Monday, July 9, 2012

Chasing Rainbows

'I slept, and dreamed that life was beauty;
I woke, and found that life was duty.
Was thy dream then a shadowy lie?
Toil on, sad heart, courageously,
And thou shall find thy dream to be
A noonday light and truth to thee.'

        - Louisa May Alcott

I have returned to the Cottage after a two-year hiatus. I feel a great need to step back from the world of professional self-promotion and just be me. Not the writer me, just the Christine me. I think I may be going through a midlife crisis. I find that writing about young, cool, attractive people is depressing at this stage of my life. I never felt terribly cool or attractive even when I was young, and now…. well… let’s say I haven’t mastered the “Midlife Charm” well yet. (a la Harry Potter).

It is difficult to face the reality of what your life is and realize what it might have been. When you are young you have all these big dreams. The promise of “potential.” My word, how much is made of our potential! I had a lot of it, I realize. Good brains, good education, good upbringing. Talent, so they said.

Creative types have the hardest lot, I think. We see the world in such rainbow prisms of possibility. The daily toil hits us hard. Sometimes I feel I need to stop looking at rainbows so much and worry about weeding my lawn. Then I see how many, many weeds there are and how they are entangling me. Even choking me with their pollen.

I’m sorry to be so blue. Blame Monday and this horrible, stifling, suffocating heat that steals the very breath from our souls. I’d rather have snow!

What do you do when you feel like the rainbows are nothing but vapor?


lori jo said...

You're like a sponge, Christine. Unfortunely this can be a blessing and a curse. May you soak up lots of good stuff today!

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

I was looking through some pictures the other day and found some of me from about ten years ago. Why did I not realize how pretty I was? Like you, I felt a little pang of wasted potential, or maybe a wasted appreciation of what I had going for me.

Like you, I'm troubled by the lack of older (but youthful and attractive) women in literature. Even in my 30s I thought writing from the viewpoint of someone a little older would lead to a richer story, which is why two of my protags in Tin Soldier are fortysomething sisters:

And just last week I completed a novella where my main characters are men and women in their forties and early fifties, and they're fun, funny, attractive, and totally in charge of their sexuality and careers. Sometimes they're deluded and focused on the wrong things, but sometimes they're insightful in ways that ingenues simply can't be.

Middle age isn't like it was when we were kids. People over 40 take up new careers and new activities all the time. They can be just as attractive as younger people and are usually a lot more interesting. You're only over the hill if you believe that you are.

Wendi said...


Blue here too...reality is hitting me like a ton of bricks, so I am searching for those rainbows to calm me. Life and security as I have known it for the past 14 years will come to a halt very soon. Goodie Goodie gumdrops.

I agree wtih Ann! Middle age is NOT what it used to be. And. learning from those older then I, it is 100% true that your 'age' reflects how you feel. My Gma was dancing at Pam's wedding to the song "doing the Butt" when she was 91. It's all relative. (literally hee hee) But still, it is hard not to think of potentials gone astray. They key is, to not look back on TODAY, 15 years later, and say "wow I could have done this..or that..." but to say "the 40's were so enlightening for me, a time of soul and purpose".... ok, easier said then done.

Big hugs to you and try to be grateful for the blessings and creativity that you do have. :)

Christine Hardy said...

Wendi, I am very grateful for what I have and I know you're going through hell right now. Please call if you need anything,even if it's just a drinking buddy.

Lori Jo, a sponge? Hmmm... Not sure if that's good or bad. ;o)

Ann, first of all it's fantastic to hear from you. I've missed you (and Ricky, Kalila, et al.) Last week I found some beach pix of myself in a bikini from five years ago. DH convinced me to pose for them. I was so self-conscious at the time, but now I can't believe how great I looked. I'm trying hard to look that way again. It feels like such an uphill battle, especially on days like today when all I really want in life is some of those cookies some evil co-worker left in the office kitchen.

I'm glad you're still writing and that you're found such interesting middle-aged characters. I confess one of my favorite things about Tolkein's work is that Frodo amd Bilbo both had their adventures in middle age and neither one had a love interest!

Eric W. Trant said...

I write about whatever age suits me and the story.

I can't say much about midlife crisis, or Blue Mondays. They come and go for me, and I go and come with them.

As Vonnegut said in Slaughterhouse Five: So it goes.

- Eric

Faire1 said...

Exactly my point. A blessing AND a curse. I've been struggling with being an unemployed, overweight 51-year-old, but I am realizing how freeing my situation is. No money, no about a blessing/curse...

Christine Hardy said...

Eric... I cherish your friendship. Damn, everyone's reminding me how much I have NOT got to complain about.