If you couldn’t tell, I’ve had a severe case of writer’s block. One of my friends commented on my last post asking me to expound on what a traitor is in our society.
Nothing came to mind.
Nor did anything of interest about my life arise — I had no pithy observations, no comic narrations, and no new information to share.
I am very stuck.
It struck me that perhaps I was going through some sort of identity crisis — so I looked it up.
An identity crisis occurs during the adolescent stage of life and results in not knowing who you are, where you belong, or where you want to go.
This is my blog right now. It is a confused adolescent wandering around searching for a place to go or a person to be.
When this sort of crisis remains unresolved, the person undergoing the crisis has trouble “finding himself.”
My blog is having trouble “finding itself.”
I sent off twenty pages to an agent. My query letter stated:
Oregon Pilgrim concerns the struggles of an unemployed family to remain hopeful and close in an increasingly hostile economic and cultural environment. Paul and Danielle are two teachers whom were laid off due to budget cuts — just after building a beautiful log home in Central Oregon. Turning down partial solutions to their financial problems, Danielle starts a blog and leaves for Italy, following a wandering path of soul-searching and self-discovery. When she returns home, she takes a temporary, full-time job but feels conflicted between her financial contributions to the family and the mothering she longs to do. Both Paul and Danielle try to piece things together while their home wavers precariously in the balance. Will losing it be the destruction of all their dreams? Or will it free them to be who they really want to be?
Truth is, my blog has stalled. My family has stalled. Paul comes home exhausted and demoralized. I act as chauffeur, cook, teacher, and manager. I wonder what this past year has been all about. What have I learned? Where do we go from here? Are we destined to live like this — crushed beneath this wheel of endless financial pressure? Must we sacrifice our very souls for the mistakes we made? For circumstances beyond our control or unable to predict?
We have a steady income. We are paying our rent. We are eating. We afford some things. We don’t afford others. We had a Christmas. We haven’t had much else since.
This is life. This is real. This is what everyone else is doing. This is what you do. What I do. What we do.
The quest for the timeful life has unofficially been called off. I feel like a fraud. A sell-out. We’re back in. We haven’t escaped or done anything truly daring or attempted anything out of the ordinary.
The hounds stopped baying and sniff the wind, warily watching the horn. The horses stamp with impatience. The fog seeps in.
Should we call it a day? Or return to the chase?
After a brief respite, wandering around in the fog in confusion, I’m ready to return to the chase.
But what is the timeful life? Are we any closer to it today than a year ago? Why are we here? How should we live?
Everyday, I ask Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Yet, my heart aches with the inconsistencies, the lack of joy, and the lack of peace.
Instead of mounting a worthy steed and hotly pursuing our dreams, we are the hunted ones. The impatient, faceless soul-sucking American culture is nipping at our heels and panting in our ears.
I am tired.
Sometimes, I am tempted to get a full-time job and put my kids in school. Get television and watch it every night. Read what everybody is reading. Watch what everyone is watching. Become a voyeur of life. Wish for a life I have no intention of pursuing. Go to church and do what I want the rest of the week. Tell my girls to listen to their teachers. Don’t question anything. Just regurgitate what they hear. Work hard. Get good grades. Go to college. Get a good job so you can buy things. Get a good job so you can get a big house and decorate it in style and buy stylish clothes. Read self-help books and fill your conversation with platitudes you have no intention of applying when you chat at luncheons with your girlfriends. Improve your life, but don’t change it. It’s too hard to actually change anything. A leopard can’t change his spots. You are an American. Live as an American. Subscribe to a political party and seethe when it’s not in power and gloat when it is. Go into debt every Christmas. Buy the newest technology and never wonder where its made or how it was made or who made it. Never consider any of those questions. Just consume and get and win in the world. Win at any cost. And hurry. Don’t stop. Don’t wonder. Don’t question. Don’t cry. Don’t wait. Don’t worship.
Laugh at everything and anything.
Perhaps it is a fool’s quest. Perhaps I suffer from “fantasy uniqueness.” Trying to live a different life in this world is exhausting. It’s exhausting because there is no clear path.
So, I believe I have defined the problem. Now, for the solution.
The basic strength that Erikson found should develop during adolescence is fidelity. What is fidelity?
According to Erikson, fidelity is the ability to sustain loyalties freely pledged in spite of the inevitable contradictions and confusions of value systems…
which only emerges from a cohesive ego identity.
I’m working on it, okay?
It is time to define, to deepen, and to mature in what I hope to write in the future. Please be patient while I figure it out.