I haven’t written any fiction for eight weeks now. I am a creature of habit and routine – and fragile ones at that. ‘What I do’ is shaped over sequences of days – three, usually. After three days of doing something I feel ‘this is what I do’. And then, if – as I frequently do – I forget to keep going, I ‘reward’ myself with a break, or a distraction. Only to find that the break and the distraction are now ‘what I do’.
This is hardly a unique situation – most, if not all, people will feel like this at some point, and it’s a recurring theme of my adulthood. There are so many things, both current and past, that feel like I only ever did or do them to use up time. Not all of them are ‘fun’. Most are not exactly life-enhancing. At least now I’m generally happier they are not so overtly self-destructive or plain doofus. But like all habits, they become hard to break through sheer repetition.
As an aside – it’s probably the lack of an over-arching religious drive, or meta-habit, that causes this. If I were driven by God, or greed, or injustice or whatever, I imagine I would compartmentalise my life better – use one part as fuel for the other. Whereas in actuality it all bleeds into one mush of confusion and conflicting emotions. I have too much time and headspace to fill with empty little rituals and muscle-memory actions.
Speaking of muscle-memory…I sometimes wonder what the mental equivalent of a physical injury is. I don’t mean mental illness, or depression etc. But bruising, or sprains, or you know – the stuff you just learn to deal with – for example, most years I will have several weeks when I can’t run at all due to an injured ankle, or knee. I get cross, and tetchy, and heavier. I lose the will to run. I lose speed, and the love of running. And there must be an equivalent for the brain, but I have no idea what the symptoms look like. Or rather, feel like.
I suspect my head is mildly sprained at present. And that I am not quite treating it right. What is the equivalent of RICE for the head? I’m currently dosing with audiobooks and films recommended on lovefilm.
Anyway. This is just to say – to my one reader (and myself, if I am not that reader) – that I think it’s about time I stopped this nonsense (blogging, following, tweeting – generally drowning in a soup of trivia) and got on with some serious living. I can see my fortieth birthday looming over the next hill, and while I feel – and act – like a small child, the fact of the matter is that significant numbers of others don’t. And those others get publishing deals, or become VAT registered, or simply learn to be happy disconnected – untainted by the ephemera of other people’s lives. I need to busy with myself, not the lives of others.
So, let’s see how it goes. See you when this/the next novel is complete.