For you, the dress code is casual.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Writing: I Don't Need a New Drug

I'm obsessing about the blog again. I can't help but to feel I ripped myself off by pulling back the reins there in '06. But I did what I needed to. I imagine I would do it again if given the same life situation and same life challenges.

But I did what I needed to. I'm starting to get on track here. The writing's coming back to me. I'm feeling more plugged into the world at large than I have in a very, very long time.

Any writer needs to be plugged in. We're seismographs for the human collective, aren't we? Life shakes, we record it in our skew? Fucking beautiful thing, that.

Some days. I mean, fuck, writing's a shitty life most of the time. Constantly trying to ride a literary wave where you're seeking something new, something true that's worth saying, and trying forever to carve out exactly how it should be said.

Something worth saying's the challenging part. I think it was Robertson Davies who once said one ought not write until the thought of not writing becomes unbearable. In a way, I feel that's true. It's elitist, idealist, but sometimes true. It's just not at all pragmatic, because writing needs to be a job if one's to succeed in it. I still haven't the job part nailed down; I prefer the act of writing to the act of marketing, but I must get the 70-30 ratio of writing/marketing into play or I'll always just be the girl who writes for kicks, but writes really well.

The best writing I do is typically that which I was strongly compelled to do, just couldn't resist. But, then, the most surprising writing I do is when I sit down and start off with "Sadly my scrambled eggs were overcooked, but..." and five minutes later have tapped into something I had no idea was looking for an out. So, I try to write daily, but when I start to WANT it, that's when things start feeling fantastic. Most of the time, it's just sludge-like, like exercise. Might not wanna do it, but it's gotta get done.

Writing's an unpredictable mistress, more mad than she is sensible, but when she's in her right head and you're in yours, it's an incredible union that just doesn't fucking get any better. Writing's the original passion, the original drug. Writing's the thing that will always, always get me off in life. No person, no thing, no place, no time, nothing will ever be for me what writing is.

Which is to say I'll spend about 96% of my life unhappy about it, but that four percent will make it all worthwhile, man.

This is not, however, any sort of inference that my writing right now happens to be the bomb. It's so not. But I'm loving the chase, man. Just loving the chase. I don't care if it's not fully on the money, I don't care that I find errors every time I reread anything these days. I just don't care, because I'm loving the chase.

Writing is a drug I'll mainline till the day I die, 'cos it's the old Mark Twain adage of the destination being irrelevant, it's all about the journey. I don't care if I don't get paid or famous or known. Just doing it is enough. I'd like to get paid, famous, and known, and I want to do it my way. I'm not even 35 yet for a few more months, there's still time to do it my way without selling the fuck out.

(We'll see. I'm prepared to sell out if I need to one day. Ha-ha! Not till I'm older and more jaded, man, and not until I start listening to my music quieter, either.)

Okay, let's see if I can put this into words without sounding a right cunt. Hmm.

Two years ago right now, I was writing better than I ever have. It actually started in February and continued until about May. I wrote so many things I'm proud of, that had my twist of angst-meets-humour-meets-philosophy, and in such rapid succession, that I began to think I'd never have a golden, varied period like that again. That mindset's rapidly changing and I'm believing it's almost mine again for the taking.

For a while there, over the past couple years, I have wrongly fallen into the habit of thinking that, because I was in a relationship for a good chunk of that phase (and after), that the relationship a) caused me to write well, and b) caused me to stop writing well when things went to shit.

Here's the thing, though. The guy I was with had fucking jack all to do with my writing. Yes, he was smart and good to converse with, but so fucking what? *I* did the writing. *I* coined the phrases. *I* saw the interplay in life and its players. *I* did it. Conversation with anyone, when I'm on my game, can spur me to write; he was just the face in the frame at the time, to put it crassly and in an undervalued kind of way.

I don't know where the insane assumption came from that made me start believing the relationship had anything at all to do with my being able to write well then. But that's what we do, we tell ourselves we require propping up, that we can't get through turmoil alone, that we need a muse, whatever the fuck we want to believe, for whatever stupid fucking reason.

But now I'm starting to realize that it really is all me, the writing. It's not about who's in my life or what's going on, not really. It's about me looking for the stories in the world. They're out there. When I'm at my best, writing-wise, it's when I'm most alive, I see ideas everywhere in life. I run out of time to write them all down! I have a fucking box of "idea cards", for god's sake!

There's always happenings that, when you think on them, can jar your existential point of view. Life's a mystical, wonderful thing, and I absolutely love living the examined life when I'm tuned into the examining process via a healthy writing phase.

Ahhh. Sigh. Don't you just love spring? Wakes my mind up something fierce, man. And despite being sore and rather miserable about it, I think I'm cycling today. Cycling's proving terrific for writing. Wouldn't think that after cycling my end-of-day ass-killing ride that the first thing I'd want to do is sit down and write, but that's exactly what happens.

The weather gods, today, claim seven days of sun are beginning for us today. Believe it when I see it, but I'm hoping. Daring to believe. More ways than one, it seems.

God, I need coffee. And a muffin. Mmm. Muffins!