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agatha christie

(above: Agatha Christie)

[The paragraphs that precede this part of today’s entry aren’t really important. They’re just the usual details. But this part, below, is about “being a writer,” so I’ll share it.]

March 28, 2016

…So now I have to calm down, and separate myself. I’m playing classical music, I’m burning incense. Door closed, water glass full beside me. Just put on headphones, which don’t work anymore on my computer, but at least make me feel cocooned. That’s the trick, in a nutshell: You have to become a separate self, to be a writer. You can’t sit listening at your writing-room door for a sigh from downstairs. Plug your ears. Close your door. Lock it if you can. It’s okay if the dog comes in, coz he’s your muse, and he just sleeps with his chin on your ankle, and he can leave whenever he wants to. Someone else will let him out when he needs it. Someone else will feed him, just as they all will feed themselves today—for, it turns out, they know how.

And nobody will clean the house. The vacuum will sit in the middle of the room, clogged I guess, and we won’t put it away I guess because we’re waiting for someone to fix it. Which—don’t tell anybody–I actually know how to do, but I guess they don’t, though they could learn I guess, just like I had to, once. No more. The dishes can stack up in the sink until, again and again, the weight of them breaks the handle off a coffee mug at the bottom—some of our favorite mugs we’ve lost that way. We’re also losing plants. And a couple of neglected bills have found their way to collection agencies, though we have $10,000 in the bank, which we never seem to deplete because the only things we ever buy are food and books and emergency room visits [again, not important right now]. And no one does the shopping either, till one of us (sometimes it’s me, sometimes B, rarely H) finally does it. No one’s taking care of this house anymore. It looks like it’s been ransacked because it has been, many times, when B loses wallet, credit card, keys, paychecks, glasses, phone. Or H loses glasses, prescriptions, phone numbers, medicines, mind. I’ve even had to ransack the place myself, especially after coming home from my trips to the mess, and having, at the very least, to get the income taxes ready.

I won’t go there again today, I swear—won’t join their world even if they get all crazy because they’ve made themselves sick or hate their jobs or don’t know what the future holds. They still stumble, somehow, under the weight of thinking me wise. I don’t know why they persist—well, yes I do, because sometimes I am wise, at least in contrast. If anyone finds the check-prescription-eyeglasses-keys, it’s usually me, and often in the very first place I look. It’s like living with mole-rats. “Where’d you find it?” they ask in relief. “On the counter,” I tell them, or “In your coat pocket.” I’m tired of being this person. I don’t mind doing my share of the daily maintenance—I cleaned the toilets this morning, just in passing, because honestly it’s not that big a deal, and takes two minutes, and because I knew no one else ‘knew how.’ But I have a job of my own right now—don’t I?–and though apparently it requires incense and silence and (occasionally) drugs, that doesn’t mean it’s not relatively real. It’s just that I’ve finally discovered my work method—and who’d have thought it entailed pleasure??? That’s what I’ve been missing all these years—fun. The fun of finally taking myself seriously.

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