#52: On Love and Neglect

I’m back on the novel again. Revised one small scene and started on another that’s proving tough to chew. What happens next is I’ll rework it until either I’ve whittled it down or I’ve put so much in that I’m forced to scrap it altogether and start from a blank page. To be expected. Yet the difficulty of the work has been totally out of proportion with the effort required to start it.

Why do we neglect what we supposedly love? Why do we procrastinate on our most important projects, our life’s work? Someone (one of you!) had asked me this a while back and I had said at the time that it’s because the loving of your work resides in memory, is a compression of the highs of the experience, when in reality you may do what you love for a slew of different and sometimes dumb reasons throughout that time: deadlines, wanting to feel accomplished, needing to pay the bills, etc.

I’ve been thinking this week that there is also a great safety in that love, and a resulting fear of loss. We tell ourselves, This is important so you’d better get it right, Bub. We elevate the particular work above all others and convince ourselves we have to approach it at our best, when really the work itself, if we are attentive, brings out our best. We also tend to neglect the love, assume it will always be there and we can go anytime so we end up not going at all, like a gym membership.

Sometimes we have to treat the most important thing in our lives as if it were the most routine. Other times we have to remember that it is anything but routine, that without care it wilts and yes this can turn into a huge contradiction.

Love requires work, and I’m relearning what that means.