I know of a blogger who migrated his words to another blog so he feels less inhibited. I won’t tell because I want to keep this to myself. His words are little licks of pleasure. I feel this for all good writing. When I read Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I thought wow this is almost better than sex.
I get drunk on deep-well writing. My lover is a poet. He reeled me in with a good old-fashioned love email. I lost it when my computer crashed and I’m still pissed off; although if I close my eyes, I recall flashes of it. He lost his copy to his own ghost in the machine.
So this writer loves blogging because of what all writers know (and non-writers know but don’t really know) – that writing is remorselessly lonely. It is soul-bitingly lonely that writers get depressed as they wade through their novel. Perhaps the nature of writing itself triggers a dormant proclivity to mood disorders. And how can it not when you’re in your head the whole day and get incredibly bitchy when someone tries to engage you, even if you’re just staring into space, especially when you’re staring into space, because this is where the first draft gets written.
This project I’m working on– which is most likely shit and will never be published– consumes me to the point that I feel I’m half in, half out of my real life. I passed a shop window yesterday and caught my reflection. I was scowling. I thought, fuck, is that how I look most days, like I’m thinking of killing someone?
Annie Dillard, a published writer, advised in The Writing Life: Why not shoot yourself, actually, rather than finish one more excellent manuscript on which to gag the world? I see her point. When I’m in a bookstore, I like to run my fingers down book spines and think of the thousands and thousands more coming. The world doesn’t need another author. Don’t we all have stacks of books by our bedside waiting to be read, and most likely won’t ever get read? Will I strip trees to no purpose? Dillard’s right, I really ought to shoot myself instead of shoving another novel down your throat.
But I can’t do that.
I have thought of this project (novel, say it, novel) for so long that if I ditch this now, even if it has failure written all over it, I would have to ditch on everything else. So I write. Sit in the chair every morning, more often than not in a cafe, bite my lip til dry skin peels off and I bleed, and stare at the screen that asks: well, is that it, is that all you’ve got?
I like blogging because I get to write what I want without worrying that it won’t be published. I get to pretend that I’m interacting with people, even if they live on the other side of the planet. I sometimes use blogging to unkink before I stretch into my novel. And I like getting feedback and the occasional compliment for writing a 500-word post. Every kind word you leave me gets tucked away. Like someone going on a long walk, I ration. I have to live on this you see as the serious writing that goes on in the background may never get any.