Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writerly angst (what else is new?)

The problem with blogs is that once you put stuff out there, you can't really take it back.  Furthermore, you're forced to look at your own bad writing while attempting to try and write a post that you can at the very least call decent.  I'm sick of writing about how tough writing is and I bet you're kind of sick of reading about it.

Here's an article that reminds us to appreciate the overwhelming power of words--their ability to satisfy, sustain, and take the place of other things we once deemed essential.  It also happens to be the story of a very special person by the name of Roger Ebert.  It's one of those things that upon reading will fill you with gratitude and awe.

And as far as my self-imposed writing deadlines go, I am reminded of the great Douglas Adams:

I love deadlines.  I like the whooshing sound they make as they go by.
And while we're on the subject of Douglas Adams, I just looked him up and found this quote, which made me feel all the better about everything:

The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.
I'm still here.  I'm writing, but not as much as I should be.  My stories keep getting muddled, the characters so clear to me in one sentence and in the next they've escaped my dark chamber of a story, they're out walking in the sunshine laughing because they fooled me.  My expectations for myself keep getting higher, and the higher they get the harder it is to type.  Truly, my fingers bunch up and my knuckles suddenly ache and it's an excuse to walk into the other room and open a book--during the reading of which I recite to myself, I'll never be able to write something this long or this good--or eat a muffin (I'm now baking health-food muffins because I end up eating too many muffins) or resign myself to a day of despair and internal recitations of "I'll try again tomorrow," but with no intention of actually doing the things I say to myself I. will. do.

But I see words floating between the blood and muscle and ligaments of my fingers...worry, evidence, regret, cry, dark, blue, sky.  There's a switch that will release them, and all these bad days constitute my stumbling search for the switch in the dark.  If I can find it, flip it, and allow the words--using the speed of my own racing pulse--to reach, at long last, their perfect place, then I am a writer again.

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