Does this seem like the summer of splendid epiphanies to anyone else?
Raise your hand high, and tell me yours, too.
Really, tell me yours.
So, this is related to a lot of things, but it largely boils down to one -- which is that lately, I've been missing creative writing -- a habit that used to consume all my leisurely time. And the absence of it from my life is like a little, unacknowledged weight in my body -- like the last unwashed sheet that curls at the bottom of the hamper in perpetuity.
And it's always kind of sitting in the back your mind. Begging for attention.
When I was in undergrad, I remember going around the room for first-day introductions, and my writing professors sort of scratching their heads at my bold declaration that I "don't really hold publication as my loftiest goal." It wasn't a bad head-scratching per se. Writing with the end-goal of being published sort of overshadows my ability to write untethered and genuinely -- so I eschewed it from my definition, of myself, as a writer. It made me literally ill to try and accept that as part of a wider epistemology of what it means to write.
(It still does, a little bit.)
Part of this stems from a real understanding that my writing may never be well received. I write prose poetry, and lyrical, stream-of-consciousness braided essays, and those are good and well in an academic realm -- I find that other writers enjoy my writing -- but that might not be enough (is very likely not enough) to stand on in the brutal world of publishing.
Which is myopic reasoning in its own way.
Because you can beat around the bush, and make excuses-disguised-as-reservations until the cows come home, but at the end of the day...have you written? At all?
And I am finding, lately, the answer is no.
And I could call that whatever I want. I can say -- oh, but I blog? But to be fully frank, I don't really write on this blog. Not really. Not well. There's not much I can point to on this space that even approximates the writing I'm proud of. At the same time, I don't journal, so this is the closest thing I have to a place where I can write (drivel) with no self-expectations or qualifications. But even this post -- which is ostensibly about writing -- is falling acutely short of accomplishing that.
And the actual truth is that when I've set out to publish a piece, and I've worked it 'til it's raw, and agonized over it...I've been much happier with my work. And productive. And I've published those pieces. Because it's not so much about making it the goal as it is about trying to refine and perfect a good thing.
And so, with Robert's encouragement (in combination with several manic fits of anxiety, and the cooling temperatures, and being in a good place financially, and realizing that I'm 25, and that our time in Colorado is coming to a close anyway...) I'm going to be spending more time writing. It actually started several weeks ago, and I've already a few near-finished pieces, and then a much heftier project that I'm slow-like-molasses pulling myself through. Yesterday was my last day at a part-time job that I actually enjoy, but that on top of photo-shooting was leaving no time for other pursuits.
And I know how fortunate -- how absurdly fortunate -- I am to have this. It's not something I'd ever have imagined as part of my life-trajectory, with growing up in a single-parent home below the poverty line, always working 3 jobs in college...and so I've always held something part-time, in addition to photography. Because the thought of not having a regular paycheck is terrifying. And the likelihood that I would ever even make a dime off writing is infinitesimally tiny. Renumeration for these hours, for these days ahead is not to be expected -- nor do I expect it.
But, the thought of realizing I'm thirty, or forty, or fifty, or at the end of my life, and that I've not written -- that is more deeply terrifying.
I know not what to call this new phase of life. What? I think it most closely resembles an internship...but I call the shots, make the plans, wield the red pen. I've a whole list of writing exercises, and word-count goals, and topics to research, and life experiences to (hopefully) have. Mostly, this looks like a wonderfully disheveled pile of half-started pieces and unincorporated sentences on scratch paper.
So that is where I am today. And if there's not a word for that, I'll make one up.
In due time.