So many people reach a certain age and decide they are done. I see these people in my family tree, draped in cloaks of nonchalance, content in their oblivion. Done learning, done trying, done caring.
I joke with my husband that he should smother me in my sleep if I ever turn the corner to Meh Town. I would rather nary an original thought in my head than live of a life of indifference. That kind of stagnation means imminent death; maybe not for the body, but absolutely for the soul. The choice of no progress, no growth, nothing new to offer? That’s a kind of suicide I don’t want to know.
And that is what I fear most for my writing: that it doesn’t evolve because I don’t. I’ll choose the same words and the same sentence structure, pulling anecdotal tidbits out of my past in hopes they’ll pass for something current, publishing with one eye closed so shrapnel from the literary backlash doesn’t completely blind me. I’m a nobody in this wide world of “authors,” but I am a somebody as long as I keep stretching myself.
The stretch can be exhausting, though. The stretch requires so much time, and takes away from the things that are already slipping through my fingers. I’ve always believed ignoring writing and living life is a sure-fire cure for writer’s block, but what if after I’m done living, there’s no time left for writing? Is that why I continually interrupt myself to “fit it in?” Fitting it in is sure a terrible thing to say about your passion. The possibility of losing my passion makes me nauseous.
If the writing doesn’t get better or deeper or more meaningful or whatever it’s supposed to do when 35 turns 45, what does that say about me? Will I continue to cling to my affinity for trios, happy just to be here, or will I strive for more and sacrifice the one thing I can never get back: time? Maybe this is exactly what Melvin Udall feared: what if this is as good as it gets?