There are literally 80,000 other words I am supposed to be writing right now. I am sitting on Jeff’s back patio, silently perched in the sun on a gorgeous Charleston day; no kids, no noise, just the breeze and passing neighbors. And I am stuck. I have words, I have thoughts, about 60 gajillion of them but none the outline or prose I am supposed to be writing. Is this how it’s going to be until this book is finally birthed? It takes 40 weeks to create a human (41.5 if you are a child of mine, but who’s counting and no worries, I’ll only hold it over your head for the next 40 years or so til we’re cool on that one) and that is painful and slow and uncomfortable and so I get it. I am spinning an entire world that I hope matters to other people; a world that currently only exists between the folds of my overactive brain.
But dammit writing, why are you such a fickle lover? When I want you, you are NO WHERE and when you want ME, I have to drop ALL THE OTHER things and just be with you.
I don’t have an answer to this question but I have solid hunches.
First, it’s hard to write your story when the world is rudely, loudly falling to pieces. I am trying so hard to lean in to doing my part, small things on a daily basis, to chip away at the chaos that has befallen our country. I call representatives. I donate. I show up in love in my local community. I share articles, I follow Twitter feeds, I do the one small thing a day that’s texted to my phone. I cheer when my neighbor takes down his Trump flag (k, that one was just for me, but I’m all “HEY BOO, YOUR BUYER’S REMORSE IS SHOWING”). Does writing a book even MATTER right now? I think probably actually the answer is YES, because art is at stake. Freedom of speech is at stake. The very words I believe to be so precious are at stake.
Second, life is so hard with all of its logistics and needs and people who consistently want to be fed and clothed. I mean what IS that? Like, make your own mac cheese dammit. What’s that? You’re only 5? Right, cool. Noted. I constantly feel like I am pulled in a thousand directions with work and kids and a new relationship and bills to be paid, and a car that had to be replaced and a mysterious dripping water cover on the sidewalk in front of the house and soccer to be registered for and and and… and time to just BE. I have to make choices at every single turn about how I am going to use my time and energy. Every single actual moment. And sometimes writing is the thing and sometimes sitting on my ass on the couch and watching Dirty Dancing with Jeff while I recite the lines and he marvels at my ridiculousness is the thing. (Btw true story and sidenote: friends, that is a sign of a keeper if I ever saw one. Do not give up until you find someone willing to do this on a Saturday night with you.) I am not sure if that’s balance, but that’s life.
Third, I am scared. I don’t know if I know how to write a damn book. I am a good writer, I know that. I do. I can string word babies together and make people feel something. But I have no fucking clue about the CRAFT of writing. Which I guess I knew going in. And also, I pretty much blindly jump into the deep end of any actual pool that is put in front of me right? So why would writing be different? And this time I have fucking rad mentors who are NOT so impressed with me that they won’t tell me the truth but who are like, girlfriend you have something raw and talented here so press on. But what if I can’t? Flip side: what if I fucking CAN and this shit actually happens? I won’t know unless I try, but I am also supposed to be revising an outline right now and I keep staring at it like, “ok, do something, you! Rearrange thyself! Get to it!” It’s almost rude how I need to be the one to press the fucking keys.
And that might be the moral of the story right there, the crux of why I don’t wanna and why I must actually: I have to be the one to press the fucking keys. In all things. I could (un)happily sit on my ass and take no stands, write no words, fall for no one and create a little ordered world of simplicity for myself. But, we know that’s just not me. We know this girl must live in the deep end. I don’t half do anything and if I say I am going to write a damn book, I am going to #writethedamnbook.
I came over to the blog to bitch and moan a bit about how I have no words. But look there, I just threw down about 900 words that were just sitting at the tip of my tongue. So, no excuses. I know. I fucking know. Stop looking at me like that.
Write the damn book, Kate.