Do you ever lose faith in yourself, in your abilities, in the very things you know you do best?
Do doubts plague you, keeping you awake at night and fueling crazy dreams?
If not, quit reading right now because you’re a stronger person than I am.
A couple factors, including a serious lack of sleep (I hate going to bed, and for more than two months I’ve been getting up at five a.m. to go to the local Y to exercise) made me a doubting Thomas the last week or so. My faith in God wasn’t wavering, but my faith in myself seemed pretty shaky.
With the help of some writer friends who answered a multitude of questions for me this week on a project and my mother’s unwavering confidence in me, the tide seems to have turned.
The incomparable Joyce Maynard had a book of columns called Domestic Affairs published years ago. I devoured it time and time again when I was pregnant with Erik. She wrote about life with her three children and then-husband, about making pies and raising babies. She’s a superlative writer, and one of my favorite columns related a bad spell in her household compounded by a stopped-up kitchen drain. That clogged sink became a metaphor for everything rotten going on. She wrote that it seemed like one day the drain problem was solved, and life righted itself. That particular piece resonates with me still.
To stay with the water clichés, there’s an ebb and flow to life. Lately I’ve felt like a beached whale (despite all the zumba, toning classes, and tread milling), unable to do what I do: produce decent words, plot out stories, write a coherent e-mail.
But this week the dam broke, and I feel like myself again. Today my mom reminded me about the old pump in her grandparents’ backyard in Saginaw, Michigan. It had to be primed to produce, she told me.
Thanks Mom for the reminder, thanks Char and Anne Marie for the answers and thanks to my husband and children, who think having a crazy writer in the house is a perfectly normal thing.