Look Ma, I Give Up

This morning was the grim sort wherein the thin whisper of heat emanating from the electric kettle feels in its proximity to my hands like the last flame on the face of the earth. And yes, I did in fact hold my hands near the kettle until it beeped only then did I pour the boiling water into my coffee grounds. Then I made a piece of toast.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my writing process. In part, this is because I’m in a composition class that expects me to do so, but also because I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the subject just out of personal curiosity.

In no way should my process be considered a gold standard. No one should seek to emulate what I do to cover the blank page. And for the love of Pete or whoever, don’t start walking long distances so you can enter a zen mind state from which you’ll let ideas pour. Returns are not guaranteed on your investment in this case, and even when they are produced they’ll invariably be warped by your dumb head and limited memory. Often by the time you get to a pen I’m grubbing through the carpet for the lost contact lens of my thoughts from the walk.

But I digress. I got up from writing for an assignment to move the wash along. Then, as I walked down the stairs to the laundry I started thinking on the idea that my long installment as a Stay-at-home-Dad has offered me on feminism. I pulled my son’s boxer briefs from the dryer, and still warm started folding them. Then, noticed that he’d failed to pick up his breakfast dishes. And then, feeling some consternation at the thought of doing this all for him, imagined he’d done all this because he doesn’t value the work I do.

It pissed me off! But, as I picked up his muffin wrapper and took his plate to the sink, I realized that it wasn’t intentional. That he was just being eleven. That I had, indeed, rushed him toward the door this morning because he was running late for school.

As I rinsed off the crumbs it occurred to me that giving up was my best option. Much like when I write, if I force an issue it will become everything I did not intend. If I walk toward the nothingness I can be, the solutions will spring forth if I let them.

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