When I write it’s furious and fast and breathtaking and brilliant. I am lifted. I float. Then I don’t write. I don’t write. And I don’t write some more. I spend a lot of time not writing. And I get angry and foul full of black bile bloated with unwritten things. They crawl into my ears at night. And still I don’t write. Until I do.
Today I wrote. I worked on the BOOK. The BOOK is coming along. Again. The thing about writing a book is it’s hard. When you think you’re done you aren’t done. Then you think, again, that you’re done. But you find that you aren’t. Done. Then you stop writing. Again.
And it starts over. Like my monthly cycles came and went and came and went and always came back. Until they were gone forever. But the writing returns. Always.
I’ve written about this many times this stopped-up woe. Swollen sick head. Some writers have a schedule. I used to long for this schedule. Now I don’t care. Because the words come back. They have their way with me. Which is what it’s like to be a writer like me.
I wish I could write them all down all the books and stories and poems that waltz through skipping little girls kicking cans little kitchens with women speaking in them gossiping did you ever can you believe it her bottle-red hair? I wish I had enough brain and time and will determination chutzpah. But I don’t.
And one thing I know. I know it and am glad I know it. A book changes nothing. Not a thing. Maybe this book will be published. Maybe not. Maybe people will read it. Maybe they won’t.
I’ve pretty much stopped that dreamy please pick me thing. For a minute. For today. Because a book will not change my life. A book will not prove to anyone that my writing matters will rise above the crowded always hopeful almost hopeless writing of other writers. What proves that my writing matters is a woman who lost a child and found my poem and loved it and it lifted her and she wrote to me and told me that. And someone will dance to it all wrapped in red and starlings will sing and they will lift up everyone else.
That’s the other thing about writing. You have no idea. Who is reading you. Who is listening. Who finds a poem you don’t think is a very good poem anymore and reads it and says oh my. Or who finds your poem and laughs at how bad it is because that is what you do yourself. Dale! Listen to this. Can you believe this? How many adjectives can one writer put into one sentence? How badly can a really good poet write a very promising sex scene? Because that’s what you do. You ride them down. Not only because it makes you feel superior. But because it’s really funny. And when you do it and you’re laughing you always know that somewhere someone is surely laughing at you. And that’s very funny too.
My writing will not change me in that way I often wish. Money. Fame. Though I long ago realized how awful it would be to be known and talked to and asked things and mattering. My writing will not make me a household name. My writing will never put me on the map. The map doesn’t really matter. Shelley had that right. It all blah blahs itself across the sand. It all sputters chokes and needs an oxygen mask in the end.
I used to dream of being a writer. What would happen when it finally happened to me. Was I good enough? Was I Sylvia? Should I kill myself how romantic should I gas my hollering head? Now I will coin a cliché if such a thing is even possible six thousand years after all this started. I will say I was always a writer.
I am a writer. What a thing. Big A. Big B. And they went forth and formed a family.