Happy Bastille Day, everyone!
I spent the morning trying to figure out how to make this blog post relevant to June 14th, but I could not come up with anything decent regarding the rise of the bourgeoisie or cake. (Anything decent about cake.) I went through a few popular French phrases: Ou est mon chat? and Lassiez les bon temps rouler! and Ceci n’est pas un pipe, but none of those really spoke to me. And I only have about fifteen minutes to write this blog post, because the Fairy Goddaughters spent the night (the internet is down at their mom’s house) and I had to make sure they ate, and I had to tell them some more stories about my recent trip to Vermont and give them a few things to do around the house today because I have to get read for working a none-hour shift at the bookstore today.
Notice how nothing in there included writing? That’s right. I’m having an abundance of Life right now. So C’est la Vie seemed perfect.
The intarwebs were abuzz last week over this Independent article on bestselling novelist Steph Swainston, and her announcement that she was getting out of her publishing contracts and going back to being a Chemistry teacher: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/steph-swainston-i-need-to-return-to-reality-2309804.html
What the conversation turned into was publishing’s demands on authors today and whether or not they are realistic. What I focused on in the article was the very last sentence: “Besides, I’ve never said I won’t write again, just that if I do write another book, I’ll do it on my terms.”
I’ve always said that any writer who ever tells you that they’re thinking about giving up writing is not really a writer at all. For most of us, writing is just something we are, like diabetes, or the color of our eyes. Those of us who belong to this club (I hesitate to call us Real Writers, but that is how I think of it) have never thought of giving up writing, because it would be like giving up our left leg. It’s just inconceivable.
The tough thing for people in this club is the insanity that sets in when Life Happens. Because Life Happens: there’s a birth or a wedding or an illness or a new job or an accident or a windfall or a Royal Proclamation or something that commandeers all your time and seems Vastly More Important to Your Survival than writing a story about a street sweeper in a city of monsters (that I’ve been trying to write for a month).
Life Happens, and we must deal with it. The Show Must Go On. But if writing doesn’t happen in the there somewhere, seeping through the cracks, then we go a little insane.
Lately, I have been going a little insane.
For me, writing is therapy. When I create, my brain defrags itself, and the result is like waking up after a good night’s sleep. All that emotion–good and bad–channels into my work, and everything that’s been overflowing settles back down to below critical levels. I need to write. I have to write. I am a writer.
A couple of months ago, I got a day job as a bookseller. It keeps me socially active, and it lets me go to the dentist. I need it to survive. But I haven’t written a lick of fiction in a very long time. And I’m going a little insane.
I promised the Fairy GodBoyfriend that I would write six words today. Six whole words, and that I would post about it on my blog. I told him I would, no matter what happens. Even if it’s for only five minutes, I will be writing today.
As for the rest of the world…well, let them eat cake.