Writing is a disease I can’t shake. And I keep trying more of it to flush it away, like antibodies to the rescue. And it keeps not working, like disappointing lab experiments. And it keeps having its funding renewed so more twisted experiments that go nowhere can be tried.
Writing is like a love affair with a person you can’t stand. A person who says the wittiest, charmingest, smartest things imaginable but who has atrocious table manners. You think you love this person and then when you’re together, just the two of you, the words “intolerable,” and “what have I gotten myself into?” play on repeat in your head. You try to have a casual, at-a-distance relationship, but your would-be lover keeps reminding you what could be.
Wanna be a struggling writer? Just be a writer! Just say you are a writer, and if you have one shred of honesty about you you will feel the struggle.
It starts with an alarm clock. You told yourself morning is the best time, so get your ass out of bed. Now you feel honest. And you’re standing in front of your desk trying to imagine the words and clever turns of phrase that will put that honesty to work. Now the coffee has sputtered out its last paean to percolation and you’re on. You’re next. You’re up.
You’ve typed your password and been welcomed by Windows. The filenaming routine cannot be prolonged. It’s you and a blank page and the more times you let that Conor Oberst lyric rattle through your mind the longer it will be before you create something.
And you know how good it feels to create something.
It’s just you and the universe now, and you have the honor and privilege of discovering, uncovering something hidden in the trees. A whole new species of something, or maybe just a lonely tree frog chilling in the canopy. You delicately reach forward, knowing you could lose your balance, and then where would you be?
You’ve lost it before, ended up on the forest floor. The dense velvet covering is almost too much for you and there is no light, no light. You can’t show this to anyone.
You can stumble around in awe for a while, and even stay there if you don’t care about seeing your friends again. You can consider bringing back a specimen, but you know the planet will reject you if you upset the balance. And you know your loved ones will not be impressed by something out of place and orphaned.
You trudge on. There is, in fact, a light ahead. You stare up from the clearing and wonder how high the sky is, how far away your little tree frog has gotten. And will you ever see it again?
You let it go. You walk forward. You discover that there is not just forest. There are all the biomes you memorized in fourth grade when you learned the word biome. And there are memories. There is a whole party going on over there.
A pterodactyl of sorts rushes overhead and you duck. For a moment you stay low figuring the crouch could not be that uncomfortable even for long periods of time.
But after a while your Achilles’ tendon starts acting up. You sigh, right yourself, and keep walking, resigned. You are a writer.