I have become one of those writers. I don’t know what that means but I know that it is something to be feared and despaired.
This means that my writing has become aimless. Something scattered and unsure, lost between screens or pages, depending on my mood or time of day.
I have become one of those poets, overly cricial of everyone but myself. A strange science. I didn’t see it coming.
What is this, you say – what does it mean? Simply this: I have accepted that to write and to write well, I must forgo any attempt at illusions of success, wealth, or otherwise normal existence and sacrifice all well-laid plans and adult hopes to the fantasies and wayward dreams of a child, who years ago sat on her bed with a journal and penned her first story – something about dragons. I can’t remember.
Teaching has delayed it. Editing has allowed for the illusion of productivity. Freelance writing has enable the purchasing of business cards.
Skiing and other athletic endeavors have delayed the onset of wine-induced insomnia and other addictions, unhealthy and ill-advised for “normal” writers.
I lie and tell myself it is a phase or that it struck suddenly, without warning. I will arise and find myself once again, not one of those writers but a writer, with a job, hobbies, prospects. Passion can be a, well, you know.
But there were signs. Quiting the 9-5 (I say) or being fired (they say) is one of them. The return to table waiting – another.
But there were more subtle signs to being one of them – I resisted. I dreaded, but eventually, have accepted that the path, the page – there is no turning back.
Sign 1: a tendency towards the constant fictionalization and exageration of the day to day of my day to day – or someone elses. I apologize immediately for committing anyone to fiction against his/her will. It was necessary. I promise.
Sign 2: The need to carry on my person both writing utensil and scap of something to write on in each and every pocket and each and every moment of the day. Just in case.
Sign 3: Insomnia. This is obvious. No one writes fiction during the day. An impossibility. The chaos only happens after hours. Editing is reserved for sun.
Sign 4: Spiral both into and away from my audience. I care or refuse to care who reads or publishes what. I haven’t written a query letter in months. I refuse to think ahead.
Sign 5: The book will never be completed. It is ongoing obsessions. Write, delete, write, rewrite, edit…there is a pattern to its incompletion. I should study.
Sign 6: Chocolate and wine. And skittles. All other food is optional.
Sign 7: I began a blog.
Sign 8: Friendships began and were based solely on the probabilty that if I paid enough attention and waited long enough, something would happen that I could then write about.
Sign 9: The idea of it, of writing is more precious than the actual writing itself.
Sign 10: No one can read it. Yet. Ever? I hide it, flaunt it, then re-hide it. The words are precious. I adore them.
Sign 11: And I hate them.
Sign 12: I sat until 5AM last night on the couch in the dark listening to the blue glare of the television set as I cannot write alone – and wrote nothing.
I am writing a novel and I have become one of those writers. My husband does not know. This will be interesting.