Writing about writing: Analysing the metadata

April 05, 2013 Candace Morris 1 Comments

I wiggle under the discomfort of an anxious gut.  My ass hurts in this chair (well, more precicely, the tailbone I think I broke during labor hurts in this chair).  Shit. This is really hard...this writing nonsense. It's not hard in the romantic way, the way where you see yourself holding a glass of red wine, wearing red lipstick, looking impossibly beautiful, scribbling forever-words on your expensive stationary, and being completely consumed by it all.  The lifestyle is so romantic, but the doing sucks balls.  That is to say, it's hard. Ugh.  Moving on.

It's hard in the confusing, doubting, I have nothing to say kind of way.  The essay is total shit, I am an idiot and pretender, and no one will ever want to read it. Plus, it's uninteresting, anything but poignant, and sickeningly self-important.

Writing is so solitary. "How was your day, Honey?!" is unanswerable other than to explain how I may have felt about a particular day of writing.  Oh, it was frustrating, or I am really on a roll, or I am wasting my entire life on this. Whereas Joel can tell many colorful anecdotes about his day at the office or his lunchtime outings or his bus commute home.

I want to cry. I want to do the dishes.  I want to stare out the window.  I even want to exercise! I want to do anything else but work on this essay.  It's pushing me away with locked arms like Bowie does when I try to change her beet-stained shirt.  Or maybe that's me doing the pushing.

Big. Cleansing. Sigh.

But then, a few new thoughts. New thoughts wash over me, and I try to stop thinking so much.

I saw Cheryl Strayed speak this week.  It was inspiring to say the least.  She made me tear up several times from the compassion, vulnerability  and truth of her words.  That day, I had begun to work on a few writing goals - like big time, life-reaching goals.  I therefore perked up when Strayed began to explain how she uncovered her own writing goals.

As she said, the goal cannot be to be a famous author, it cannot be to make the bestseller list, and it cannot even be to publish.  The goal, the only goal is to write.

My goal: TO WRITE.

Nothing else.  No holding back, no writing for my audience instead of for me, no judging it before it's finished.  We are the worst judges of our own work, not that we always think it's horrible, but that we are the last person on earth who should or even can critique its merit. I am trying my very best to remove my consciousness, my omnipresent self-analysis from the process, attempting to keep it hovering above me and keep me true, but to remind it that for these few moments that I actually get to write, my creative mind is in control.

In a truly creative space, I am not sure there can BE any analysis or self-editing.  That comes later.  It's like Hemingway said "Write drunk, Edit sober."  Oh, maybe I should try that.

The truth is, dear friends, that buried underneath this mountain of anxiety lies a wellspring of good-ol' pride.  I expect that my thoughts will flow out of my brain onto the paper and they will be poignant, as good or better than anything I've read, talented, and precise.  I am awfully impulsive, addicted to the blog's 'publish' button where I don't actually have to go back over and over and over again to rewrite everything.

Nothing you write is that precious.
-Natalie Goldberg

I could spend my entire writing life reading about writer's processes, taking classes, filling journals, blogging my thoughts, and dabble with a few serious pieces here and there.  I could allow the writing life culture to swallow me up.  I could stay here, no one would know the difference...only me.  But how long can one lie to oneself before she begins to unravel?

It's like I am training for a marathon, but am keeping myself in the gym on the treadmill forever, never actually entering or running the race.

It's time to stop the tredmill, gather up my dirty ol' gym bag, register for the marathon, pin my number to my shirt, and line up at the start.  I think I am there, truly...or at least no longer resisting it.  However, one question remains.

Who will fire the starting pistol?


Or, all of this is complete nonsense and my agitation comes from this huge cup of coffee I keep reheating. Well, back to it.  I have a rough draft due for a writing workshop tomorrow, and it needs so much work, I could just cry.  I feel like erasing it all and starting over, and this is just because I hate editing my own words; I'm addicted to first contact.  Must.Wean.Myself.

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