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Creative Irritation

I’m hitting that part of a creative spike where things like eating and sleeping fill me with irritation, because they take time away from writing. Anything that calls me out of the other worlds I’m building tap-by-tap is resented. Well, not quite anything–the kids and the dogs get a dispensation, but even when I’m with them or tending their needs, a part of me is running over a story or two in the back of my brain, shake-tapping the pieces so they’ll fall together when I can sit down and write again.

It’s funny, but now that the kids are older, they’ve started attempting to take care of me. The Princess will bring in fresh soft pretzels, the Little Prince will keep the dogs occupied while I’m hunched over my keyboard, alternately chewing my fingernails and typing at high speed. They’re bloody thrilled to take care of supper one day a week, and slightly less thrilled to keep the kitchen clean but they do it anyway. It is an exotic thing, to have one’s children call you to the table for supper. It’s like the moment they can buckle their own seatbelts. The pride in their achievement is married to a sneaking sense of mild loss and a larger wistfulness, hoping against hope that one isn’t forcing them to grow up too quickly.

Another symptom of the creative spike is intense, color-saturated, extremely fragrant dreams. Last night it was a particular classroom I haven’t thought about in years, but every detail–including the nasty short orange-flecked nylon carpet–apparently stayed inside the recesses of my gray matter, as well as the particular smell of chalk and the brand of fabric softener the teacher used on her slightly sour clothes. You know the smell–when they sit in the washer for a while, and finally they’re run through the dryer, but that tang of mildew remains? I always wondered why she smelled like that, and apparently my brain is still pawing lightly at the question. And dream-me is still running her fingertips along the edge of my desk in that room, every chip and crack familiar.

Anyway, the classroom started to crack and shiver, and neon-green jungle vines crawled in through the sides. I sat frozen as my classmates screamed in terror. All I felt was weary delight that finally school was out for the day.

I’m sure there’s some sort of message there, but I’m just going to call it a sort of mental upchucking to make room in the belly for other things. The only trouble with those dreams is that they’re not quite as restful as plain sleep, so I wake feeling frayed and even more irritated, desperate to get back to writing.

So. It’s Monday, I almost carried the French press and my clothes into the shower with me, I am fractious and longing to lose myself in imaginary worlds. It could be a lot worse, really.

Time to write.