I’m not getting a tattoo, running away from home, or telling my boss off Johnny Paycheck style (as in his 1977 Country song “Take This Job and Shove it”.) I have no desire to ‘stick it to the man’ or break laws just to see if I can. The only authority I challenge is my own.
I have been afflicted with writing rebellion; specifically, the disregard for written deadlines.
You might be skeptical, but I can explain.
I finished the character research for novel character #3 over a month ago and wrote down a goal to have her short story completed by August 31st. It’s an emotional story and I want to get it right. For several weeks, I’ve waffled about where to begin. A part of me wondered if my procrastination was caused by avoidance (to delay feeling her pain).
Yeah, I hear what you’re saying: “Oh, boo-hoo, quit sniveling. Suck it up and write the stinkin’ story if you want to be writer.”
You didn’t say that? Ah, must be my inner voice of encouragement again.
I was ready to go with the avoidance of pain theory, until I realized that my progress came to an abrupt halt as soon as I wrote a “deadline” for completion of this story, as well as the remaining three character stories. A more disturbing explanation came to mind: perhaps I’m subconsciously sabotaging myself by rebelling against my self-imposed deadline.
If that’s the case, it’s a puzzling personality development because I’ve spent my life avoiding rebellion. I turned down party invites because I knew my awkwardness had no place at rowdy gatherings. I sensed that just being in a “cool” place would not make me “cool,” unless it was air conditioned. Oh, and I knew my parents would ask too many questions for me to get away with anything.
To eliminate any doubts of the uncool aura that surrounded (and still surrounds) me, I should fess up that I only got three invitations, and I decided to go to the last one – at the age of twenty. I shouldn’t tell you that I stayed at the party for fifteen minutes before beating a hasty exit, but I just did.
When I arrived at the party, my olfactory nerves were assaulted by a wretched smell. A haze hung in the room, worse than Phoenix smog during a High Pollution Advisory. And I couldn’t figure out what the funky plastic things on the tables were. Finally, the fog of naivety cleared: my co-workers were potheads. And this fish was out of water.
Like a poker player hides any reaction to a dealt hand, I attempted to play calm. At the same time, I imagined my brain cells suffocating. I had a big Abnormal Psychology test on Monday and a 3.75 GPA. I didn’t want to blow either one, so I took in as little air as possible.
I’m not sure if my dizziness resulted from the weed-filled air in the room, or lack of air. My ultra-geek mind imagined the police busting the party at any moment. I knew they would single me out of the group of sixty or so people and take me to jail and then I would have to call my parents to bail me out…and that was enough – I left the party.
It wasn’t a “cool” exit. There were no excuses, no thanks for the invite – nothing. I literally ran out like someone set my skirt on fire. When I got far enough away, I sucked in gulps of weed-free air, thankful to be on the right side of the law again.
My brush with youthful rebellion ended up being the uprising that wasn’t. Now, I have a chance to redeem myself. This is why I must rebel against writing rebellion and finish that story by August 31st.
This is why, if I had the dexterity, I’d give myself a swift kick in the rear.
What’s your biggest roadblock to accomplishing your writing goals? How did you do youthful rebellion? How are you rebellious today?