I’ve been reading a lot about writers and writing very little.
The hardest part of writing, for me, is the quiet voice in the back of my head telling me, “No one gives a shit, you’re wasting your fucking time.” “But, its how I process, its a practice, a mediation”, another voice whispers to the first, “it’s for me, not for others.” The voices quarrel softly, and, depending on the day (i.e., where I’m landing on the manic-depression spectrum) I’ll either power-through, or give-up. More often than not, I give up, concluding This is a waste of precious Time. May as well be posting to Craigslist’s Rants & Raves section (that would probably boost readership). And so my heap of four-line drafts grows.
Who gives a shit about what I have to say, anyway? As I’ve said before, its all been said before. This very thing I write of now has been written before too–the most memorable being a comparison to Camus’ proposition that Sisyphus smiles as he endures his banal, repetitious work, devoid of meaning because the big boulder is going to roll down the god damn mountain no matter what you do. When he smiles, he says, “write words, even if it matters not, for what else can you do?”
As Sunday wanes, I write, and whine. As a good writer, I turn to the Drink. Or, as a good drinker, I turn to the Word. Hemingway was a massive drinker, as was Kerouac and John Cheever. So I’m in good company. I reason: “the souls of us writers are more sensitive than most, and the Drink dulls the pain of the world that we so articulately express.” But really, I drink out of boredom, to have a good time in non-awkward settings, to have a good time in awkward settings, because life feels pointless, because life feels significant, and because it lubes me up to tell a world that doesn’t care How I Really Feel.
Why keep writing then? Because being a (successful) writer is the coolest job ever, right? Get paid to do cool shit, travel to cool places, talk to cool people, and then–write about it! Work you own hours from your library-home-office, full of wood and leather and large windows and writer stuffs. Drink stiff stuff in the morning if you feel like it. After all, booze is a deductible business expense for writers. Live in the country, raise a menagerie of silly-looking beasts, and drink espresso, all…fucking…day. Ah, the Good Life.
Now, I hit publish, and Sunday is not all lost.