A Crucible of Comfort

November is to be a month of uprooting for me, though I have known about the impending changes for some time. I have hesitated to make a point of blogging about them, but have decided putting it out there may help illuminate the positive sides of some of the impending disappointment.

I have lived in this apartment for over three years now. It was intended as a stop gap measure until something better could come along. Until my writing was solid. Until I had some money saved up. I have never especially liked living here, and have for at least the last year wanted very much to leave this place.

I will be doing so, but only so as to move in with my mother for a while. I am not proud of this, as you can imagine, but the depressing fact is that the money is not there. Not from writing. Not from any kind of side job. Not from anywhere. This place is a dump, but I can no longer even afford that.

Plenty of you that have read what I write or tweet will without a doubt conclude that the reasons I have not been able to support myself totally is because I didn’t want it enough, or that I didn’t establish a personal brand. That I am an introvert. That I haven’t made up my mind to just positive think my problems and obstacles away. I haven’t made the effort each day to step outside of my comfort zone and be scared. I don’t network enough, and when I do I don’t do it properly.

That insulting and inaccurate list goes on and on. None of it being applicable. But to those who apply it to myself and to others who have not met their goals, you cannot be convinced otherwise anyway, so there is no point in my attempting it. Circumstances, and not my lack of drive are responsible for this particular failure.

And it is a failure. It is at least the 11th or 12th timed life goal that I have set for myself in adulthood that I have been unable to reach. (Moving out of here under my own power by the time I did so, to a place of my choosing.) If I think about it too much, I will spiral into a depressive state which can be of no use to anyone. Yet I will not pretend that the anger and sadness isn’t there. It is. I cannot, once again, make any fucking thing work.

My biggest fear at this point is that living with my mother in her home will remove any spirit that is left in me to continue doing the things I do. The novel, this blog, the freelancing, (if you can call making a few hundred dollars a year freelancing.) I fear that once I move back in there, the final blow will have been struck to my desires to improve myself, and after a long string of failures comes into sharper focus, the awful clarity of the situation will reveal that I am simply not cut out to succeed. That I will sit in my room, and come out for dinner, and nothing more.

This worrisome descent is of course not my plan. It is not what I want. And despite the potential for crippling self doubt at this point, I will follow the advice of many of you out there as far as I can. I will look at this situation and evaluate what could be made to work in my favor. I won’t give a comprehensive list of what opportunities this may entail within the darkness, but I will point out a few things, so as to keep this post balanced for you “think positive” types.

For one thing, I will be getting rid of a lot of shit. I don’t own that much to begin with, but if I am going to live in a room instead of in my own place, now is the perfect time to cut back on the sheer amount of matter for which I am responsible. I estimate that if all goes well, I will posses on third less material than I do at present by the time I complete the move. Less is more.

That applies to mental stuff as well. If a person can only process so many things in their brain at any one time, then the less mental energy and stress I spend on maintaining an apartment and finding desperate ways to afford same, the more of my brain will be freed up to dedicate to writing and creating. Part of me feels that I have never felt truly free to delve completely into my writing, from both a creative and business angle. Reducing my universe to a smaller entity with fewer outside distractions may help me at last determine what the missing X Factor has been. An even more minimalist approach to my daily existence.

I may even be able to become one of those reclusive writers that becomes so absorbed in the nature of what he is writing, and for whom, that he has no need for anything else very often. My life reduced to a dark room, books, tea, and ideas. I come out to shave once a month, and do what networking I need to do online, (as usual) until such time as I need to go do an interview or meet a publisher or something. I don’t know exactly how that stereotype works, but if becoming it would help my writing, I am all for it.

It can be a convenient rebooting point, (assuming I don’t get swallowed by depression.) With new surroundings will come a new perspective that is ripe for an altered approach to things. In theory I can use the change of venue and pace to view what I am doing differently, and perhaps come up with something more effective.

Then there are the more practical things. I will no longer live within a block of an ambulance, fire and police station, each with their own sirens that go off 30 times a day.

I have no idea what the future will hold in this move. I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone the other day, and she put it this way. “Do you really have any choice but to succeed?” I saw her point, but the scary thing is, that won’t help matters if I can’t get the job done. I may need to succeed in the new environment in order to survive and to change things, but just because I need to, that doesn’t mean I will be able to. People fail to get what they need all the time…

Yet I may find myself, at least for a while, in what I am calling a Crucible of Comfort. Wherein certain pressures and worries will be removed from my daily life, thus necessitating and even greater focus upon that which I am built to do. Write. Act. Create. Once moved in, I may face the truest test of them all in regards to my goals about writing. I will have literally nothing else to think about, and nowhere else to go. If I can’t make it work under those conditions, I may not be doing the right thing.

In any case, I plan to hit the ground running. I want to be moved out of here by Thanksgiving Day. As soon as I am there, I want to begin rearranging the way I do things. Simplifying. Maybe hiring someone eventually to offer some suggestions. Build a new website. I don’t even know all of what I will do yet. But I won’t be tarrying. I cannot afford to do so.

Thoughts? Advice?


  1. Thanks for sharing some of your recent struggles. I'm sure moving back home is difficult in many respects. Both my older brother and younger sister did it at times. I suspect if I hadn't met my husband in college, I would've been back home as well. No way I could've supported myself on the minimum wage job I had after graduation lol.

    I think some of the potential good things that could come out of this are *really* good things. The time and ability to refocus some of your energy onto the things you really want to be doing (as opposed to other life circumstances) sounds pretty appealing to me. But I do understand the flip side, the uncertainty. The fact that you worry about “the worrisome descent” is a good indicator (in my opinion) that you're not headed that way.

    I won't bore you with any positive thinking type stuff (you know where to find me if you want to hear it haha) and I certainly wouldn't blame you for a situation by assuming you could've fixed/prevented it with positive thinking. That's BS. But a little positive thinking can certainly help make the negative a little more bearable.

    I'm kind of excited for you, actually. Sure, it's not where you anticipated being right now, but like you said, it's an opportunity for a fresh start of sorts. A clean slate. Good luck!

  2. Your “crucible of comfort” idea is interesting, and true. When you remove certain pressures from your life that have been causing you anxiety (financial, in your case), it can free you up to concentrate more fully on the creative.

    But I understand the tendency toward depression. When I moved back in with my parents after college, I definitely felt as if I was regressing… losing my forward momentum… spinning my wheels.

    So don't ignore the depression. I'm a huge believer in having a positive attitude, and in using my reactions to certain situations as a means of having more control over my life… but I also have chronic depression, and am a huge believer in talk therapy. In fact, my therapist has always charged on a very generous sliding scale, so I know it's possible to find good help even when you're struggling financially. Just something to consider.

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