Tonight Stoker and I had a chat about dreams and crap. The thing is that dreams are stupid. Well, that's sort of the conclusion I came to. And by dreams I mean aspirations or desires, not the kind that you have when you're asleep, although those are stupid crap too, nonsense and whatnot, though sometimes I sincerely believe I have the foretelling in my dreams. No kidding. And by foretelling, I mean "the foretelling," as a peasant might say back during the feudal days of yore.
So, the problem with dreams is that, if you're me, then you get hung up on them and they make you do lame things, like have fears that your life will pass you by and they'll go unfulfilled. And you'll be this selfish beast who looks back on her life and manages to have regret, though she's only in her early thirties, and despite all the accomplishments she's racked up, gets blinded by the things that she didn't do.
Ok, so enough of the cryptic talk. I'm talking about writing and all that shizz. And by shizz I mean shit, a word that I haven't used on my blog for a long time because I'm trying to have class and be a cut above all the clever, ironic, and crass shizz that permeates the web, but tonight I don't care to be all that. I'm feeling down. Beat up. Tired. Exhausted. And I'm listening to that repetitive song "The Greatest" by Cat Power, which somehow seems fitting. I didn't even do it on purpose, I kid you not. I was just perusing my iTunes library, looking for something that I felt like listening to, and I didn't feel like listening to anything, and then bam, there's Cat Power, and I was like, click. Ok. Fine. "The Greatest." Yes, once I wanted to be all that. And now. Nothing.
I remember once, when I was like seventeen or something (wait, isn't there a song with lyrics about "when we were seventeen" or something? Janis Ian? Someone else?), I asked my mom what happened to her dreams. Did she achieve them? Or maybe I asked her about something else, like how come her sense of humor wasn't as awesome as mine? (No, I swear that IS not what I asked my mom, but I have no proper recollection of what it was) I just remember the answer to whatever obscure, naive, and probably rude question I asked her (that's half my problem, I ask people questions even when they're rude questions, only to realize once the words have left my mouth that WHOA, that was rude. Idiot).
So anyway, her answer was, "Because Nikki, life beats you down, you know? It's hard. It squeezes those things out of you."*
You may ask, "Those things?"
No answer for that. Probably fun. Wonder. Awe. Or something altogether different. It fit into whatever context the conversation was in, but the point is, I get it now, Mom. Beat down. Yes. That's how I feel.
In any case, Stoker and I were having this conversation. I was trying to justify why I even give a shit to keep writing (not to him, to myself, he's supportive), because it's rough right now. I have no time, somehow.
I laugh to remember now, how naive I was before Corbet was born. Oh man it's hilarious. Just after he was born, I recall telling my mom before I lost my voice (for three months, that was a bitch), that I was going to go to Starbucks with him and write as he sat, peacefully (didn't say peacefully, but that was the image in my naive little mind), in his car seat and slept or stared at the ceiling, and every now and then, I'd stop and feed him or something. But mostly I'd just be able to write. And all would be cool and perfect in my little Utopia.
Oh Cat. How you so understand me right this minute, singing about being dumb and young and naive and stuff and thinking the world was your oyster.
I'm feeling bitter right now.
The problem is that I have no right to be bitter or full of any sort of regret. My word. I'm a spoiled individual. It's true. I have this perfect son. He turned nine months old yesterday. He has these amazing blue-green-brown eyes--that everyone mistakenly calls brown because they don't look closely, because they're not his mother, I guess--and they're so beautiful and sharp. He sees everything. And his smile is personally responsible for global warming because I'm pretty sure it melted the ice caps when he glanced northward one day. One look. That's right.
He laughs and I die. He reaches one tiny milestone and I'm aglow with the most repugnant parental pride the world has ever seen. Yes, I'm that arrogant that I think my parental pride wins out of all the other parental prides out there.
So I have him. And he lived. I thought he was going to die during my labor because I could hear his heartbeat drop to a dangerously slow pace with every contraction. And nothing went right and it was the scariest moment in my life when the midwife told me I needed a C-section, because, well, midwives. They're all au naturale, and suddenly they're recommending a C-section. But I prayed hard and he lived and I lived. And here we are.
And my voice came back. I was sure it wasn't going to. I was afraid it wouldn't. And yeah, it came back.
And I'm in Utah and it's the most beautiful desert flower in the world. And here I am.
So how can I have regrets? How can I be so ungrateful to feel upset that I don't have time to focus on this ONE dream?
I can't. That's part of why I feel so frustrated.
And Stoker said to me, tonight, something that just grounded me. That people who get their dreams just want to get a paycheck, to pay their bills. And that's true, I know. But me writing stupid stories that maybe one person might read is beyond money.
A billion people have said it, since cavemen were first dipping their fat fingers in pomegranate ink** and drawing circles and bull-horns on the cave wall, and I'm going to say it too. I have to write. (In Cavemanese: "Me have to draw bull." Stupid joke. But. Yep. Gonna leave it here.)
It's not about being read, though I would love that to happen. It's about organizing my thoughts. It's about pulling the chaotic world into my head and spitting it out into something that makes sense to me. When I write, I feel I've fended off confusion.
Not only that. I look at the world and see so much that's hideous, but among all that, there's this beauty. And I want to capture it. I have to express it in words. In stories. Stories organize matter for me. I narrow the scope of the enormous, massive, daunting universe into this small lens and focus on a small area that represents everything all at once.
And it gives me peace.
I'm not saying my dreams are dead. I've just got to figure out how to have my cake and be able to eat it too. I totally can. I won't give up! Dammit. I won't!
*Never call me Nikki, unless we're extremely good friends or you've been calling me that all my life. Or our life. Together. The life we've been living together.
**Pomegranate ink. The first ink known to humanoids.