It was bound to happen. Someone just sent a FB message that congratulated me on my happy life.
Pardon me, but you have apparently sent this to me by accident. I’m a writer. My life friggin blows. That’s why I write.
Oh, writing doesn’t make you happy? It makes me happy to write.
No response to that one. Except silence. The day it makes me happy to write is the day I never write another word. Writing is painful. It is nerve racking. Writing takes the place of having a real life. It’s imaginary, a virtual magical mystery tour. I’m not certain why I write, I just do because it is easier than other options such as plotting the undoing of the person taking up your time at the grocery line. Just go home and write a story instead of knocking em up side the head for being an idiot. It’s less expensive, too. Plot the rise and fall of Empires, instead of getting involved in heated political debates which make me cringe, once again, usually because someone is an ignorant, uninformed idiot. Then, there’s the personal life. For crying out loud…literally.
Tennessee William’s said Why do I write? Because I find life unsatisfactory. Amen, bro! I second that, wholeheartedly. Writing is taking 26 letters and forming them into an exact word, followed by more words which will hopefully complete a sentence, then a paragraph and finally, an entire, cohesive page. It is a slow process getting all those whirling word dervishes to convey the spectrum of emotions the writer wishes to share with the reader. If that isn’t enough, we then send our story to an editor, which I constantly misspell as ediot (is it subconsciously misspelled?) Although, I really adore the editor I work with, there is nothing fun about having your work sent back to, basically, be completely re-written. No, that is not something that makes me happy. Never has. But, I keep doing it.
There was the one time, one magical moment–the Camelot moment of my career–when Fred at BLURT magazine sent back an article/interview I did with the supergroup SUPERCLUSTER from Athens, GA. Did I misread the email? No. It actually said…This is perfect. Don’t change anything. Just add 3000 more words and I’ll publish it. The angels sang. I rubbed my eyes, but nope, it wasn’t a misread. He actually wanted the article word for word. It was a moment of utter joy and elation. But then…what if the band didn’t like it…?
So this is how the creative process process goes when writing. Pain, pulling words out of your hat or wherever you pull them from, nagging insecurities, misplacement of verbs, overuse of adjectives, drinking too much, not drinking at all, criticism, getting more caffeine, critiques, your family asking when you will get a real job. Friends wanting to know if you based that character on them. Asking your partner to destroy the hard drive of your computer if anything ever happens to you. Playing on Pinterest to delay actually writing something.
No. This isn’t fun at all. Does it make me happy? No. But, it is a great way to vent and blow off steam. And, for those of us with a wicked sense of imagination, it saves us from a lifetime of trouble and despair.
Or does it?