What Would You Burn?
And nearly a year later, I remember I have one of these. Huh. So much for my keeping this blog regularly updated. My poor circus.
For the sake of time, I won’t go into all the details. Suffice to say, it’s been a very busy year since the last time I wrote here. I’ve graduated from CSULB as a Creative Writing major, Magna Cum Laude (not that I like to brag, but I certainly feel accomplished), and have since begun taking slow but steady steps toward proper adulthood, which is both a thrilling and terrifying prospect for someone who feels so unfamiliar with the wider world. I’m likewise in the process of writing a novel, and its taking me longer to get done than I would like. I hammer away at it regardless, and with any luck I’ll have it finished by the time the summer is done.
That brings me to the meat of this post: the novel. It’s a pretty big undertaking to try to write something like that, and just as often an ordeal as it is an experience to work on. It happens way more than it should that I put it off or find something to distract me rather than knuckle under and just do it, and this is true of a lot of things in my life – this blog itself is a prime example of how I’ve been neglecting the things I should be doing.
What prompts this post – and actually got me to get the circus up and running again – is a request put up by my good friend and confidant Elana K. Arnold. As a fellow writer, I’m a big fan of her work; her recently published first novel, “SACRED,” is definitely a good read, and one I would recommend wholeheartedly (though I personally believe its yet-to-be published sequel is even better… But I can’t talk about that now). Her next novel, “BURNING,” launches very soon, and she asked me to consider a surprisingly deep question: what would you burn?
When asked a question like this, there’s a lot to consider on my part. Had I been asked this a few years ago, I probably would have produced a laundry list of things, small insecurities and petty ideas scrawled all over it. It’s only recently that I think I’ve narrowed it down to two things, and ultimately those things connect in a ankle-high roadblock that seems to be constantly set in front of me.
I’d burn my hesitation and procrastination.
Hesitation is not always a bad thing, I know. There’s a point where its better to reconsider, reevaluate and otherwise not throw caution to the wind. On the other hand, I’m of the habit of hesitating too much. I look at my looming adulthood and the numerous responsibilities, challenges, and things expected of me – jobs, taxes, insurance, the daily grind – and I just want to curl back up in my childhood where I’m safe. I won’t deny that the future genuinely frightens me, and that I’m only making it worse by stopping myself; my brain somehow goes to that worst-case-scenario thought and I hit the brakes. I don’t want this Peter Pan complex, yet I still struggle to look at the future with major optimism.
First one into the fire, then. Boom. Look at it sizzle!
I’m also a serial procrastinator – I’m sure it happens to the best of us, but I’ve gotten quite good at it, much to my dismay. It frustrates me, this apathetic stance on things. If this blog is any evidence, I’ve started so many things with the best of intentions, only to lose sight of my goals midway through. I keep putting things off, shoving them to the side as I let distractions take over. It should not take the exertion it does for me to keep focused on one task until its done, and coupled with the hesitation and fear, serves only to keep me from getting what I want.
In that goes too. I imagine it erupts and bursts as it heats up, like popcorn: pop, pop, pop!
If only it were that easy, for me and for everyone else, to take their troubles and ills and incinerate them, watch them go up in smoke. But even the act of looking for things to burn burns in its own way. I recognize the things that hinder me, and I can take steps to fight them. I can let them go, put them to the metaphorical torch and let their ashes get carried away.
Eloquence aside, my thanks to Elana for presenting a prompt that not only got me dwelling on these things, but got me off my lazy butt to look at this blog again. Expect more from me more often by this point, as I start getting the circus back in gear.
Goodbye for now, and remember: don’t play with fire, use it to your advantage!