The D Word

“This wretched brain gave way and I became a wreck at random, driven without one glimpse of reason or heaven.” Thomas Moore

I’ve been head down, focused on this tiny screen for I don’t know how long. Months? Certainly. But more likely: years. When I’m not editing, I’m rewriting or researching, cutting, adding, rewriting some more. And when I’m not working on my new novel, I’m organizing the Whistler Writers Festival, now in its 15th year (read this as a flagrant promotion of one of my passions). There are other tugs on my time. I know I’m not unique. Everyone has time issues. That’s life.

But I’ve come to see how I deal with this mostly self-imposed pressure, as if anew.

And frankly, I don’t like what I see.

It feels as though I’m so focused on what I’m doing that I forget everything and everyone else. I think I’ve written about this before.

You’ve heard me talk about skipping meals, exercise routines, and other personal basics. I’ve admitted to throwing myself mindlessly into whatever sugary treats I can find in the house when I’m stressed. Usually it’s jellybeans. But, when I’m desperate I can even raid my husband’s 85% chocolate stash. Yuk. Still, the chalky squares seem to provide some relief.  My mouth puckers as I write this.

It’s fine if I’m only wrecking havoc onto myself. It’s my way of coping and I know I’ll eventually get over it and get back to normal.

But when I’m forgetting whole conversations or I’m unable to leave my made up world for my real world, then I know I have a problem. Yikes. Who am I?

I tell my friends about this recent observation. They laugh at me as though they’ve known it all along. How could you not have known?

Well, I guess I sort of knew. I mean people have teased me about my focus my whole life. “If she wants something,” my mother used to say, “Stay out of her way.”

Another observation comes to mind − I’m unrelenting about everything I do. My take no prisoners attitude infiltrates everything, from cleaning the house to weeding the garden. Why does everything have to be so bloody important?

Who knows? I’m not exploring the why in this blog, only the what.

I see myself as motivated. Maybe goal oriented. Organized. All those positive words we all use in job interviews. What I didn’t see was the negative side of these traits: the times when I’ve ignored my responsibilities, snubbed others, gotten angry at the slightest interruption, seethed and lashed out with double-meaning, cranky words.

Driven. There’s that D word. Is that who I am? Really?

I’m seeing this as if for the first time. And I don’t like it.

What am I going to do about it?

Well, as one of my characters said near the end of my new novel, “I’ll do better.”

I will too.

No promises though. I’ve been doing it this same way for a very long time.

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