Friday, April 20, 2012

In Which Reality Starts to Set In

The other day, I woke up at my mom's, on the futon in the living room, surrounded by cats. It was 6:30, and my mom had already left for work. Unable to sleep, I went down the hallway, figuring I could work on clearing what will be my room again. There were a few issues with this.

Firstly, my mom's been using my room as storage (which is also what she uses the other two bedrooms for) so it's actually mostly just housing furniture. At some point in the past, my mom decided to string clothesline everywhere because her dryer is kaput. Now she hangs the laundry in the bathroom on three curtain rods, clothes-pinned to hangers. Say what you like, but my mom is resourceful. If the infrastructure of life as we know it is demolished, there's no one I'd rather be living with.

The last time I was there, I'd cleared some floor space and established a foothold—simply, a central location to stand in and move in. This time, that was undone. It was like bags of clothing had exploded. I knew this was somehow progress—and tried to remind myself that my mom has been doing endless loads of laundry with everything she's evacuated, but, visibly, it was a bit of a blow. I wasn't going to go through my mom's clothes. I closed the door behind me and noticed that the bottom hinges of the door dividing the general disarray of the house from my 9x9 soon-to-be-haven were sort of not really attached. Like, at all.

It's nothing a few screws can't fix, but portal stability was suddenly questionable.  What if it doesn't work?  What if it all implodes into my space, compounding, compacting, squishing me along with it?  

Unwilling to attempt further progression in room-clearing, I returned to the futon, moving two cats aside to make space for my rear, and began writing a pros and cons list. When I first started thinking about moving, it was something like this:

See my family ALL THE TIME Transportation will be difficult
Save mad $$$$ while paying off little bills completely Leaving awesome people behind
Get a driver's license and help moma get a decent car with my badass credit score

Yard, gardening, be more active

This time, my list looks a little more like this:

Seeing my family all the time Lack of solitude, little totally alone time.
More opportunities to do social stuff More distractions
Saving money I'd usually pay for rent Will probably still end up spending everything because everyone else is broke all the time
More physically active; gardening, lawn mowing, housework Clothing covered with cat hair or chock full o' smoke
Room for yoga, taking walks safely Eminent and probable destruction of belongings, either from cats, mice or mildew
Help Moma keep the house in order Hard to deal with this degree of clutter and the speed with which it accumulates
Getting a driver's license Relying on others for transportation at first
Help Moma get a car This alone will probably entirely deplete anything I was trying to save
Little emotional or dietetic expectations Not going out that much anymore
Healthier, less expensive options for work lunches Leaving my awesome coworkers
Compost/gardening, maybe grow my own food Feeling like it's my mom's house and respecting her personal boundaries
More personal freedom Where in the hell is there to go?!  It's still Saginaw, ass.

I mean, I'm still totally doing it, of course, but actually sharing living space with the Moma again is going to be... different. It's been ten years. She's used to having her house to herself, and I'm used to having many nights entirely to myself. I don't know. I'm just more than a little concerned about getting stuck in Saginaw, my lifelong fear.

But it's all up to me, and not someone else. And that makes all the difference.  Or at least, I'll keep telling myself that until I leave again.

Friday, April 13, 2012

In which I declare my intent to become a boomerang

In a little over a month, I, a nearly thirty (non-productive) writer, (barely productive) artist, (directionless) theorist, and (outstanding) provider of retail-based customer service, will be moving back in with my mother after about ten years more or less on my own.

Oh boy.

It came about because our (my partner's and my) lease will be up June first; he's moving to another town where he hopes to attend graduate school and I... well, I didn't want to go.

We've lived in Lansing, Michigan for almost two years. It's an all right place with an excellent mass transit system, an easily and safely navigable downtown, and some of the more awesome people I've been lucky enough to meet in my life. And as pleasant as it's been, I have not been focused on following any of the dreams I once had for myself. I say “once had” because I set them aside, by and large, due mostly to my belief that I “couldn't” do anything about them. Anything that's dependent on someone else just didn't seem at all feasible.

I've paralyzed myself when it comes to writing. Since I finished my Master's degree, I have written a bit—but before I started school, I filled between 15 and 20 pages a day, by hand, both sides of the page, absolutely absorbed. Maybe it just worked that way. That was the time when I could produce, produce, produce and now I can revise, revisit and rework. Note: that was well over ten years ago.

See, I have this story. Series of stories. Okay, I have nine book length stories of a fantasy and sci-fi series that spans several million years, a few planets and maybe even a cycle of creation in the grand scale of the universe. I might be on draft 25 of book one. I always intend for the newest draft to be the last one before I put it out there. I sent it to Tor once a few years ago and had a teeny bit of pride at having a real life rejection letter from a real life publisher.

The world is a different place for writers than it was ten years ago. I can self-publish on Amazon in e-book form. I can put up .pdf files for free for anyone who cares to read them. I can be read and judged and dismissed and maybe even liked. But, like everything else in my life, I've just felt like I “couldn't” write.

Just like I suddenly felt like I “couldn't” move, not again, for purposes having nothing to do with what I wanted. I love my partner, of course, and wish the absolute best for him. I hope he gets to do what he wants to do. I just... don't mind if I'm not a central part of it. I can't keep going at a pointless job, distracting myself with video games and Facebook and all the things I'm actually tired of on the Interwebs.

What can I do in six months? What can I do before 2013? And why is time such a huge factor in this for me?

I feel like I need to get sorted.

Telling my mother that we were moving, I expressed my reluctance and frustrations. “I just want to live on the futon in your living room.”

My mother responded, “We can do that.”

And one of those obligatory light switch “a-ha!” moments came.  I eased into it in discussion with my partner. “I might...” I started with, but made the decision final when he pressed me. He was looking for apartments, hoping to find one near a bus line because I (nearly thirty) never got a license. I refused to be a bother—my mother doesn't find me a bother, though she soon might—and made a definitive decision—the quickest I might have ever made.

I'm going home. I'll recuperate, I'll write, I'll save money from my pointless job, get a license, help my mother get a decent car, spend a wonderful summer with my beloved cousins, and eventually I will move somewhere I want to live and go to a school I want to go to instead of settle for or pass time in.

And hopefully, by the end of this year, I'll have a finished book on Amazon.