If you are a writer, you’ll need to learn to deal with defeat.
Right now I’m dealing with it, and its not about writing. There is a corporate 5K that I’m trying to train for, as mentioned in my general blog HERE. I’m really pissed about this. I’ve followed everyone’s advice. I’ve stretched and paced and breathed and even eaten mustard. I went from being okay (and then hurting myself) to nearly getting back to where I started (and hurting myself). Two days ago, I barely knocked off a mile and my muscle behind my left calf started screaming. Tonight (after a day’s rest, more advice) I barely got a quarter mile in before it started hurting again. I walked the whole mile.
I’ve done everything I could, followed ever scrap of advice, and yet my aging body is letting me down. I just went on a test bike ride (which I’ve given up for the duration) and I can’t even ride – I can feel the tension and don’t want to get in the middle of some urban wasteland and really pull it. So I’m stuck in a car for my commute with the rest of the cagers, trying to figure out what to do about the race that is coming up so fast that even if the leg was perfect and it was only a question of building wind, I don’t think I’d be ready.
I’m totally disgusted with myself.
In the background, I happened across a small writing contest, more of an informal thing hosted by an artist. I submitted a sharp little piece. And I just found out I didn’t win.
That’s really the way life works. I’m really pissed at the all-around failures of my recent efforts. Nothing I’ve worked to achieve has come through.
I’m backing down on a lot of things, hosting my retreat, as A. Dumas would say. I’m going to let my leg heal and get back to biking. And I’m going to turn my back on that contest and focus on writing. In a way, this blog (posted up in prep for Thursday) is a therapeutic little bit of effort, a nice vent that’s letting me work through the disappointment of pretty much everything.
Sure, maybe your aging body can’t run anymore. And maybe you can’t seem to get recognized for writing. But remember that writing is more than getting published. It’s about our art and doing what we enjoy. In a way, it’s a love letter to ourselves. So when the entire world turns against you, when everything is dismal and wrong, write anyway. Write even if you have the matches right next to the page, and you fully intend to set it alight the moment the last penstroke is done. Write it and fucking burn it.
But write it.
It’s our art and our therapy.