In preparation for my writing group tonight (Goat WriTERS! dun DUN dun!), I went to print copies of my piece on my work printer. It was around 8:15am, and I figured I could print a few copies quickly, while the rest of the office was stretching and getting their morning coffee.
Of course, like any other time I go to print something, the printer started to act abnormally. An error message pops up on the screen, I was suddenly terrified that I broke it while trying to print off my personal writing, and walked back to my desk quickly to look as inconspicuous as possible. I later learned that there was a larger issue with the printer and it wasn't just me (phew), and anyone who had tried to print earlier could go pick up their papers in a pile. Again, alarmed, I walked quickly through the kitchen and into the printer and copier room to find four copies of my poem, which is ~not safe for work~, sitting proudly on top of charts, letterhead papers, and scanned documents.
To calm down from the embarrassment (we'll now refer to it as the Poem-Printing Incident of 2017), I decided to take a bathroom break. I went to flush the toilet after I, you know, tinkled, and noticed it was stopped up. To be clear, I did not stop up the toilet with an overwhelming amount of pee or anything, it must have previously been clogged and someone left it. I quickly went into denial, thinking Oh no this can't be happening, and began to flush the handle obsessively, like this time it will work! Of course, it didn't.
Unable to find a plunger, I went to the front desk, who referred me to HR, and finally, I found one. Since the plunger was upstairs and very far away from the public bathroom, I then had to walk across my building, parading with the plunger, which is really the equivalent of a bathroom dunce cap. Thankfully, most people were too busy at their computers to pay attention to me, but I did manage to walk right past our President/CEO, with a smile on my face and a plunger in hand.
Luckily, he didn't say anything about my bathroom baton, but I for one am frazzled, although not at all surprised, by this stroke of Thursday weirdness. I feel like I am the type of person who cannot do any simple, normal thing without something bizarre and exaggerated happening, so I often take this strange life in stride and accept the messes.
Because we all know that life gets like, really crazy, right? We have work, obligations, plans, normal things like shopping and cleaning and showering, that all have so much responsibility attached to them. And within those big responsibilities, there are tiny responsibilities, and the spiral goes on and on. I have said before that just existing is exhausting, and it truly is. We are here, and going through each day, and therefore AWESOME because we have to deal with clogged up toilets and publicly showing our weird-ass poetry too many times in a professional setting.
So in this nutty life, it can obviously be hard to prioritize. It's difficult to create or work on your art when you're so busy, tired, and bogged down. I will often set times aside to write, but when I get there, find that I don't have the energy or the inspiration. Or I'll start but get down on myself because the words running from my pen aren't my best, and my hand is cramping from typing content at work all day anyway. I feel like I have this expectation that one day I'll have it all together, and I'll have an organized desk highlighted with natural light, and I'll have quiet time where everyone will respect me because I'm working on my next novel or whatever. I will be a real writer, and will have the space that I need.
But guess what? That probably is not going to happen. And I am a writer regardless. No matter how many commitments we have, or how much running around we do, we are still artists waiting for the next thing we experience to move us. We are artists because we are alive. And life stops for no one.
A few weeks ago, my boyfriend shared an article/comic with me from zenpencils.com. It was an illustration of an interview with Stephen King, talking about trying to write while being surrounded by his busy family and other distractions. The comic ends with "Life isn't a support system for art. It's the other way around."
You can read the full comic and article here.
That line really stuck with me as I tucked it away in the back of my mind to remember later. And this morning, as I was boiling over the top with the chaos of a busy week and a rather silly morning, it came back and gently nudged me forward.
Embrace the insanity and know that our art is what is keeping us afloat. It gives us the energy and inspiration that we need to wake up and go outside. Our lives won't give us chunks of time and special days to work on what we love, so we have to do it despite the lack of time. And when we do create, we give back. We support each other and the world around us, whether we have that ideal desk or not.