“Well into adulthood, writing has never gotten easier. It still only ever begins badly, and there are no guarantees that this is not the day when the jig is finally up.”
Writing is hard, y’all. My business cards and email signature might lead you to believe I think the opposite. As I am A Writer, whose living is made by working with words, I probably find writing easy. Maybe I’ve found, as time goes by, that it only gets easier…
I wonder all the time if “this is not the day when the jig is finally up.” I feel, at my lowest of lows, that I did my best work when I was 17. Before the pleasures and distractions of adulthood (and the internet) took over my mind and blurred my once-sharp creativity like a thumb on graphite on newsprint.
I wonder this sometimes, when I sit down to blog and only mush comes out. Unclear, uninspired, unspectacular mush. I roll my eyes at myself. I close the laptop. I eat some Cheez-Its to dull the pain.
Tonight, I wanted to tell you a story, so I sat down and tried to tell you that story. But I was highly dissatisfied with the mushiness of the results. So I googled “writing gets harder” (this is a thing I do, Google-as-therapy), knowing I’ve read such things before, hoping to wallow in the writing of some kindred stifled spirits.
Turns out, we are legion. It sucks. And it helps. A lot.
So here’s the story I wanted to tell you. I can’t guarantee it’s not mush:
When I left work, it was already dark out (which makes me want to get straight home and into some sweatpants), but I was going to make a quick stop at Target on the way home. I even got one of my favorite parking spots — those diagonal, close-to-the-building spots. Know those spots? I love those spots.
I stopped the car and reached for my purse, only to find that my purse was not there. There was no panicky “where’s my purse?!” moment, only the knowledge that I’d left it in my desk drawer. Dammit. Without any good excuse. Not in a hurry, not on the phone, not particularly absent-minded when I left work today. Just one of those things.
I have plenty of forgetful moments in my life, but I’m not a “leaves her purse behind” kind of girl. Too much paranoia and cheapskatery in my blood for such things. So this was an unfamiliar feeling. A bit of the nakedness that watch-people describe when they’ve left their wrist-wear at home by mistake.
I was surprised to find that my first emotion wasn’t annoyance at myself or the situation, just an internal shrug and the unavoidable conclusion: I’m at Target. I have no money. Guess I’ll go home. I didn’t need anything too desperately tonight anyway, though I did really have my heart set on the pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts my coworker was raving about this week. (Pumpkin pie. Pop-Tarts.)
My second emotion was the surprise: gratitude. Because I realized, I don’t think I’ve ever really, truly known what it feels like to be without money. Aside from the minor annoyance of finding myself with only cards at a cash-only establishment, or the rather disorienting time that I managed to lock my keys, my wallet and my phone in my car while getting gas (a thing I did! College graduate, guys!), I don’t know what it’s like to be without. Not for long. Not when it really matters.
I know what it feels like to want things I can’t have, mind you. All the damn time! (Those Pop-Tarts, guys!!) But I’ve never had to make the choice between filling my plate or filling up my car. And I recognize that this makes me a very lucky girl indeed.
I still like this writing thing, when I make myself push through the mush. Another nice thing to remember.