Aug 7, 2007

Fat Chick Speaks First

I had a choice. I could write about writing first, or I could write about the fat thing. Fat Chick won. So here it is, but don't worry, the writing part comes later:

I had my first weigh-in at Jenny Craig--yes, I have sunk that low--and lost a few pounds but I couldn't have cared less because it was the same few pounds that I've lost at least twelve times this year alone. I've said goodbye to that damn fat so often it's become routine. The result: I have absolutely no enthusiasm for the weight loss thing anymore, and that attitude won't change unless and until the number 1 starts sitting in front of my weight again. Seems like no matter what, I'll get almost to that point where the number 2 (who's a raging bitch by the way) is about to get the boot from my scale, retired if you will, but oh no, the little heifer hangs on by her fingernails, laughing and screeching at me that it's no use, I'm suffering for nothing, she's here for good, fuckyouverymuch. And so she ends up staying for another...six months. Until I try again to kick her chunky ass off the mountain that is my body.

Now on to writing.

One of my professors once said that the two greatest enemies a writer has to face are procrastination and envy. I thought the envy part was a bit harsh until I caught myself talking to that same professor about Jhumpa Lahiri's The Interpreter of Maladies and how much I hated the fact that Lahiri was only 33 years old when she won the Pulitzer for that book in 2000. I was 32 at the time and when I connected those two phrases--"33 years old" and "Pulitzer"--I felt like I'd just been told that I'd wasted those 32 years because there I was, attending graduate school, while other women my age were out there winning Pulitzers. "Christ," I said to my professor, "how the hell am I supposed to compete?" To which she briefly arched her eyebrows and replied, "Exactly my point. Now let's talk about procrastination."

And we did. It's my worst enemy by far, my only real enemy, actually, since I am honestly the kind of person who's happy for others who achieve good things in thier life. Envy doesn't really run me that much, but procrastination certainly does. I am, as the saying goes, Procrastination's bitch.

I have no earthly idea why this is so. I juggle multiple projects at work and home; I attended undergraduate and graduate school while working six days a week and raising a pre-teen son. I know I'm not lazy. Yet, even the thought of sitting still and writing this blog brought forth such a strong urge to do the dishes instead that I would probably be up to my elbows in suds right now if I weren't at work. Sometimes I feel as if I have to back myself into a corner, leaving myself no physical alternative but writing, in order to actually write.

This would all be understandable if I hated to write, if I were a mathematical engineer who viewed writing like a dried up piece of dead grass. But writing is life to me. Written communication--especially storytelling--is the energy that rides inside my veins and bathes in my blood, becoming a part of me. I couldn't live without it. In fact, I'm one of those annoying literary snobs who quotes authors, salivates over book clubs and copyedits every bit of writing that crosses my path, including license plates.

Yet my book remains unfinished. And every year that it remains unfinished I think to myself that if I don't finish/publish/sell the thing there's no way I can even be in the running for a Pulitzer at 33...someday soon to be 34... The whole thing has me split in two, with one half screaming at my fingers to type and other half longing for a pile of dishes. I just don't get it.