I was speaking with an acquaintance yesterday, who called me from BVI where she lives in the winter. We were speaking about some events that have impacted both of us and many friends, trying to come to terms with our feelings. I had written an email to her earlier in the day.
"You write so well", she said, "you should do so more often".
I found myself saying "I used to write a blog..." I startled as I realized I had used the past tense.
"You should do so more often," she said.
Yes, I should, but I just haven't been able to sit down, clear my thoughts and write for so long. Funny how the longer one goes avoiding something, the more daunting it becomes. Even when I have drafted something in my head, I have been unable to get it down with pen and paper or keyboard and screen. Posts about books and movies and plays, about daffodils and bleeding hearts starting to poke through the leaves in the woods or pictures the old dead stump of a tree that is about to fall, about the small joys of family, or how I've struggled to recognize the good in a difficult employee and suddenly we are able to laugh even when we disagree; about how writing status updates in 160 characters is too confining to me and that I think Facebook for finding high school friends is stupid, but that it has been a wonderful tool for communicating with a specific circle of friends, even in times of crisis: all of these and more would have been great posts; perhaps some will appear in the future.
In the grand scheme of things, I'm not worried about not being able to write again --it is temporary -- but I wonder how much of this is a general malaise that I see in many of my friends right now. I don't know if it's being at mid-life, if it's the economy, if it's only because it is still winter, despite the recent warmer days, but it seems that everyone I am friends with is going through some sort of major life stress -- stress at work, fear of losing their jobs and the fear of not being able to find another one, sickness, death of elderly relatives, struggling relationships, pain from one kind of loss or another.
It is all very real, painful; psyches bobbing in rough wakes. Not quite gale force winds in open seas, but stormy. It can wear you down and make it seem like there isn't time, or strength, or determination to do things like write.
As I read through this, I can predict that some people might conclude that I'm depressed. Let me assure you that it isn't something as drastic as that. It isn't as if I can't laugh, can't enjoy family and friends, or am ready to jump off cliffs real or metaphoric. It is only that writing is the activity that is getting squeezed shut right now.
Thanks to those of you who periodically stop by here. I don't intend to let the past tense to describe permanently this blog. But I don't know if I'll be back here tomorrow, or next week, or in a few months.