A writer I know gave a recent lecture to a group of students interested in pursuing the craft as career and he advised that they invest in a comfortable pair of shoes because writers spend a lot of time pacing. This is similar to what I’ve mentioned came up in conversation with the great Jim Bouton; much of our best writing comes when we are nowhere near pen and paper, or keyboard, or phone. It’s true. In a fit of insomnia two nights ago when I couldn’t find a writing implement I wrote amazing things, things almost as good as what I write in the shower or while tuning out conversation. While I was writing about writing the other day, someone stopped by my desk and told me she’d just been rejected by the New York Times – a venerable institution from which to be rejected, says I. This woman is a high-powered and very successful agent, and she described writing as “the loneliest, hardest, coldest climate there is”. It’s true – of all the arts and crafts, this might be the loneliest. Which is why I’ve taken to submitting my work lately, and why I’ve taken to this blahhhhhhgggg over the past nine months or so. Sharing makes it less lonely, brings us, as writers, out of solitary confinement. As someone who craves the company and feedback of others, I’ve put myself in an odd predicament by deciding to devote much of my mental energy to this pursuit. That’s why you, dear L (the other L) quickly re-found a place in my heart and soul – your early appreciation for my words helped me to realize why I do this at all.
When I was in third grade I wrote a poem that garnered me the “Outstanding Poet” award at George Washington Elementary School. It went something like this … actually, it was exactly this:
Sometimes I am happy
And sometimes I am sad
Sometimes I am lonely
And sometimes I feel glad.
But when I’m mad
I talk it over with myself
And I go to my friends
Feeling happy as an elf.
I just Googled, “Are elves happy?” They are.
BNiem and I say that we write because it’s the only thing we know how to do. Which is not entirely true – I make a helluva roast chicken and am fairly good with foreign languages. He’s excellent at catching things that are unexpectedly thrown at him and can quickly calculate the number of letters in a sentence or name. This is how we discovered that we are both part of the five-five-eight club. Firstname-middlename-lastname. (5-6-5).
We’re gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year, the season of passed hors d’oeuvres and forced smiles. I’m determined, this year, to not have to force my smile, to feeling good and productive. And the fact that the muse has paid a visit is a necessary step toward both of those. As I wrote in a post that I accidentally published before it was finished and then quickly deleted, I am feeling blissfully inspired these days. I am grateful for this. I am grateful for a lot, actually. I shall write more later; right now I need to make coffee.