Ah, October, the month that holds so much possibility. Before I moved, I remember thinking of October as this oasis — by then, my sister’s wedding would be over, and surely I’d be all settled in, and working out of my cozy little office, and producing coherent, beautiful streams of writing.
It’s only October 1, so I’m not going to give up my dreams for October just yet. However, I will say that my office is still full of paint buckets and ladders, with the doors and flooring stripped, and that cozy is certainly not the word I’d use to describe it. Half my possessions are still in the garage, and so are a good portion of my sister’s (she had to be out of her apartment to move in with her husband before Oct 1). I’m only doing paid work at a rate of about 30 hrs/wk now, but my mind does not feel in any way uncluttered enough for productive writing. I make mini goals for myself: as soon as I’m settled in, as soon as I have a desk again, as soon as the sun comes out! I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have trouble writing during transition.
Yet, I was realizing a few days ago how ironic, and perhaps pathetic? it is to let transition interfere with writing. After all, good narrative arcs are all about transition. Both fiction and nonfiction gravitate toward the places in between — the transition from leading an uncomplicated, single life to all the complications of falling in love; the transition of taking a new job, of moving to a new place, of learning to live with or without a loved one. The stories of our lives, the thickening of our own plots, are really contained not in the “settled” periods, but in the transitions. That’s why I’ve started special writing projects around transitions in my life, and I’m working on one now, too. Sometimes all my other writing needs to take a back seat, so that I can take the time to make sense of my own life story. Still, I hope the outline of the next chapter will become a bit clearer as I sink deeper into October.