The work in progress that I am required a major tune up these last 2 weeks. I soul searched, and I soul found. Or I think I did, but you know i can still change my mind about that too.
When my hard drive was wiped cleaned recently, apparently so were my brain cells. It was like a lobotomy minus the white gown and the smell of ether. For a week, I could not utter a sentence that did not include a combination of the words ‘hard’, ‘drive’, and ‘lost’ as in “the heat is hard, i feel lost and did I tell you that all the writing I had stored in my hard drive is lost.” or ''Ilostmyfriggingharddriveicantfriggingbelieveitimgonnakillmyself."
This went on for a while until everyone around me was thoroughly bored with it, at which point I curled up in a ball and went through an accelerated version of the five stages of grief, adding a few more of my concoction: self-flagellation, self-pitying, Sex in the City marathon, Baking-and-eating banana bread-athon, (and the ensuing Throwing up-athon.)
How could I survive without all my stuff? My writing! My writing! My words, my beautiful words! Bwhahhh!
But within the self-indulgent emotional devastation, there were pockets of quiet inside me that I was becoming aware of. That elusive strange kind of calm I rarely experience while sober was seeping in slowly into my consciousness. In the morning, I'd wake up, sit up and say ‘Quick, writing emergency! I'm late! I'm late! Got to finish/redo that article, that novel, that screenplay, that query letter!' Then I'd remember my defunct hard drive, flop back down on the pillow and say 'all gone now' like a three year old. Then I'd stare at the pattern on the bedroom curtain for the next hour mumbling incoherently to myself: ''Nothing to think-- No think to thing--What to think-- What to thing?--Thinking is the thing i do. I think therefore I am, so if I don’t thing I don’t am.'
After a week, the fever broke. There was a fresh wind blowing softly though my neurons, a sense of rejuvenation, of relief. I had so many projects started, all of which I had deemed in need of urgent completion. And brilliance. They all required brilliance. I was in fact overwhelmed with the sheer mass of things to work on, Urgently and Brilliantly. And now that it was all gone, wasn’t I absolved from the burden of task-completion? And by extension, wasn’t I relieved from my self-imposed pressure to achieve, to succeed, to make my name count for something one day?
It occurred to me that if I was to survive this loss I'd have to connect with that part of me that isn't my work and find a way to be good enough, with or without it.
Good enough without the work that I created as a mean to define myself? How do you do that? What would happen if I did not write? No, scratch that, I'll always write. What would happen if I wrote for fun rather than for success? Those used to be criminal thoughts, as there would be no point in writing if it wasn't for an end result. But now I had to face the facts: years of my work had indeed vanished. I had very little to show for in the last ten years. What would become of me if my books never were finished, never were published, never printed, never sold, never read?
And then I realized that I would absolutely be okay. In the process of writing every day, five hours a day for the last ten years, i still have not found an agent or an editor who believes in me. I have not found a publisher either. But I did find something --and I know it sounds melodramatic but I'm going to say it anyway--In the last ten years of devoting myself to writing, I have, I believe, found me.