This morning is a writing morning and I'm curled up on the couch with a mug of chai to the right and a sleeping cat to my left. It's picturesque. Except that there aren't many words on my page and though I'd like to explain this away as slow process, it feels more like failure.

My sister visited two weekends ago and I explained how hard it was. "It's like going to the gym," I said. "You feel great afterwards, but it's hard work while you're doing it."

"So Jenny, why are you doing it?"

I didn't have a good answer.

What compels the dream of writing to stick to some of us? Like someone's thoughtlessly dropped gum that attached itself to the bottom of my shoe, it's been lodged there since I was a kid. Writing. Being a writer. Telling stories. It's constant, this game of chicken with a totally intangible goal; it's me against writing all the time. And I don't quite know how to get rid of it.

I thought the answer had something to do with actually getting something out on paper, setting goals and meeting them. It alleviated the pain for some time to have pages in front of me, something to show my classmates, a document with words and words. But now I'm stuck (even though I spent 30 minutes telling Kelley last night that I wasn't) and it feels too hard and too made up and directionless. What am I doing?

Then I come to this blog and see how much easier it is, how much the wheels are greased already, how the words and thoughts come forward because I'm not intimidated by them. And that is both reassuring and frightening. Can I only write blog entries now? Have I zapped my writing stamina so short that a few hundred words and a photo of a cat is all I can muster anymore? And yet arguably, a blog is a way to reach people in a way that the long-cycled published fiction is not.

Maybe I'll go back to non-fiction, I often think. It's so much easier for me. But who dreams that, who says they'll become Sedaris or Didion or one of the few random writers whose nonfiction essays made it big?

I stare at Writing across the chess board and ask it which move it will let me take from here. It looks at me knowingly. Checkmate. For now.

1 comment:

skersh said...

You are doing it because you have something to say to the world! Because you are a writer! And because to NOT write would be to do a disservice to your soul.