Sunday, July 15, 2007


Sometimes I think life is like walking through a house of mirrors. It’s always me who is blocking the path to where I’d like to go.
Sunset in Park City
I’m hold up in my office today ~ allegedly working on this big writing project but really I’m just goofing off playing with the cats. I'm not particularly thrilled about this writing project. I'm not thrilled about any of the work I'm doing right now and I think maybe that's why I'm so grumpy these days.

It's my job to listen to clients whine about all sorts of problems and then ever so gently point out the bleeding obvious in a way that makes them feel completely and totally elated. (This is how ad campaigns like Tastes Great! and Fresher Longer! get invented.)

I am not a religious person but after several years in the advertising business even I'm resigned to the fact that sooner or later I'm gonna burn in hell.

My garden is blooming ecstatically this year and as I wandered around out there, I realized that's what I need to do, too.

I think this is what's called a midlife crisis. I've been all out of sorts because I moved out here to change everything! To quit the ad business (that never happened,) open a garden shop, (ditto) live a tiny life (half way there) and write a novel that makes people go ga-ga ~ kind of like how they behaved when the New York Times discovered The Lovely Bones.

I took my first-ever solo vacation last year to jumpstart the whole Great American Novel project. I rented a little cabin on the rainy Oregon shore. Curled up in front of the fireplace, turned on my laptop and stared at the screen for the better part of a day.

I formatted the title page.

I chose a really pretty font.

And, then I called my friend, Julie,
and asked her if she wanted to go get a beer.
In the words of some unknown author, that was all she wrote.

Catmint & Roses

The closest I've got and probably ever will get to writing a novel was that vacation in Oregon where I realized that people like Sue Monk Kidd are writers and people like me are lucky to be hired to do the 'easy stuff.'

I wonder if John Grisham ever stood naked in front of the bathroom mirror and said, "Screw it. I’m a hack. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I have to be a poor hack." No one aspires to mediocrity but we all get there sooner or later. Grisham probably tormented himself for years trying to write a great, deep novel. And then, climbing out of the shower one morning, it hits him: Who wants great and deep? When did that ever pay the bills? Now he churns out some dumb-ass mystery novel every couple years and owns a house in the Hamptons.

And, so... there you have it. My garden reaps the benefits of my writer's block. There are days when I'm sorely disappointed in my own laziness. But, at least I'm paying the bills.

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