This past month (or forty days, who’s counting), I’ve been away. I took a break from bullshit and annoyances, which meant going quiet in a couple realms where I usually participate, reading less on social media, and doing something altogether new in regard to the book of face.
Sometimes, I once wrote to a dear friend, you have to go away so you can come back.
Sometimes, you have to shut out
the things the people who are annoying you, so you can listen to yourself, and remember what it was to trust that internal voice.
Sometimes, you have to change from a moon into an octopus.
I think I’m at the midway point of that process — not quite a moon, not quite an octopus, but I have these emerging tentacles and arms and they are beautiful and fascinating and I can’t wait to see what they do.
This break involved stepping back from a long-time friend, to figure out where I stood with that relationship now — twenty-six years on. I mean, doing the math was staggering enough. That’s a long time to know someone, to allow them into your life and all its mess. It’s not easy to walk away from something like that. But sometimes, you have to go away.
This break involved stopping the cycle of “likes” on Facebook, and instead posting comments, in order to see how that changed my feed — and it did. It pulled up posts from friends I hadn’t heard from in a while, and it was great to see what they were up to. I also broke off with a lot of people there, and stopped saying yes to friend requests from people I’ve never interacted with before — sure, we have mutual friends, but that doesn’t really tell me anything else, does it?
This break involved stepping back from a writing project that has its hooks in me, to figure out where I stood with the ideas and characters now. This is a project that will not quite let me go, and yet I have not moved forward with it. It’s time to shut the fuck up and either write this project or let it go, and move on to the next thing.
This break involved stepping back from my long-time writing group, a place where I no longer seem to fit as well as I once did. I’ve been there a long time, too — but can still remember how nervous I was when it came to time to apply. Did I have the chops? I did and still do, but my voice feels irrelevant there most days — I no longer feel like “fellow writer,” but rather “editor they want to sell to,” which changes the dynamic.
Not quite an octopus, not quite a moon.
This break was good and I’m ready to shut the fuck up and get on with things. I need to write a letter, and I need to write a book, and I have hopes that, despite this week’s twenty-four inches of snow (!), it’s going to be a beautiful spring.
I had to go away so that I could come back.