On Top of the World

Well behaved women rarely make history.

I’m not sorry.

Elizabeth Swann: Thank you, Jack.
Jack Sparrow: We’re not free yet, love.
Elizabeth Swann: You came back. I always knew you were a good man.
[kisses him to distract him, then handcuffs him to the mast]
Elizabeth Swann: It’s after you, not the ship. It’s not us. This is the only way, don’t you see? I’m not sorry.
Jack Sparrow: Pirate.
(Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest)

Caroline put out a writing challenge for the month of May. A mini NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, in November) dubbed MyNoWriMo. And just like I did last November I wanted to do it. Well, it is halfway through the month of May and I have not begun a novel, or any original fiction.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
(Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 6)

However, in the past 15 days: I posted to Fantastic Fangirls, I was a guest of Hour 42, I filmed footage for my dance project, and I have written 25 posts for Red Carpet Superhero. All of which is “original” if not “fiction”. And definitely more than I did in November.

I feel productive. And even better, I feel as if I know how to get from where I am to where I want to be. In the second Pirates of the Caribbean film, Jack can’t get anywhere because his compass doesn’t point anywhere — because he doesn’t know what he wants. I’ve felt this way a lot over the years. Do I go this way or that? Which path do I take? Which dream do I pursue? Which goal do I choose? Which life do I want?

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.  From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.  One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out.  I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.  I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.  (Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7)

It’s very easy to get trapped in the choosing and end up not going anywhere at all. But on something of a whim, I started walking. And then, oddly — or maybe it was the key all along — my compass is working again.

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1 Comment»

  Caroline wrote @

You’ve accomplished AWESOME things this month. I’m glad you’re happy with it.

Personally, I haven’t TOUCHED my novel since the first week, but I have worked on other things and feel generally good about my productivity!


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