I’m kind of jealous of the “Fuck You. Pay Me” people, because then it’s really easy to say no to things. No money? No work. But yesterday, I had to decline to help a friend with something because, honestly, I just don’t have it in me. It’s not just the commitment to Pith and Project X, it’s the ghost story I want to send to this literary mag that I’m feeling like shit about (the story, not the outlet), and the interview I need to do, and the ways I’m behind at work and on and on.
It’s good to be busy. But it feels weird to say, “sorry, no. I can’t.” It makes me think about how much we’re socialized to try to help, no matter what, especially if the only cost of it is our own time. And, especially if the only thing that would suffer is our own work.
I read someplace recently–maybe in that Carole Maso book–that being an artist is about being selfish in ways. And I kind of bristled at that notion. Not me. I’m not going to be selfish. Being selfish is bad and wrong and there has to be a way to make being creative work without being selfish.
Eh, now I’m not sure that’s really true. I don’t think you have to be completely selfish, but you do have to be honest with yourself about what you need to do the things you need to do and you have to be a hardass about protecting those things. Otherwise, they just get eaten up or pushed aside. They’re so easily lost.
Which I think is another reason that I’ve just been in a piss poor mood. The Butcher’s workload has lightened (which, in real life is a relief) and football is over. So, the long hours I had at night to write–when things were silent in the house–are becoming much rarer and I’m adjusting poorly.