Note: Title is a quote from Ray Bradbury.
This morning, I woke up to Djehuti, pleasantly waiting for me to wake up. I stared for a minute and then went about my business, trying to screw my head on straight enough to remember that it’s Friday and that offerings need to happen. Then he waited, just as pleasantly and just as patiently, for me to be awake enough to hear him. He was wearing a three-piece suit, charcoal gray. In the pocket was a celadon green handkerchief, perfectly turned into a triangle and standing straight up. His characteristic walking stick – an item he has done tap routines with when he’s trying to either cheer me up or troll me as his predecessor – was conspicuously missing. He had his ibis head in place instead of the perfectly coiffed middle aged man he has shown me once or twice. He waited long enough before speaking.
“You need to write today. You did not write yesterday,” he says softly.
I close my eyes, standing in front of my coffee maker. My shoulders are slumped, my body is stiff. I am not awake enough for this. “I have nothing to say. I am spent,” I explained.
He shakes his head and offers me a polite laugh. “No, no. You have spoons. It is the morning and that was the deal.”
“I’m taking a break. I’ve written every day in some form or another for nearly two weeks. My spoons–”
“I can see that you have them. You’re hoarding them.”
“I have every right to do so,” I snap.
He shakes his head again. He’s trying to play the roll of guru here, like Papa Legba. “You hoard your spoons and say you have no more. But you have plenty. They are all hiding behind your back, waiting for the choice moment to be pulled forward for use. You are not hoarding spoons and living in ma’at. You are wasting spoons.”
I stare at him, trying to figure out why I ever thought lying to a god was a good idea. “I don’t–” I stop because lying more will only make this worse. “I have nothing to say. I don’t want to write about sacred jewelry.”
He tsks at me. “You always seem to think that when I tell you to write now that I am talking about your blog. I never mentioned where to write, did I?”
I scowl at him and he walks away.
One of the things I wasn’t prepared for was a god coming down from wherever they live when they’re not with us and telling me “to write.” This is partly why I’ve always tried to dodge Djehuti. I have been able to work, occasionally, with Seshat without much heartache or headache. I request her assistance when a point I’m trying to make is incredibly sticky or not fully formed. She is very helpful in that regard, but I’ve always pushed her further back because I didn’t want this to happen. I need not have worried about it, evidently, because as much dodging as I have been doing, it was still only a matter of time before Djehuti showed up.
I used to spend days, nights, and afternoons thinking about what it would be like to be a writer. The form of what I would write has always changed. I have an entire novel that could be classified as urban fantasy, I suppose, but it’s my first full-length novel. It’s choppy and hurried in some places, or at least, that’s how it comes off to me. The worst part about being a writer is if you have that perfectionist gene about it. And I, unfortunately, do. I’ve gotten criticism from my personal clique community and some of my friends. After that, I just stopped writing. Just because I ask for criticism doesn’t mean I can handle criticism. And unfortunately, I am a Leo so no matter how much I go on about how human I am or how I am liable to fuck some shit up because, you know, human and all, I am a Leo first. And all Leos have egos the size of the universe and they think they can do no wrong. CONSCIOUSLY, I know I can do wrong and hurry a novel so I can finish fucking writing it but SUBCONSCIOUSLY, I think I’m perfect and it sounds fantastic.
This is only borne out in how I will go back through stories I wrote in high school and marvel at how creative I am. (And never mind if the stories are any good.)
But the reality is that I wrote a novel about urban fantasy or paranormal whatsit because it’s the in thing to do. I wrote it because I could and because I’ve always wanted to make vampires that aren’t the standard Dracula fair. I wrote it because I had an idea and it was a good one – really – and I just could. The push when I began that novel was for the paranormal, which is borne out in how popular authors like Carrie Vaughn, Charlaine Harris, Michele Bardsley, MaryJanice Davidson, and Sherrilyn Kenyon are. Look at what that twit who wrote
Twilight was able to do with a series of books that details what NOT to do in a relationship, either with a vampire or otherwise. I wrote the book because I could make money, I thought, and that was it.
I’m an incredibly selfish creature, I think. I wrote something with an idea that I have had in my head regarding vampires since I was 9. (I’m not joking. For the last twenty-one years this idea has been trolling around my head.) I made it a slight reality by trying to write it, but now that I go back over it and I have criticism to feed off of, I know that I can’t go back to that idea. It’s not where the heart lies. My heart has always been with vampires, to an extent, but that’s not where it actually is. Dusken can tell anyone what my soul palace looks like and it’s the soul palace that she went to that would tell anyone what lies so deep within.
But there’s no way, I tell myself, that I could write that.
And yet, Djehuti shows up and he says, “you have to.”
A while back, Adaoineile wrote a piece about the writer and the mythology surrounding what a writer’s lifestyle is. I would look for it, but I’m pressed for time, so if any of my followers can leave a link in the comments, I’d appreciate it. In effect, Eddie was discussing how the lifestyle people oft associate with writers is complete shit. I’ll be frank, I used to think of a writer as a person who sat in front of their computer, playing stupid games on Facebook and drinking a cocktail, muttering, It’s five o’clock somewhere. Neither of these possible interpretations of what the writer’s lifestyle supposedly is sits well with me. I don’t like games and drinking; I don’t like living surrounded by the written word.
But, I’ll admit, there was a time when I wanted either lifestyle.
There are days where I cry to myself because I had a dream and I can’t make it into reality. Responsibility is one of those things that gets in the way. I can’t very well see my dreams take off with all of that responsibility. Thus enters the spoon and its management. I have spoons. I have them in abundance. I’ve been misplacing them lately, using too many at work or hoarding them, as Djehuti pointed out, and never getting around to using them. They sit in their little pouch, ready to be used, and I just leave them there. I come home and I lie on the couch and I sit around, thinking about how I should do many things but don’t bother. I have laundry to do, words to write, things to make, spells to cast, heka to practice and yet… I come home and do nothing.
A slap in the face with reality, so early in the morning, thanks to Djehuti.
There are days where I am supremely grateful for gods and the relationships I’ve been able to cultivate with them. Today… today is not one of those days.