Friday, August 31, 2012

I Write, Therefore I Am

It's our last day in the quasi-Berkshires. We're sitting on the deck of the house we've rented, drinking beer and admiring the view. Henry is babbling happily in his pack-and-play; Rayne is throwing a tennis ball for Hudson, who is pretty sure he's died and gone to dog heaven. The weather is perfect.

Vacation is coming to an end and with it, summer. I keep waiting to feel "ready to go home," like one often does at the end of a trip. 

I even got stung by a wasp today in the lake.

Still, I wait.
I've enjoyed being out in the country immensely, and I'm not sure I'm up for returning to the constant red alert of the city. 

I've liked having the windows open, laughing as Hudson fetched himself silly and watching Henry contemplate sticks he's found while wriggle-crawling on the floor. I've liked having Rayne around, even when we are both on our computers. I've loved his grilled dinners and pancake breakfasts.

I'm not remotely ready to leave that all behind.

Gnawing at me even more, though, is the fact that I don't have anything specific to prepare for in the fall, and that scares the living daylights out of me.

The post-Labor Day, back-to-school feeling has always had a particularly strong hold on me. I've somehow managed to start most of my jobs in the late summer, not to mention graduate school. I even married in mid-July, so by the time we got all our accounts in order, autumn felt like a new beginning. And I finished my most recent job in September to start my new life as mom-to-be and then, mom.

New phases have thus always been created for me, bookended by jobs and graduations, punctuated with ceremonies and new commutes.

And here I am, having to manufacture a new phase on my own. A phase that begins with my decision not to look for a traditional job and instead write for a living. A living that, lest I delude myself, would never sustain my family without Rayne's considerable contribution. 

But enough of a living where I would feel justified in answering "I'm a writer" to the inevitable questions by well meaning friends and family. "I'm a writer," without caveating the hell out of it (just for a blog, just for myself, just on the side) or apologizing for it (just to keep myself busy, just until I'm done having children, just, just, just). 

The decision has been both liberating and terrifying. I feel lost without an exogenous set of goals, so much so that I've begun sketching out Fall 2012 goals under such headings as "Writing," "Health & Fitness" and "Henry." Sample goals include finding a new pediatrician, completing the New York City marathon and publishing a couple of short stories I have on the back burner. Should be a snap, right?

Not to be outdone, I'll also have a post-mortem with myself at the end of the year to review my accomplishments and shortfalls.

You think I jest. But I do not.

And, yet. The thought that I might actually get to do for a living the craft I love, the art that has always come easy to me... well, that's pretty compelling. Surely it is worth a little unstructured discomfort as the leaves begin to fall from their trees?

Guys? Guys? Is this heaven?