Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Off Track


I spend a lot of time off track. 
I can see the track with its cobblestones and open spaces, winding through seaside villages I want to visit and arriving at destinations I am keen to see.  Some days I join the traffic. I too am one of the Traveling People, doing things and going places. And then there are other days. Mondays. Thursdays. Wet days. Windy days. Forgetful and forgettable days. Or just days when I am not moving.

On those days I slump into a cafe, squeeze myself into a plastic red booth and order a stack of pancakes I don't really need. Or I am the homeless man riffling through your trash, a tin can at my feet and a sign about my neck which reads, 'Feed the hungry.' Some days I am the wrinkled woman with faded photos in my pocket who walks into a library near you and tucks herself up in the back behind last week's newspaper.

Some days I am not a writer. I am not a mother. And I am not a wife. I am barely me. 

I get angry with me about those days. So pointless, so full of wasted hours. Then, in a last bid effort to rescue some of those hours, I decide to write anyway. Right there in what ever hovel of a state I find myself, I write. Sometimes the words are as flat as me. But often the words rise up with the wings I wish I had. They are full of everything I need to tell myself and can't.

And that is the writing I have been able to publish. Not the carefully planned out, well ordered, life-is-on-track writing. But the I-am-off-track-and-daring-to-write-anyway writing. THAT is the writing I have  success with.

Now, when I am off track, I grab my lap top. I sit in the mud by the side of the track I should be on and I write. I am not afraid to write in that place. And I am not angry with me any more. Because those words are flavored with grit. They are full of girl who sometimes sits because she can't stand and sometimes writes because she speak. They are the real words that come from that deep place inside that I used to keep hidden. 

And they are the words that return to me with an editor's letter of acceptance.

Off track is nice. You meet people there. People like you, friends. Because this blog is mostly my Off Track Writing. 
So now you know.
I spend a lot of time off track.

What about you? Off track? On track? Don't care?



36 comments:

  1. I feel like I am just now getting back on track...and it is feeling pretty good! There are days when I question the track, but I love going somewhere...anywhere! Love that picture!!!!

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  2. Well written post. I've been in that place. When we're feeling dark, we can dig deeper and the words are more powerful.

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  3. I am a bit off track today, I seem to be all be hind with everything and the more you try to catch up the longer things are taking to do.

    Loved your post.
    Yvonne.

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  4. I actually like to be there-- I think I do my best writing then. BTW, I love your description of the woman coming into the library--such perfect detail!

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  5. The few things I have been published have been unplanned, things that struck me that I had to get down, but that poured out of me, with little analysis. One was at a request from an editor who wanted a different side to a story I had already submitted. Perhaps sometimes we stumble upon a zone from which the best writing emanates?

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  6. It's hard to stay officially on track but lots of time when off track I am pondering my stories so in the end it isn't totally wasted time.

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  7. Off, on, don't care all at the same time. I'm really getting myself used to not choking myself with my own expectations. Pancakes are delicious!

    Alex
    Breakfast Every Hour

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  8. Lord, I can't even see the track anymore. Glad you found yours though :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  9. It's not fun to stay on only one track. Variety is the spice of life, isn't that what they say. I think being on different tracks teaches us different things. Another great post.

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  10. Woohoo! I love this post! Yes, don't be angry with yourself. Enjoy where you are and hope that it's where God has placed you, and not where you plopped yourself. :-)
    I don't like tracks. Sometimes I walk on them and sometimes I walk barefoot in the grass. It's all good to me. *grin*

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  11. I write from that off-track place as well, Tab. My memoir was totally from that place. I think this novel will be as well. And from this place, I don't want anyone else around.
    Karen

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  12. Well-written post! I write on track or off track, but when I'm off track it takes a little convincing before I'll actually write. When I do write though, it's often really good stuff and writing gets me back on track.

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  13. I'm trying desperately to stay on track. And I can't stop staring at that picture!!! I think I could write a whole novel on that world alone. =)

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  14. I was off track all summer, but I'm back on now. I hope to stay there. You are right, though, there's nothing wrong with being off track sometimes.

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  15. Perfect expression of that raw and vulnerable place from which our best work flows.

    I think I'm on track, on exactly the path I need to be traveling, just not appreciating the weather or the scenery right now.

    Thanks for the uplift today.

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  16. That photo is amazing, love it!
    Have a wonderful Thursday xx

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  17. Mostly on track... when I am not... then I make sure I get out of the house and meet up with friends who help me get back to being myself... then I am back on the wheel...

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  18. For a long time I thought I was off-track, but I am learning this is exactly where I'm supposed to be. I came kicking and screaming, not wanting to get dirty, sitting in the mud (love that part!) It has taken some time, but I am beginning to know peace and contentment in this quiet, off-the-beaten-track-kind-of place. Great post! Blessings!

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  19. This is so beautifully worded.
    I often write off track ;)

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  20. I specialise in being off track. More real I think.

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  21. I know this space well,
    Derailed is my middle name.

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  22. I used to think I was on track. Now I know I wasn't.

    Knowing where I am in relation to the track is a gift.

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  23. This was beautiful. You really have a way with expression, conveying the difficult and/or mundane with mystery and beauty.

    It would be fun (and enlightening) to go off track with you I think....

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  24. Tab,

    Much of my life I thought I was on track. Then I found out it was someone else's track all along, I had only been rolling mindlessly in the ruts they laid down ahead of me, and I flipped the car trying to off-road on my own. I'm hiking back up the hill now. Hopefully I'll do better on foot. My own feet.

    I love every word you put to paper, no matter what track you're on or off. I can't imagine having all that creative energy bundled up in one person. You amaze me.

    We missed your posts. I hope things with the family are going well. Your post from Monday was beautiful, as always, but particularly special too. Send us a pic of the little one. I'll be thinking about them.

    With love,
    Tara

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  25. Tabitha, this was extremely beautiful. Its so poignant...must say your words have magic in them.
    One of these days I will join you in an off track journey. :)

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  26. Great post Tabitha and beautifully written, I like your off track moments, amazing.
    I enjoy my off track moments,the unplanned times, that is when life surprises us most.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  27. a very interesting blog, please visit my blog too ... thank you

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  28. It's amazing how life leads you, I try these days to follow where I think I should go and if the day is a bit or total of track I know that in the dawn of tomorrow a new day a will start.

    Have a wonderful journey tomorrow wherever your track leads. xxxx

    Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a lovely comment :)

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  29. Beautiful post....I've been off track for a few weeks. Today was the the first time I looked/edited anything in a long time...maybe I'm finding my way back. It was nice to see I'm not the only one who falls off track in more than one way....Thanks for sharing!

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  30. Almost always off track. I like the view from there.

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  31. Off track is certainly raw and vibrant.

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  32. Totally understand. Appreciate the post. Thank you.

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  33. Well, here's to all the off track writers and those who just appreciate a good detour :) We rock :))

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  34. Tabitha, wow. And thank you. I just found your blog through Facebook of all places. Elizabeth and Donna had commented on your poem in Rose and Thorn. "I Am From" was so touching that I clicked the link to your blog. And found myself here. Thank you.

    I have been off track for so long that I'd almost given up. Depression has kept me from writing, even my blog. This post gives me hope. I will dive back in.

    Thank you for the reminder. And more, thank you for the hope.

    ~that rebel, Olivia

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  35. Completely identify with this post. Writing, for me, requires full honesty. If I try to plan it too much something about the feeling behind the words gets lost in translation. I just deleted an entire 550 word blog post for that very reason in face and came over here to get inspired. You have done that for me with ease so thank you :-)

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