It has taken me nearly an hour to put together six hundred words on my newest version/rendition of my novel. I keep on thinking that I have the inspiration, that the muse is pouring words into my ears. I must be confusing myself with either the bird song surrounding me or the shouts from the parents at the baseball field on the other side of the trees. Either way, my creative writing sucks right now.
In the last two weeks, many people have been encouraging me with my writing. Whether it is my newest editor, dearest Robert “Bob” Okapi, (by the way, I have hyperlinked his name to his website…enjoy this beautiful poetry) to other bloggers to my principal to my supervisor to my father. People keep on encouraging me.
And I’m thankful. I really am. But, right now, I feel like I’m just stumbling against words and everything I’m writing is blasé and stupid and dumb.
This is not the time for everyone to write me notes of encouragement. I’m not really looking for reassurance. I’m looking for my literary rhythm.
I worked on a poem today.
I’m working on this blog right now and am actually composing more than information with more ease than what I have done all day.
I let go of my anal-retentiveness and allowed myself to write a scene that is nowhere near page two or the beginning. And I like what I’ve written. But I feel completely and utterly lost.
I feel like I’m losing this battle with time that may or may not even exist. But the impetus to write is there and is accompanied with a sense of desperation, like if I don’t do something now I will never have this opportunity again.
Which is ridiculous.
I am not a prophet. I am a poet (which can be built using the letters of prophet…how interesting).
I am a writer clasping her words as hard as she can and trying to find something beautiful within them and only seeing the pale edges of meaning. I want a professional editor, someone who will sit with me and tell me “Yes” or “No” or “Try Again.” I want someone to hold my hand through this process, right now. Because I’m weary of trying. But I have this story and I need to write it and I keep on going back and trying again and again and again. And I feel like I have it this time. I know my main character. I have finally ironed her out and allowed her to be the person she has always meant to be. And I know her husband and her mother and her aunt. And I am still struggling with her father because he keeps on introducing himself as a jerk but I really don’t want him to be a jerk. I actually like him. I just don’t like everything about him.
But I keep on worrying that I’m just wasting my time. That I’m holding myself back from something much better and much greater because I’m being stubborn. And then, just when I’m ready to let go of this novel, the characters come back to me and haunt me.
I have dreamt about them.
They really do feel like they are lurking around the corners of my bed. Last night, I went to bed and laid there for fifteen minutes while my brain swept out words and scenes and characterization and I finally couldn’t stand it and went and wrote for an hour. And then I read Ezekiel 37 and got more ideas and finally surrendered and stared at my computer screen while I just imagined what would happen next.
I like my idea and I think I could sell it but I don’t know that I am a good enough writer to sell the damn thing (no, please don’t reassure me. Just let me pour out these insecurities and these demons and then they’ll go away and I’ll be fine…until this happens again).
I think about Lucy Grealy whom I love and admire. I remember Ann Patchett’s memoir about their friendship and Grealy’s self-destructive insecurities and I swear I will never go down that path. I will never allow myself to be consumed by my own lack of confidence.
And then, I sit here on my front porch and feel those icy-worms that are my metaphor for anxiety and they just curl around my belly and eat me raw.
I want to write.
I have to write.
I want to publish.
I don’t have….
I am not writing this for self-pity. I am not writing this to be sad. I will not allow myself to reach out for false reassurances. I am writing this to remove everything that is holding me back and saw off those shackles.
I will keep on writing. I am going to be more than just a writer for me, myself, and I. I don’t know or think that I will ever change the world with my writing. Damn it, I would love to. I dream about those moments, the release parties, the book signings, the interviews.
And then, I shudder at the thought of being out in public and people knowing me. I love my quiet world. I love this moment when I sit on my front porch swing and stare at the words unrolling across the screen while my eyes dart down and check my word count.
This is when I am at my most content. This is when I am at my most discontent. I want to settle. I want to write. I want to stream words out across my conscious and tattoo them onto every angle of my body. I want to fill my senses with phonemes and syllables and sounds that pull me out of all the broken shells in which I have placed myself and just live in all of those letters and serifs that cradle me and remind me that words really do matter.
I will write.
I have to write
I can write.
I shall write.
I am writing.
I shall continue writing.
I will not be defeated.