“There’s nothing to writing. You just sit at a typewriter and bleed.” – Hemingway
The only thing I’ve written in a long time is how I’ve written absolutely nothing as of late. And despite being at what is truly the peak of my happiness, endlessly inspired, and, alongside a busy schedule, making the time for writing, I just don’t know where to begin. In my journal I wrote that maybe I wrote because I was filling a void or emptiness, and now that it’s been filled with love and endless joy, I no longer have a writer within me. It’s a scary thought for me to contemplate.
It’s one Hemingway would agree with; he believed it was suffering that created the best writing. But he was an old alcoholic fool, and while I look up to him as a writer, taking his advice would be foolish.
Fitzgerald has said, “I love her and it is the beginning of everything,” and maybe that is a statement I should focus on to drive my writing. My love, my Jordan, was the beginning of a new book in the life of Claudia. So vastly different is this book that I don’t remember even a chapter of the books prior. But this love is difficult to get down on paper.
Even among the two of us, we ask ourselves if it will, “always be like this,” or if it’s possible that, “two people could love each other so much,” or if we are, “crazy to everyone looking in.” It’s not inaccurate…
We do not fight and very rarely bicker (I can count the times on one hand). We support each other and encourage one another to take it easy on ourselves. We endlessly have something to talk about, while sitting in silence is just as beautiful. We adventure together, laugh together, we are building a little family together. But a love so perfect doesn’t make a good novel. So, maybe I won’t write about love. Maybe that’s not the beginning of what I an destined to write…
I once started a non-fiction book about how to cultivate a happy life, how to assess the things in life that aren’t allowing you to be your very best self, and how to heal from trauma and challenges. This began some time after facing my sexual assailant in court, producing my TedTalk in New York, and overcoming my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But now, when I look back at the chapters of that book (I think I got to about 10 of them), I feel a disconnect from it. So, maybe that’s not what I’m destined to write, either…
A few things I do know well and write about with passion:
1920s Expat Writers
Following your heart
Eventually, I’d like to pursue a PhD. My thesis would revolve around those central ideas. The focus would be about how the expat writers of the 1920s who lived in and wrote about Paris portrayed this experience as being transforming, perfectly beautiful, and ripe full of success. When, in fact, it is the opposite experience for many expats: it is difficult to integrate, there is no success or wealth in the arts (despite how much France/the city of Paris advertise that they support them), living costs are extraordinary, Parisians are leaving the city because it’s, as Jordan says, dying, and being recognized for the production of English work is even more rare.
I’ve considered beginning my writing about this, perhaps starting with a focus on the lives of some of my favourite expats who have inspired my literary heart. And now that I’ve written it down, here, I feel even more inspired to do so. The only problem is that this is a project that requires immense dedication, and my schedule is pretty solid at the moment.
Have I mentioned I also got another job? Well, I haven’t received the contract yet, but I got a verbal invite by the owner of the company. It’s a Skype-based English Language Learning company that’s run out of France (but could continue with me when we move to Amsterdam). You get paired with adolescents and adults and you engage in conversation with them that has an intentional language learning focus. You assign them homework, and you work with them on a random weekly basis. It pays very well, and I’m considering using this as my secondary work over my work with QKids (a TESOL Chinese online company). I’ll still do QKids when able (another good supplementary income that can follow me to Amsterdam), but I would minimize my current schedule.
But, until that schedule is set and the contract settled, Mondays are: graduate course work + Qkids + Groceries + cleaning + dinner
Tuesdays: graduate course work + Qkids + Groceries + cleaning + dinner
Wednesdays: Strasbourg English School (in person) + (come home exhausted/break time) + write programming for SES + groceries + cleaning + dinner
Thursdays: graduate course work + Qkids + Strasbourg English School
Friday: graduate course work + Qkids + program writing for SES + Strasbourg English School
… so I don’t want to add “Developing a thesis” to that list, or the writing no longer becomes an escape but becomes work…
And! Soon we will be adding a puppy to the mix: Poe. We went to visit him this weekend and he has changed so much. He is (unbiased) the cutest puppy in the litter, and he is already so blue! We already miss him so much and are counting down until we get to bring him home (another month to go). Life will certainly get a lot crazier/busier/more full of love once that day comes.
But… I’m back where I started at the beginning of this blog: writer’s block. I don’t know where to focus my mind, and I’m not sure how to fill it into my schedule without making it feel like work.
Alas, I suppose this was enough writing for today, anyway…