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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Don't Plant Your Bad Days - They Grow into Weeks


I'm having a bad day. I could trace the origin to this bad day down several tangled roots: Being husbandless on my anniversary (not his fault, poor guy) Being stuck on my current revising project and the mounting pile of psychological gunk that goes along with that (more on this later.) Being drawn into a work project and a school volunteer project at the same time with the same force. Being unable to understand the way my 9 year olds mind work and being unable to help her when she doesn't understand herself either. But the origin, the twin rocks these bad day roots are wrapped around are doubt and her bastard child fear.

I don't have a manhattan job anymore, so I can't afford a manhattan therapist. But If I were sitting across from Ruth right now, plucking at the fringe on the throw pillow in my lap, here's what I'd say about Doubt:

I doubt that I'll ever get published.
I doubt that even if I do get published that it will be as good as the work of my peers.
I doubt there's a point to keeping this writing dream alive when I could be more productive, monetarily productive, doing something else.
I doubt that the time I spend in my fabricated worlds is worth the time I don't spend with my kids.
I doubt I have the stamina 
I doubt I have the moxie
I doubt I have the talent.
I doubt.

But a doubt is really only as strong as a whisper, as substantial as a shadow. I'm hoping to bring the doubts out into the antiseptic sunshine. By sharing my doubts with you, I'm hoping to throttle the little bastards, as well as my little bad days. As the great Tom Waits says:

Photo: www.rollingstone.com

“I used to have some little bad days, and I kept them in a little box. And one day, I threw them out into the yard. "Oh, it's just a couple little innocent bad days." Well, we had a big rain. I don't know what it was growing in but I think we used to put eggshells out there and coffee grounds, too. Don't plant your bad days. They grow into weeks. The weeks grow into months. Before you know it you got yourself a bad year. Take it from me. Choke those little bad days. Choke 'em down to nothin'. They're your days. Choke 'em!”

11 comments:

  1. That's a brave post, Alex. I also had these days. But when I thought of giving up, I would think I can take failing but I can't take not having tried. Good luck with it.

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    1. thanks Fiona. This post is my answer to NOT giving up. Instead of giving up I'm going to rage against the little crummy days. That's my plan - not to ignore the doubts when they come but acknowledge them and hopefully move on.

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  2. Don't make me mail you avocado cake! You know I'll do it.

    You're beautiful, and if you keep moving your feet, you'll get to where you want to be. There's this line from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that I was going to use for a blog post I've been working on, but I'll put it here anyway (well, so long as you don't make fun of my movie choices): Everything will be all right in the end... if it's not all right then it's not yet the end.

    Okay, you may think that sounds stupid, but it's weirdly true. Especially when it comes to writing. If you keep trying and you keep improving yourself, you'll eventually get published. You'll eventually get read! There's no secret ingredient; natural talent means very little in this field so stop worrying that you don't have it (okay, I may be projecting here). So in those times of doubt, just keep in mind that it will get better. This is the fucking marathon of a lifetime. And sometimes it will take that long to get to the finish line. But so what? We love what we do.

    Okay, if that didn't work, let me know, and I'll go to the farmer's market this weekend for avocados.

    Jenny
    jennymherrera.com

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    1. OKAY! I admit it, this was all an elaborate ploy to get you to make me avocado pound cake *hangs head in shame*
      I worried that people would think I was fishing for compliments with this post (and you lovely person you, you have laid some very kind words on me) but the feelings are real and I found, if I tried to hide them, pretend they weren't real, it only made the doubt and fear stronger. I wanted to get it out there - admit that I AM afraid of those things. And by admitting it, wrestling back some of the power from them. It's worked, a bit. And you're right, it does get better. Especially when I have such stellar writing friends. Thank you is what I mean to say. :)

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  3. Everyone has doubts, Alex. But you can't let them consume you, or they'll be victorious. You are capable of so much more than you imagine. Maybe you should stop by my blog and look for something to cheer you up. Never give up on your dreams. My blog is: www.dhdunne.blogspot.com.

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  4. Hi Alex, I nominated you for an award. Please visit www.dhdunne.blogspot.com to find out more.

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    1. Thanks Deanie - I really appreciate the award and the encouragement. You're right, of course, the only way you are really defeated is if you give up. I won't do that. Thanks for visiting!

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  5. Doubt is a big loser! So is fear. You can overcome those bullies. ^_^

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  6. You should introduce your roommate, Doubt, to some new friends. Wishful Thinking, Hope, Optimism, and Spunk live right around the corner. Or, you could come over to my house at "begin...begin again."

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  7. thanks Jan - those are some pretty awesome new friends :) I haven't stopped, I haven't given up and that's a victory. Plus, just talking about fears and doubts makes them shrink. Sunshine is the best antiseptic!

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