I’m not feeling very bloggy tonight. All day long I was longing for the time when I could leave work, come home, put on some comfortable clothes, and sit here with my laptop and do a little writing.
But, as always happens, when I was actually sitting here in comfortable clothes with my laptop on my lap, all inspiration drained out of me like someone pulling the stopper out of the bottom of a sink.
So, I thought I’d just ruminate a little on writing itself. I’m making this up as I’m going along, so I apologize if it seems disorganized.
Why do we write?
Well, we want people to read our stuff, of course. We get a thrill out of that. Otherwise, we wouldn’t do it. We’d take up woodworking or quilting or cocaine or something. But those things don’t hold much of a kick for us because we get an enormous thrill out of writing something and tossing it out there into the ether for others to read.
Remember how, when we first discovered we liked writing, we’d write something and hand it to someone (a friend, a relative, a favorite teacher)? Then we would hover about them like a seagull around someone with a bag of cheese puffs, observing their most minute facial expressions, their tiny little utterances, even the way they turned the pages. We would wait extremely impatiently for them to finally stop reading and lower the papers.
“Well,” we’d ask them expectantly. “How was it?”
What did we expect them to say? They couldn’t very well say, “Well, that sucked big-time!” Or, “I’m pretty sure my dog can write better than that.” Or, “I’m swearing off reading from now on. I can’t take the chance that I’ll read something that horrible ever again!”
No, they never say stuff like that. They are polite. They smile with gift-face as they hand the papers back to you, their frightened eyes saying, “Please don’t ask me any questions about what I just read!”
But we do.
“What was your favorite part? Was it funny? Did you catch that part where the main character basically admitted he had a crush on the female character?”
The questions go on and on and on.
And one by one we lose those friends. They just can’t take the strain of not being able to tell us the truth.
That’s why writing is such a lonely profession. One by one, we chase away everyone in our lives … or at least we stop telling them that we want to be a writer. Being the friend to or a relative of a writer is exhausting business. We are bottomless pits of anxiety and self-doubt when it comes to our writing and no amount of compliments or encouraging words are enough to make us feel like our stuff is ever good enough.
And yet …. we can’t stop. We’d sell our soul to see someone laugh at something funny we wrote, or to see someone fight back tears as they read something poignant we wrote. Yes … our souls.
But we don’t sell our souls. We slowly auction them off piece by piece hoping to someday feel that one thing we hope to feel. We write something, a little piece of our soul … toss it out into the world … and then all we can do is sigh and hope that a few “likes” will be a good enough substitute for what we really want.