Paint by numbers

  • Aperture: f/11
  • Focal Length: 28mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter: 1/250 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D1H

Northport, Alabama

I know. I’m supposed to be asleep. I swore I would. Promised. All that jazz. I don’t keep promises. I’m not always the person I want to be. It’s 3 a.m. I haven’t slept at all unless you count the 30 minutes I slept in the bathtub. I’m so tired I’m stumbling into walls. I’m so tired I don’t care about anything. I’m so tired I sometimes wish I were dead just so I could sleep for a while. I’m so tired that sanity doesn’t really make sense anymore.

Sometimes I hate writing. Sometimes I loathe it with every part of my soul because it drives me to ledges I can’t negotiate. I’m throwing all of my time into a novel that no one will ever be able to read because it lies on such a narrow line between fiction and reality. I’m throwing all of my time into spilling words that sluice across my pages like blood, and the only words I have any more are curse words I can’t speak because it doesn’t fit the status quo of what anyone expects from me.

The Columbus story will appear in Monday’s Christian Science Monitor, and I’m supposed to be pitching new stories. No matter how many words I throw, more are waiting. No matter how fast I write, I’ll never catch up, never outrun the things chasing me. And I don’t know why this is breaking me right now. It’s nothing new. Nothing new at all.

My camera taunts me and tells me I’m supposed to be shooting. The walls of my house beckon and tell me I’ll never be able to have company over if I don’t finish painting. The drugs that curb the anxiety call from the cabinet, but I can’t write without the fearsome thing on my heels. The cure is the torture is the impetus is the cure.

And every word and every pixel and every brush stroke screams not good enough. Not f-cking good enough. I feel like time is slipping through my hands, like the superhero girl who has been handed a bomb, except I don’t know which wire defuses it. I’m keyed up and miserable, and I don’t even know why.

Somehow, in the midst of all that, I need to plunk close to 10,000 words down tomorrow. Because I said I would. Because I never keep my promises. Not to other people, but to myself. I’m nowhere I want to be, and you can apply as many meanings as there are words in that statement.

I’m just so freaking tired I can’t see straight, and what used to be my favorite time of the year just isn’t anymore. And that really sucks because truthfully, I’m kind of happy this year. I just need sleep. I just need time to detonate whatever bomb is about to explode in my hands. I just need… I don’t know what I need. I’m not unhappy. So what’s my problem?

Music: I’ll Fall With Your Knife by Peter Murphy (lyrics)

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