The Plan: No es un adios…

continued from Tuesday, November 30 blog post.

sólo un hasta luego.

Demetria Martinez saved my life last week. Okay, so as my writing coach, she rescued my mind from the downward spiral it takes when the writing is not going well. And for a writer, this is just as important as CPR. I confessed that I had been staying up too late, having recently discovered Hulu and the complete collection of back episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. I had just returned from an overnight trip to New Mexico State in Las Cruces, where I visited a Chicano literature course and gave a reading at the bookstore.

Henry and I don’t have cable. Our house is small, so even after the kids go to bed, I wear headphones to keep from waking them while I indulge in my guilty pleasure. After the reading, I visited with my parents and my brother, sister-in-law and niece, and then drove back to my hotel and stayed up past midnight watching the final episodes of season one sans headphones.

The next night K. woke up with a bad dream and after getting him back to sleep, I knocked out next to him in his little twin bed, waking every few hours each time he shifted, but never waking enough to get up and go back to my big girl bed. By the time I arrived at Demetria’s Friday afternoon, I just wanted to take a nap.

Organic, Henry Rael

She told me that this is a time of back to basics. Sleeping well. Eating well. Exercising. I reported my victories—writing on Thanksgiving morning, saying no to a new project, knowing that even those tasks that will “only take a few minutes” can suck away hours of writing time. More importantly, they engage Public Michelle, a part of me that needs to rest for the next few months so that Private Michlele can finish this book.

Demetria took self-care one step further and said that for writers, self-care is a matter of self-preservation. We talked about the upcoming holidays, kids out of school, travel. She told me to think practically in terms of putting on my armor and girding myself for battle. That’s when I started crying.

“I’m scared,” I said.

Fortunately, she didn’t freak out. She nodded in understanding and said, “This might not be a comfort, but what you’re going through is normal.”

Caro & Michelle, Richard Yañez

It was my friend, the poet Carolina Monsivaís, who first said to me, “You really don’t like being left out.”

La Muerte, Alicia Lueras Maldonado

She’s right. As much as I want to crawl into a warm and comfortable cave to write, I also really like people. I like doing important (and cool) work, teaching Writing to Heal workshops in Oaxaca or art and storytelling workshops through El Otro Lado in Albuquerque. I like playing the lead in “Yerma.” I like playing La Muerte in “Río de Lágrimas.” I like visiting classes and giving readings. And I like parties.

So it is hard to tell this part of me to rest. I am a little sister, and a part of me fears that if I withdraw in order to tend to my book, I will be five years old again, the little girl in a family of boys, watching their backs as they take off down the street on their ten-speeds and knowing I will never catch up to them with my Big Wheel.

La Familia, Diana Dominguez

Last week, in her fear of being left out, Public Michelle said I should check my email and Facebook and blog stats, make a few calls, and text some friends, instead of writing first thing. And soon it was almost noon, and I hadn’t written a word, which meant I could not go to lunchtime yoga, which meant that I would have trouble sleeping, which meant that I would be tired the next day, which meant that I would have trouble writing. (Cue: Don Music from Sesame Street.)

The truth is if I write before I do anything else, it sets the course for the entire day, and even Public Michelle is pleased with the results.

Read all about my new writing space on Tuesday, December 14.

Published in: on December 7, 2010 at 3:40 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Hi Michelle,

    I really enjoy your writing. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    Best Regards,

    Bill Wong

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