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Writing and the Journey

I think I've always wanted to be a writer. Not because I'm particularly good at it. Not because there is some significant honour in it, or glory, or glamour. To some, maybe there is. Even to me, perhaps, sometimes. But those aren't the real reasons. The real reason is because there just doesn't seem to be any other thing that makes as much sense to me. It's a specific way for me to interact with the world around me, to try to make sense of it, connect with it, and leave something of myself behind.

It is maybe not as weighty of a goal as, say, becoming enlightened, but it has its similarities. For one, it is a hell of a lot easier to achieve spiritual progress when you are isolated in an ashram rather than battling a traffic jam every morning. So, too, is it easier to polish your literary prowess when you are able to take a six month sabbatical in Bali, writing eloquently in the silence among endless fields of rice paddies.

This morning I cried. I cried because my husband is finally home and my daughter wanted to snuggle me and my dogs wanted to play and the sun was shining and all of these factors kept me from writing one productive word. I am halfway into NaNoWriMo and its been four days since I've contributed a single line. And I resented them all for it - each and every beautiful detail of my domestically enriched morning. I wanted them all to go to hell.

So I had to ease up. To let go. To breathe (why is this so surprisingly difficult to do?) and to forget as best I could my rigid expectations. Instead, I chose to apologize, to close the door, and to blog about writing my novel instead of actually doing it.

But now I feel a bit better. Writing is a lonely, adamant, unforgiving business, and for those that pursue it, it can tear you into pieces. But you do it because you have to. Because painters paint, and writers write, and explorers explore. You don't have to be good at it, but dammit it would be nice if you were, so it could make the whole thing feel a little bit more worth it. But you're going to do it anyway.

I have lofty goals. Writers do. I want to be brilliant. Poignant. Sententious. And everything that comes out of me isn't quite right. Isn't quite it. Isn't quite enough. So it's easy to blame it all on the fact that I am a normal human being with breakfast to serve and bums to wipe and a husband to placate. The truth is, though, I could be in that Balinese villa, sipping tea and studying with the masters, and it would still never be enough.

So today I'll have to pat myself on the back for a blog post, at least, and get back to life. Because that's what us mortals do. And we forgive ourselves for missing a daily word count or for loathing the jerk that cuts us off in the left lane. Someday we'll write that book, and reach Bodhi, and go to Bali for, at least, a little break. Until then, wipe the eyes and make the eggs and respect the journey.

Language is Power

NaNoWriMo - Best of Intentions

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