Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Writer's Lament

I have a new member in my writing group, The Writer's Life e-group, that just tickles me. His name is Gale Sparks (remember the name, cause you're going to hear good things about him in the future), and he writes the best southern novels I've read in a long time. He tickles me because of his writing style. He's a typical Tennessean, which by now, you all know is right up my alley.

He talks about his book in such a nonchalant way. It's not published, and he has been turned down by a couple of agents, and he doesn't seem real concerned about it, but I've tried to encourage him to keep on keeping on. He is so laid back about it, wanting it, yet not obsessed about it. He's my hero in that area.

Anyway, he said, "Geez, I can't believe t'night I did my meditating, couldn' t sleep, got up took a shot of Jack and still can't shut my brain off. I had a couple of abstract paintings floating around and had to get up and thumbnail sketch them, then I saw my pc sitting there and couldn't help working on the book a little."

Isn't that like a true writer, though? I wanted to tell him, and encourage him in the process, that this is what it's all about.

So, I posted something in reply and it went like this...

"It's called being a writer, Gale. ;o)

"I love it and I hate it. No sleep, the house gets speed cleaned every once in awhile and the dogs pee on the papers in the utility room if I'm in the middle of something and don't notice Max's paw gnawing through my leg to get out.

"You have dreams of making it big and tears when it doesn't happen.

"You take pills to keep you going at work because you've been on the computer all day and your brain is mush by the time 4 p.m. comes, and pills to help you go to sleep when you're lying there and inspiration comes to you and you jump out of bed for another 2 or 3 hours.

"You get no sex (nor want it) because your intended other falls asleep waiting for you to come to bed, and then when you are finished what you're doing and jump up because you feel guilty, he's fast asleep.

"For Christmas, you don't want practical nor fun things. You want printer ink, computer paper, and a new mouse because you've run yours down. Same goes for birthdays.

"Your friends abandon you to go do fun things like hang out at bars or catch that latest cool flick, while you have the mindset that its a waste of time and that if you did, you'd be a couple hours behind trying to sell that book, or that article, or hobnobbing with other likeminded individuals who might help you do so.

"Your mail used to come to you in the form of cool magazines about organic gardening or tabloids about the antics of the rich and famous doing it with their sister, brother or mother; and instead, it's unsolicited material from publishing houses or agents trying to hook you into signing up for a small fee of $1,000.

"You no longer have a life; but instead, you have a goal and a zest and a yearning to be someone, to have something to show from all these hours on the computer, to make something from your bare hands that people will pick up at their Barnes & Noble.

"It's an obsession. It's the strongest hold anyone or anything could have on you.

"It is your soul mate.

"There's no cure, except for burn-out, but you'll not cave in, if you are a true writer. Welcome to the club. ;o)"

A writer who is obsessed is a writer with high hopes. She or he will give up quality time with their family to spend countless hours pursuing something that has such control, even they aren't aware of its power. All they know is that there is an ache inside of them to become someone.

I do think of this from time to time. I know I've given up five of my years to this obsession. But, I'm thinking, did I give up my years, or did I turn those years into the best years of my life?

I'd like to think so. ;o)


  1. That does sound like it can become an obsession. I think I'd rather have a nice woman for my soul mate.

  2. I don't ever think it's a waste of time if you're doing something you really love and enjoy doing it! As the song goes "time well wasted!"

  3. Making it big...sigh. I think we all have that dream.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. You've found your calling in life when its something you can't stand NOT to do. Some were born for it, whether its writing, performing, nursing, farming, or politics. Those who know where their gifts lie are the fortunate ones.

  5. I would have to agree with Miss Cellania.

    Oh, and, Dot... Other than the pills, that sounds like me. :)

  6. Good grief, I had no idea so many other people were living the same way I do. It makes me feel better to know I'm not completely nuts. I guess we actually do have lives; they're just not all that routine or "normal." But then, who needs "normal?" LOL!

  7. I don't think I've slept a whole night through since I began seriously writing fiction. The mind never rests. :)

  8. Between you and Miss Cellania - I feel soooo much better!

    Now, back to nurturing the dust kitties and ignoring the laundry ;o)


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