Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm a Liar

I went to North Korea, and I'm getting married. My apologies for fast-forwarding, but today it feels like a necessity. After all, this is a blog, and I'm the Boss of My Own Content. Besides, sitting in front of me on my Formerly-Known-As-Dining-Table is a stack of things to do. You know what I'm talking about if you're a blogger - all those things you didn't write about, but have been meaning to write about. So, I'll give you the abridged version, and then I'll tell you why I'm a liar.

Getting married - I'm engaged to someone I met not once, but twice, in a crowd of 40,000 people at a massive costumed event in Hong Kong. Consider those odds, if you will: 2 people in a crowd of 40,000, meeting twice, mostly unrecognizable in costume. Nearly two years on, it's still unbelievable to both of us.

North Korea - For years, it's been my dream to journey there, and I finally made it happen. Incredibly, I got a chance to sit in Kim Jong-il's actual seat for the Mass Games ceremony!

Okay, that's about it for the big, archived news. Now for the breaking news. And why I've entitled this post as I have, that I'm a liar.

For two years, I've been writing a book called "Live from Mongolia!", a story about a banker who leaves her supposedly awesome, lucrative job to follow a dream all the way to Mongolia to become a journalist. That's my true story; that's my coming book.

But what about now? What about right this minute?

Right this minute, it's a weekday morning, and I'm sitting in my pajamas, something that disappoints me to no end. When I had a job, a real job, I arrived everyday before dawn. Although I complained bitterly about the hours, I secretly loved them. Waking up to an alarm, knowing I had somewhere to be, being committed to a role: that was some good kind of pressure, the kind of pressure that made me react, do, achieve.

And now? And now I have nowhere to be, no real reason to even get dressed, only a persistent call of duty to finish this book. And that's why I'm here to tell you today that I'm a liar.

Ever since I left banking, I've run into colleagues here and there: a few weeks ago in Union Square, last night at Grand Central, even overseas. "Wow, I'd love to have your life!" they remark, and I nod politely in agreement. Of course, it is wonderful to have this life, this freedom to sit in my pajamas until I go to bed again, if I please. But that's not what I'm talking about.

What I'm talking about is...I seem to have misplaced my fire.

When I first started writing the book two years ago, I'd get a lump in my throat every time I wrote what I thought was a particularly well-phrased description. Eyes watering and overcome with the emotion of passion for one's duty, I'd sit in cafes around Manhattan with a goofy grin, grateful for the mere opportunity to express the literary gift I felt I'd been given.

And now? And now, two years on, I miss that old innocent excitement. The effervescence with which I approached each day has gone flat. Presumptuously expecting good turns of phrase, I resent my ability when it doesn't heed my bidding.

And so, I'm here to tell you that I've lied. That I'm no longer sure about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. That cafes are distracting. That a flexible work schedule is completely unempowering, even though I've told you otherwise if we've met on the street. That I don't want to be in my pajamas right this moment.

So, on that note, I am going to get dressed and go to a distracting cafe. With or without you, passionate fire, I must soldier on.


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Somnambulist said...

There's an oft (perhaps over)-used phrase in the world of sport that 'form is temporary, class is permanent.'

All talents ebb and flow, as does personal discipline. It's natural, when things are waning and uncertain, to romanticise about former times and those parts that instilled a sense of purpose. It's all human, including selective memory(!), and it doesn't make you a liar.

I've recently shared such down-times, when events have conspired to force reconsideration, and I too wondered about retracing my steps. "Was it really the smartest thing to walk away from the gravy train?" Those events, thoughts and doubts are now a few weeks behind me, new doors are opening, and right now I couldn't be happier or more convinced that I'm on the right path...

I urge you to 'soldier on.' You have class, Trish. The fire will re-kindle, probably when you least expect it.

Patricia Sexton said...

Thank you. I think I discovered my fire - it reappeared editing a few days ago. Blazed thru an entire chapter in a day, like Paulo Coelho mentions on his own blog: starts his day hemming and hawing and suddenly realizes its past dinner, and the maid is trying to get him to eat. Same thing happened to me - minus the maid. Very helpful to know that someone else out there has been romanticizing, and then realit-icizing. And perfectly comfortable in the ecstasy of the latter.

fingers said...

I've always suspected that deep down professional golfers get sick and tired of playing the game, putting on those ridiculous clothes and trudging up and down the fairways in bright sunshine all day.
I bet Tiger Woods secretly dreams about sitting at a desk staring at a screen for a living...

Patricia Sexton said...

There's a whole book that could be written about golfing attire. Is there anything worse? Anyway, point taken - the grass on the green is always greener on the other side.