, unable to pull themselves from the pages even while the house is burning down around them. Or outdoors, gleefully bouncing toward the summer sun on their mini-trampoline and then racing scooters down the sidewalk with the wind in their hair and music on their lips.
It doesn’t matter. If I pick-up even one broken, chewed-on piece of plastic crap from a McDonald’s Happy Meal and toss it in the kitchen trash.
They hear it.
And they come running from play or from the far, entranced depths of fantasy worlds, and they run into the kitchen screaming, “YOU ARE THROWING AWAY OUR STUFF!”
And I get angry now. And I try to shock them. I say, “It’s JUST THINGS! These things don’t love you. You don’t even really love the things. You think you do. You think that if you surround yourself with enough things that you will be happy and safe. You think that the things will make your friends like you more. Grown-ups think that having a lot of things means that they will live forever. Grown-ups say, ‘I can’t die yet. I have all these things. If I die, who will take care of the things? Who will pick them up and put them in other places? Who will worry about someone taking the things or breaking the things? No no…I have to be around forever, see? Anyway, some of these things were bought on credit, and VISA just insists that I stick around long enough to pay it off.’
But theses grown-ups are wrong! Things are not talismans against unhappiness! And in fact, all these things in our house - the stuff, the crap, the junk - they are actually making Mommy unhappy. Mommy is a slave to the things when all Mommy wants to do it to be with you.”
And my kids stare blankly for a few seconds and then they begin to cry.
Big sloppy, sobby tears.
They cry, “Pleeeeeeeeease, Mommy, pleeeeeeeeease don’t throw away our things!”
And I give in. I hand them the piece of broken, plastic crap. And they fondle the crap lovingly, put it in their pockets, and take off on the scooters once again, wind in their hair, smiles on their faces.
And two hours later, I find the plastic crap on the driveway.
And I bury it in the backyard.
Or burn it beyond recognition in the oven.
And no one ever knows (except the fire department) and the world goes spinning on.
I do feel bad. It feels wasteful. It is wasteful.
But it can’t be helped.
I do send some of the things off to the Good Will. And some of the stuff, I sell on eBay or at a sidewalk sale. Some people will even buy the junk or the crap. Some people make it into garbage art. I mean found object art. And that is good.
But then, I feel bad again because I wonder whether I’m being an enabler. Whether the person who bought my junk is some talented scientist who is not getting around to curing cancer or solving the global climate change problems because she’s busy tidying up the crap I sold her.
Whether selling my old crap will prevent someone from buying new junk and somewhere in China a factory worker will be laid off and Oriental Trading Company will go out of business.
It’s all so complicated.
And a bit saddening.
But, on the bright side, I’ve just completed a blog post.
I’m going to try to keep completing blog posts. I’m going to try for one a day until I feel confident in the saddle once again.
Will some of these posts be junk?
Yes. I am guessing so.
Some might even be crap.
But I refuse to let the things win.
I want to write.
I love to write.
And I love spending time with my kids with the wind in my hair and a song on my lips.
In the meantime, just ignore the woman burying bags of junk in her backyard at midnight, under cloak of darkness.
Feel free to do the same with any of my junk blog posts.