Saturday, July 14, 2012

Work in Progress

Being a recovering high school English teacher, I tend to frame my world in metaphor. Being a writer, the metaphors often take that route.

I mentioned going through some life revisions to a friend earlier this week. But yesterday, as I found myself asking "what the hell am I doing" several times, I realize I'm not revising anything.

I'm a work in progress.

We all are, really, little works in progress. Yes, conventional psychological wisdom indicates an individual's personality is fairly crystallized by thirty or so. Yes, I'm past that age. But really, our lives--what happens to us and what we do about it--continue to develop. And that's what I'm doing, developing. Adventuring in undiscovered countries.

For the first time in a long time, I don't know what the future holds. I never really did, but when life was routine, I found myself living some sort of delusion: it has always been this way, it will always be this way--neither statement is true. Neither statement has ever been true.

In "Guided by Wire," Neko Case sings

Life is not a constant thing
It's only made of short stories

Yes, true. To a point. I'd like to think life is like a series of short stories with overlapping characters, something like Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried but without the landmines and snipers. But to think of life as one single work constantly needing revision... No. It is more like a story collection.

So "what the hell am I doing"? Living. Hollering big, barbaric yawps when I have the chance. Seeing where this manuscript heads next. I have many stories yet to write--and yes, some of them are fictional.


Katey said...

Work in progress, yeah, I like that. I mean, it's scary, but... that's appropriate.

Unknown said...

Work in progress. Yup.

A collection is a nice way to think of life.